Have you heard of the concept of having a "word of the year”. Take a look at my blog post from the start of 2020 if you are intrigued but, essentially, it is a word that you choose to live by throughout the course of the year.
Rather aptly, my word of the year for 2020 was "breathe". I chose it because I wanted to remember to take a breath when things got too much, to get away from my desk for a breather, to give projects time to breathe so that I could go back with a fresh mind. It was also to remind me to take a moment, pause, breathe, and take it all in.
Of course, as the year unfolded, this word took on a whole new meaning. Essentially, it evolved into "just keep breathing" (the irony of choosing that word when the world has been living through a global pandemic caused by a respiratory disease has not been lost on me!). It became a mantra to tackle each day when things felt difficult - if I can just keep breathing then I can get through this day, this week, this year...
As we come to the end of the year and I reflect on my choice, it certainly helped me through some of the tougher days. It definitely helped to keep my stress levels down when they were in danger of hitting the roof. A simple deep breath and knowing that "this too shall pass" helped me face the unknown with a better mindset than I may have done a few years ago.
So where do I go from here? "Breathe" helped me to focus so much more than I had been anticipating that I am loathed to let it go! But let's face it, it isn't something that will magically disappear as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. Over the last 12 months it has become engrained in my day-to-day life and will always be there to help me when I need it. Despite this, it is time to look ahead and really think about what I want to achieve over the course of 2021. Where do I want to be this time next year? I want a word that will sit alongside "breathe" and help guide me in my goals for the coming 12 months. For that reason, I have chosen:
2020 has had its fair share of overwhelm but it also made me realise that I overcomplicate things a lot! I feel the need to go over the top and overthink and worry about things more than I should. Less is more but I find it a very tricky principle to apply in business. I always want to be offering more, including lots of little extras, going that extra mile and then a mile more! I suppose it comes down to lack of confidence.
As a photographer, you buy into me and my style - the end result is the photos and everything else is window dressing. Yet I can't help but feel thats not enough - my inner critic forever lacking the confidence to stand up and be proud of what I do. I need to learn the art of keeping things simple. Anything confusing and complicated is being confined to a metaphorical waste bin! That goes for everything from the photographic packages I offer through to the plan to rehaul my website and even casting a critical eye over my day-to-day life by reducing clutter, both physically and mentally.
The end goal hasn't really changed from last year - to ultimately be more mindful about everything that I do. I hope that "simplicity" will be the right word to guide me in my approach.
Have you chosen a "word of the year"?