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While I have been doing my annual review of 2010 and goal setting for 2011 (and yes I do know it’s the middle of February already!), I have been thinking about my theme and word for this year.

It has become a popular concept to have a word for the year. I like the idea of having a word to focus you, direct you and power you, offering the opportunity of a clearly identified source of strength.

Here are some writers and thinkers employing and celebrating the word of the year in their lives and work:

  • Sage Cohen wrote on this issue on her new site, the Path of Possibility, especially in relation to being a productive writer. Sage’s word of the year is grace.
  • Shanna Germain’s piece on her word of the year and how its various meanings might play out in 2011 is so full of energy. Shanna’s word is the very powerful prime.
  •  Ali Edwards has been writing about the power of One Little Word since 2007. She has a One Little Word online workshop where you can learn more about the power of working with the one word concept.  Ali’s word of the year is light.
  • Christine Kane has a Word of the Year worksheet tool which provides a framework for working through your words and your goals.

I have been reflecting on my word and waiting for it. It came suddenly and perfectly whole one day in January. The word is stillness.

This word is about all aspects of my life and especially how I source my strength. I am highly intuitive and introspective according to the Myer Briggs Inventory.  I spend most of my days in constant contact with people at work; often very extraverted people, full of energy and ideas. I am keen to be more aware of how to be still, to listen, to charge my batteries and to be calm and to make a difference wherever I am.

Some definitions of stillness include:

  • tranquil silence
  • state of being quiet or calm
  • the absence of sound
  • calmness without winds
  • a state of no motion of movement
  • motionlessness, immobility, remaining in place

Here are some examples of what stillness means to me:

  • choosing to close the door a little more to write and reflect
  • listening to others and learning
  • creating the space to enable people to come to their own solutions
  • asking the right questions at the right time
  • being early instead of rushing, being late or just on time
  • resisting a sense of urgency to solve everything now
  • being comfortable with a phase of muddle and overwhelm
  • finding the right way to focus a difficult or unproductive team or meeting
  • taking the time to consult and map a complex problem to get to the heart of it
  • keeping things simple and not over-complicating
  • knowing and allowing the space and conditions for creativity
  • a candle burning steadily
  • a walk on the beach and standing in a cool pool of water

Stillness is not always a complete absence of movement; it’s more the calm that will power the right moves and provide the time for reflection for myself and others. I am finding much strength in that ‘one little word’. As Ali Edwards says:

It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything.

There is a sense of ‘stillness’ being absolutely the right word to navigate myself and consequently others. Through a sense of ease and calm, it seems more likely that desired goals like creative process, business success, teamwork and balance will be achieved.

And via @DennyCoates on twitter, comes a perfect quote from D H Lawrence:

“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be a mere rushing on.”

Perfect. What word is working for you in 2011?