It’s funny, last year, I had my original word of the year draft ready to go with the word STRONG as my word of the year. Then, at the last minute, I decided to shift it to Intentional during the holiday season when I felt like I really needed to slow down and be more, well, intentional about everything I was doing. The real irony here is that by February, I had the building blocks in place for what would eventually become Strong Girl Publishing, which I announced in May. I also published my book, The Strong Girl this year. And we now have over half a dozen books published by my tiny little imprint… pretty strong stuff!
All that to say, this year, I’m going back to that original word that I should have stuck with last year since it ended up defining the year anyway. But I’m more prepared for it, I’m leaning into it, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson that kind of exemplifies it:
Stop going with the flow.
Despite my best intentions (heh) to be a very individualistic person, I realized this year that in a lot of ways, I’m incredibly easy to persuade. In fact, one of the newsletters that I subscribe to and really enjoy for things like intention-setting actually showed that of her readers, somehow 60% of us chose Intentional as our word of the year. Talk about embarrassing. Sure, it’s a nice word and I had the best of… ahem… intentions with it. But was it really me?
Sure, it’s a nice thing to think about and ponder, and it’s probably a good reminder that I need to focus on what really matters. But to be entirely honest here, even when I chose it, it felt far too wishy-washy for my taste. It didn’t feel like me. Strong, on the other hand, felt (and feels) almost intimidating. It feels like a bit of a dare, like I’m challenging myself. It feels a bit like a reclaiming process, since I spent so much of my teens and early 20s feeling uncomfortable in my own skin because I’m naturally a more muscular person. (If you read the Shred Girls books or The Strong Girl, you see that play out.)
But STRONG also feels right. It feels like I’m stepping into the thing that makes me powerful, the thing that has given me any of my success thus far.
I want to feel strong in everything that I’m doing. That doesn’t mean lifting more weight (or at least, doesn’t just mean lifting more weight, though that is in the game plan!). It means whether we’re putting out a new podcast or I’m working on a new book or I’m at the start line at Leadville looking out into the darkness, I’m coming at it from a place of strength and energy and focus. Strong doesn’t mean loud or obvious, necessarily, but it does mean not hiding. It means finding my own flow, not stepping into someone else’s current—especially not during a race, but also when it comes to what is/isn’t how the publishing industry ‘should’ work, what our podcast or social media ‘should’ look like or how I ‘should’ dress or look as an athlete in her mid-30s. Strong doesn’t just mean all work, all the time though—I also see it as setting strong boundaries and taking better care of protecting my schedule and calendar, making time for the things that really matter.
This is going to be a strong year. I may or may not hit the various milestones and goals that I’ve set, but you can be damn sure that I’ll be doing my best.