Wednesday, January 6, 2010

8 Words to Define You

New Year's Resolutions--many that were conceived last Wednesday, and said aloud last Thursday night, have already been broken. Most of those resolutions start with "I'm going to . . . " or "I want to . . . " and end with an action of some sort. Resolutions are usually about what we're going to do and accomplish in the coming year.

I've been doing alot of thinking about what I'm supposed to be doing with my life--not just in 2010, but beyond--and what I want to do with my time, talent and resources. So yesterday I listened to a phenomenal podcast by Andy Stanley (one of my three favorite pastors/speakers--this man has INCREDIBLE gift from God) about New Year's Resolutions. And his point--which is just so perfect--is that FIRST and foremost, we need to determine WHO we want to be.

(btw, click on this picture of Andy Stanley to go to Northpoint Ministries video messages--they are FREE and completely amazing! Any of their series will blow your socks right off! Seriously--you'll need new socks. I'm just sayin', I'm not responsible if you lose socks.)

Who you ARE ultimately determines what you DO. Andy Stanley says it's always a mistake to determine what you'll do before you decide who you are. I've focused most of my life on what I'm doing, going to do, plan to do, plan to accomplish, accomplishments, etc. He references an exercise where you have to write your own memorial--what would you want others to remember you for? Who do you want to be remembered as? Andy wrote and wrote and refined and came up with 8 things--8 words--to define him. And those 8 words are his PERSONAL DEFINITION OF SUCCESS. Brilliant! Because that way he, guided by God, defines his own success--rather than success and failure being designed by others.

So I'm working on my 8 things--not 8 goals for the year--not 8 things to accomplish--8 words to describe the person I want to be--like, forever. Really, most people are defined by what they do; but what if Who you are instead directed what you do? Depending on who you are, your decisions about how you spend your time, talent and resources would be different. If we looked at the resolutions many of us set, we'd think the following words were what we wanted to be defined by:
  • Money--likely no one will remember me for my money (or lack thereof); and besides I wouldn't want to be remembered for $$, so money and wealth are out.
  • Accomplishments--This is hard to let go of--many of us define ourselves by the latest pat on the back or resume booster. My problem is that it forces me to rely on others to define who I am. So this one's out too.
  • Weight--Ha! I've been defined (by others but more often by myself) by weight my entire life. No, I'd like to be done being defined by weight.
  • Work--this one is tricky for us high achievers. We're taught by our culture to define ourselves by the work we do. And certainly others remember the work we do--so at the very least, lets make it meaningful. But I know that when my life is only defined by the work I do, I become an unhealthy person in almost every way.

Okay, so those won't be in my 8. (by the way, it doesn't need to be 8 and it doesn't even need to be words--I'm just taking Andy Stanley's example and running with it).

Starting fresh. Starting new. Starting with the person God intends for me to be.

So far, here is my ROUGH DRAFT* of 6 of the 8 words I want to be defined by--that I want to guide my actions:

  1. Faith--live by Faith and not by Fear, Food, Failure, (or any other 'F' word :)
  2. Integrity--I want to do what I say I'll do and for people to be able to trust and respect me. to NOT overpromise and underdeliver--personally and professionally.
  3. Relationships--which means I need to spend time with my loved ones. Intentional time. And it means I need to care for myself so I can be there for others.
  4. Generosity--in giving of my time, talent and treasure to others.
  5. Balance--Moderation and a healthy balance between the people and passions important in my life.
  6. Uplifting--I need to find a better word for this, but what I mean is that I want to be known for supporting and helping others--for encouraging them.

*HaHa! I so hate being "boxed in"--even by myself--that I had to put a disclaimer that this is a rough draft in case I change my mind (or a word) :) I have some latent commitment issues that like to rear their head occasionally. But that is EXACTLY why I"m publishing this here for the world (or the 8 people who may read this--same diff.) to see. I'm still refining the other 2 . . .and like I said, it doesn't need to be 8 so I might come back with 4 more and end up with 10! Yup, I'm a crazy renegade like that.

As you read this, do words come into your mind? I'd love to hear just one--please comment and tell me ONE word you'd like to be Defined by--not just in 2010 but for the rest of your time** here on earth.

**A special thanks to a dear friend of mine who yesterday shared with me a new perspective--that these things aren't about the rest of our "lives" but about the rest of our "time" here on earth. Praise God for that! and what a great perspective that puts on our daily lives. Thanks 'Sunflower'!


  1. I would like for people to think of me as a "Giver" Someone who gave my time, my heart, my everything to others. whether is be doing things at church, spending time with someone who is down, donating financially when I can... etc. I just would like to be someone who can give everything I have to give to make others happy and feel loved. Wow that is a awesome goal I just set for myself.. but I have such a passion for people.

    Great idea and list girl!

  2. Passion...and not THAT way...but, yeah, kinda that way too! I want to be passionate about the important things in my life....and this is totally off the cuff.

    After I think about it more, I might need to change it...but, "passion" is what came to mind first!

    Love ya!

  3. I Like Mama M's "passion!"

    But, I will add another "p" word -

    Purposeful - in everything...from work to fun, to rest, and saying "yes" and "no"

    Our time here IS meant to be the great adventure and no one is guaranteed tomorrow, so thanks for the reminder!