3 Words for 2014

Last year I tested Chris Brogan’s 3 Words thinking and it was a stupendous success. Last year’s words were dissident, High Priest and performer. The goal is to choose 3 words which remind me who I want to be this year. Words which will inform and affect every action, every day.

These words aren’t in play because of what they mean literally, nor does it matter in my routine what they mean to you. The goal is to give myself a quick and easy touchstone for “Is what I’m doing right now moving me toward my goals?”

My 3 Words

My 3 words for 2014: artist, adventurer, actor.

artist adventurer actor


This is my year to write write write, focusing on my fiction. But artist because author or writer is too restricting. Everything I do has style. Like the details in an art deco building, a Chandler mystery, or an Armani suit, the close you get the better it looks. Not only will I focus on creating art, but on behaving as an artist, thinking of myself as an artist.


On our year-end sabbatical I was helped to see that while I’m great with risk and uncertainty in the big picture, not so much for the next step I need to take. I know the lost temple is out in that jungle, and I have no fear I’ll find it . . . if I can just find the path.

Indiana Jones doesn’t look for a path, he makes one. This year, even if it’s scary, even if it might be wrong, I’ll take the next step. I can always go back and try again. but there’s no right way, because I’m making the way and the way I’m making is what’s right right now.

An adventurer doesn’t hate the tramping but love the golden goal. A true adventurer sleeps in his clothes if he has to; deals with the bugs and the heat and the smell and pain, because the only people who get to see the golden temple without doing the work are dreamers — and I mean that in the pejorative sense, not in the you-and-I sense.


I had planned on leaving performer on the list this year because I was planning on doing lots of traveling and public speaking. But our year-ender taught me that personal appearances and public speaking won’t move me toward the big goal this year.

I’m finally making some measurable changes in my health. Blood pressure under control. Certain social anxieties quelled. Semi-regular exercise. And big dietary changes. Losing over a pound a week, and I intend to keep it up.

Remember the leading men in 40s movies, men like Bogart, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper? They’re lithe, graceful, thin, looking fit and trim in nice clothes. When I look in the mirror, I want to see fit and trim. Lithe, agile, graceful. This means sticking with a healthier eating regimen, and it means raising the stakes on the exercise and keeping a positive mental image of myself.

Personal Appearances and Public Speaking

I could hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from here. Never fear. Best Beloved and I talked it through and realized that, though it doesn’t necessarily push my personal agenda for this year, travel and speaking to groups of aspiring writers fills me emotionally, and that’s reason enough to do it.

So, if you’ve got a group of aspiring writers who’d like to be inspired, led, taught, or kicked in the pants, give me a shout and we’ll see what sorts itself out.

14 thoughts on “3 Words for 2014

  1. Great post and an excellent selection of words. I especially like the adventurer. I’ve found it an important part of my life as I jumped into things that most people assured me would not work. Perfect way to start a new and prosperous year. It sounds like your sabbatical was a success.


  2. We had a great time, and almost totally rewired my brain.

    I’d already had 3 words picked out in late November, and I dumped ’em all. New thinking, new words. It’s been a great exercise.

    How ’bout you? What 3 words would you choose for the coming year?

  3. Thanks Joel I especially appreciate your reference to Indiana Jones doesn’t look for the trail, he makes the trail!
    I don’t know what all three words will be, but I know “engaged” or “engaging” is one of them because a) I want audiences, students, clients and readers to be engaged (also informed and inspired) and b) because my Best Beloved and I are getting married in June.

  4. I haven’t used words with multiple meanings, but Chris Brogan says he’s found it very effective. I’m afraid of diluting myself, and who wants a watery brain?

  5. Hi Joel. Welcome back to the rat race. Another great post. My three words:
    Writer, because I want to become a published author this year.

    Music Publisher: Hope to publish music that has been submitted to our company, for just this purpose.

    Film Producer: Currently working on a film project, which we hope to release this year.

    Those are my three words. Blessings.

  6. Hi Joel. It’s an action pack, Christian project, to be filmed in New Mexico. It’s a great story, but gory at times. Has to do with bikers, an unrepentant gang lord, and other everyday nice, understanding individuals. lol. There are some people interested in funding the project. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted. Blessings.

  7. Joel, I like, in fact, I love, your “3 words/goals” for 2014. I’m very, very proud of you and your efforts. “Actor” was extremely interesting to me, I won’t bother explaining that one.

    Did want to ask if I can help you in your exercise regimen in any particular way(s). I assume you’ve checked out some profile somewhere of “lynelle’s past” and so you know the amount and types of experience and expertise available to you if you’d like any. No strings, OBviously. It’s just that I’m always looking for some way to give back to you for what you have given me over the past couple of years and maybe this would work.

    Lemme know, and we’ll do that privately.

  8. Exercise. I’ve heard of that.

    Actually, until I drop a few pounds, I’m sticking to shoveling snow. Happens often enough to give me a good cardio workout. Once I’ve dropped enough that my hips and knees don’t hurt, I’ll get back to regular walking, and then we should definitely talk.

  9. I completely agree–it’s the Joel D Canfield way of saying, “talk to your doctor before beginning any form of exercise program.” (As in, “I’ll talk to myself, thank you!”) Shoveling snow, I’ve heard, is exceedingly hard work, so go get ’em. Your hips and knees may hurt for awhile yet, if you haven’t done anything specific with them. I even have issues for a few days after taking only a couple weeks off for, say, a postrace break. It’s weird. But in your case, Joel, you may need to consider doing something “on the floor” to help these hopefully phantom pains go away as you shovel through the winter.

  10. Excellent A words, Joel. It’s always good to have alliteration, or some way to remember them. Here are mine:
    Take action. Don’t let fear stop me from doing things that matter, and don’t over-analyze things. Have a propensity for action.
    Create things. Produce. Whether it’s books, products, videos, relationships, or memories. Be able to say, “Here, I made this for you.”
    Big things are made up of little things. I’m going to divide my big projects into smaller chunks so that they are easier to accomplish. Also use small time chunks to help me focus and make progress.

    So yeah, this year I’m going to Go. Make. Chunks.
    I should be able to remember that. (And maybe even get more done.)
    Thanks for your thought leadership.

  11. Tell me about doing something on the floor. Here, or email, either one’s fine.

    Shoveling snow can be grueling if you push. I dawdle, and just keep a constant movement. Large scoops if it’s light and powdery, less if it’s wet and heavy. Just keep moving, not pushing.

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