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Nurture | One Little Word 2015

WordItOut word cloud nurture

One year later, and I think what I said about the idea of One Little Word still rings true: Anyone who is a bookworm knows that words have power. Words matter and the words we choose in our lives can make such a difference in how we see the world.

This is my second year participating in One Little Word, a year-long workshop hosted by designer/blogger/memory keeper Ali Edwards. In One Little Word, participants choose, well, one little word to focus on for the upcoming year. As Ali explains, “You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.”

My word for 2014 was curate, and my vision for the year was to cull back the unnecessary things in my life to make space for the things that mattered and, in the future, give myself the mental and physical space to grow.

This idea, picking a word and focusing your energy into what that word means, worked for me. I didn’t do everything I hoped to do, but I felt like my year had a sense of direction I’ve been missing. We moved and I got rid of a lot of stuff. I focused, for a few months, on not buying new things. I read a lot of my own books. I did a Whole30. I committed to a task management system (Todoist) and worked on systems for keeping organized. I feel mentally lighter now than I did last January.

I’m a little surprised that after a year of curating, I don’t feel compelled to start adding things back to my life. I thought I’d be ready to reverse course, but I think the idea of being deliberate and thoughtful about myself and my space and the people around me is sticking.

That revelation led me to my One Little Word for 2015: nurture.

I resisted nurture for a long time – it was one of the first words I thought of, but a word I initially couldn’t accept. The idea of being nurturing is challenging for me. I don’t feel like the kind of soft, warm person who is in a position to nurture others… and I’m not always great at nurturing myself. It reminded me of caring for children, which I don’t have and don’t know how I feel about. It felt like a word for a better, more generous version of myself that I’m not sure I can ever achieve.

One of the things that Ali has talked about when it comes to finding your word is just listening, seeing what words come up and repeat and seem to settle in. Nurture spoke to me, as you might expect, through a book — Laura Vanderkam’s book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. In the book, Vanderkam argues that the most successful people spend time before breakfast doing important, but not urgent, things – nurturing their careers, nurturing their relationships or nurturing themselves. Those are all things that I want to do too.

I think that was my word speaking to me, of showing me that my preconceived ideas about this word weren’t fair. While one definition of nurture is to take care, nurture can also be about encouraging growth and development, or helping to grow and expand and succeed. I think those are ideas that can guide me to what I want to accomplish in 2015.

In 2014, curate provided me with a sign post, an idea that I could look to when I felt uncertain or needed a reminder to get back on track.

In 2015, nurture is going to provide me with a challenge, a push out of my comfort zone to grow and expand and develop the things in my life that matter most. Bring it on.

“Be one who nurtures and who builds. Be one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” – Marvin J. Ashton

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  • Stephanie January 6, 2015, 7:00 am

    The idea of focusing on a meaningful word for a year and keeping it at the forefront of the mind really works for me as well. Last year I focused on Balance with the goal of keeping my job from using up 98% of my mental energy in a typical week. Even though it was a crazy busy year at work, I think it really helped and I not only accomplished more at home, but also got more organized at work and generally felt less stressed. To support that, I think this year I’m going to focus on Perspective to see if I can’t keep my eye on the bigger picture a little more regularly rather than getting sucked into the minutiae as well as working on seeing things from a different angle then my default. Good luck with your year. Your choice seems very thoughtful and that bodes well for embracing it this year!

    • Kim January 10, 2015, 1:56 pm

      I love the word perspective — that’s such an important thing to learn to manage. I tend to get bogged down in problems I can’t solve, or things that in the grand scheme can’t be helped. Perspective is good 🙂

  • Leah @ Books Speak Volumes January 6, 2015, 8:00 am

    I love the idea of focusing on a word for a year, and it’s interesting to hear how Curate led you to Nurture. I haven’t given a ton of thought to what mine might be, but Tenacity is sounding pretty good. It’s going to take some determination and perseverance to get where I want to go this year.

    • Justice January 6, 2015, 1:46 pm

      I love “tenacity” as a guiding word! It made my shortlist 🙂
      — Justice

    • Kim January 10, 2015, 1:58 pm

      I love that word!

  • Bryan G. Robinson January 6, 2015, 8:29 am

    That quote is a great quote and one I am going to have to save for later.

    I find it interesting about what most successful people do before breakfast. For me, it’s after breakfast. I have to have breakfast before I can think…or at least my coffee. 🙂

    • Kim January 10, 2015, 1:59 pm

      I found it while I was searching on Pinterest and it just seemed perfect. It’s not too “squishy” but totally gets at what I want to do this year.

  • Vasilly January 6, 2015, 9:38 am

    I’ve been waiting for this post! Nurture is a fantastic word.

  • Justice January 6, 2015, 1:43 pm

    I decided to participate this year and selected “explore” as my word. I love how your 2014 and 2015 words flow together, how you’re building from year to year. “Curate” and “nurture” don’t seem to pair together, but the way you’ve explained them and connected them — well, it’s like you couldn’t choose anything else!

    — Justice

    • Kim January 10, 2015, 2:00 pm

      I love the way they connect together too. I like feeling as though each word is growing and complementing the others. It means that my word from last year really did sink in and matter.

  • Anita January 6, 2015, 3:07 pm

    I did a similar one word theme for my year a few times, and I’m thinking about doing it again. I like how you’ve used your word as a focus and lived it out. Wishing you the best as you nurture yourself, and more.

    • Kim January 10, 2015, 2:02 pm

      That’s the best way that I can think to do it, just letting it be sort of a guide for the year rather than getting bogged down in specific resolutions.

  • Belle Wong January 6, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Nurture is a beautiful word. I wonder what it says about me that the first thing I thought of was self-care? 🙂 I loved your 2014 word too, and it’s interesting to see that the changes that focusing on “curate” brought you have stuck. My word this year is intentional, and I’d love it if I could incorporate intentionality into my life permanently, not just for this year.

    • Kim January 10, 2015, 2:03 pm

      Nurture as self-care wasn’t my first thought, but it’s definitely going to be a priority for me this year. I love the word intentional too 🙂

  • Trisha January 6, 2015, 7:54 pm

    What a beautiful idea! I love the word you have chosen, and I feel it is both broad enough to be a year long journey and specific enough to really focus your energies.

  • Andrea (aka rokinrev) January 7, 2015, 9:10 am

    My word for last year was PATIENCE. This year’s is TRUST as in “trust the process”

  • Florinda January 9, 2015, 1:48 pm

    For two years now, you’ve helped me decide to run with this “one word” thing–so you see, you’ve been nurturing already :-D. I love your choice for the year, and the various ways you can look at interpreting it. I’m sure it will lead you down some interesting paths!

    • Kim January 10, 2015, 2:05 pm

      Well that is nice to hear 🙂 I do want to spend time nurturing friendships and other relationships — glad to have a start!