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  • Kate Woolsey

3 Mindset Shifts to Master Your Word of the Year




It’s becoming more and more popular to choose an annual anchor word.  But how do you personalize this trend to ensure it's meaningful for you!?  Here are three ways to reframe your thinking and master your word this year.


Choosing an anchor word has become increasingly common in recent years; it seems everyone is trading in traditional New Year’s Resolutions for a “Word of the Year” instead.


To participate, simply select a word or concept to serve as a theme for the year.  Usually, the word holds value for you and likely aligns with where you are or where you’d like to be.  I’ve chosen a word of the year for the past seven years or so, selecting themes like celebrate, balance, forward, restore, miracle, alignment, bliss.  


What I love most is how the meaning of the word tends to shift over time; like any relationship, the nuances are revealed as you develop new perspectives.  I’ll give you an example.  A few years ago, one of my clients chose “worship” as her anchor.  She wanted to commit to her spiritual practice + enhance her relationship with the divine.  What a surprise when just a few months later, all of the churches in her community closed!  This could have been discouraging, but in fact, became really enlightening for her as the idea of “worship” took on a whole new meaning.


Oftentimes, the difference between discouraged and enlightened is simply knowing where to look.


To get the most out of this practice, and help you master your word of the year in 2024, I’m sharing three simple mindset shifts you can use as the year unfolds.


1 - Lessons may look like limits


When we call a concept into our lives, we don't wake up the next morning completely masterful. Instead, we wake up to the lessons we need to fully learn this idea. AKA: we don't receive the castle; we receive building materials, blueprints, and architects. It's up to us to build the palace, one brick at a time.

What do I mean? Here's a few examples of how it might look for you.


So if you chose "trust" then you are presented with opportunities to trust. This looks and feels like loads of doubt. It is in overcoming the second-guessing that you learn to trust.


If you chose "expand" you better believe you're getting lots of limitations and restrictions to push against and breakthrough.


And "flow"? If you have been feeling stuck, stagnant and blocked - it is not by mistake. You are not doing it wrong. You are being given an opportunity to learn how to loosen, release and get your energy flowing!


So, look around. Where are the building materials? What feels like the exact opposite of what you're looking for? How can you leverage this to transcend + master your word of choice???


2 - Practice comes before mastery


Like the meme says, you must "be brave enough to suck at something new."


When's the last time you really sucked at something? Or even practiced something?


If you ever played an instrument, you know playing the piano doesn't start with Beethoven. Beginner violinists sound like drowning cats - we really suck!


But, this is how it goes. It starts with scales and reading music notes. We assemble these seemingly insignificant competencies into the expertise that eventually let us play Symphony No. 5. It doesn't happen overnight. We show up everyday and we practice.


Sure, we may get discouraged that we're not where we want to be, but we understand that we're building. We cut ourselves some slack because we are learning. And we know each mini skill is providing a foundation to greater levels of mastery.


The same is true in your personal development as well.


So, what does this mean for your word?


If you chose "miracle" then embrace the moments when you can choose again. Pay attention to every change of heart. This is the miracle occurring in real time.


If your word is "confidence" then your skill set is built every time you speak up. Whenever you practice feeling comfortable or taking up space - whether it is on the beach or in a boardroom - these moments activate your confidence.


You're mastering the concept in micro lessons. Brick by brick. So release the timeline and focus on getting the foundation laid right, right now.


How are you practicing your word? How can you shift your focus from the light at the end of the tunnel to where you are in the tunnel, right now?? Are you open to the details? How can you activate your word on a cellular level?


3 - Engage in dialogue with the universe


In art school, I got frustrated when I couldn't translate ideas in my head into my art. To remedy this, my professor taught me not to paint my vision, but engage in a dialogue with the canvas.


I spoke with my brush and let the resulting expression talk back. I continued responding, receiving - and back and forth it went. The end result was not necessarily the original idea, but rather a more dynamic image. By releasing expectations and engaging with what occurred, a bigger vision came to life.

The same is true in your life. You may have a clear destination or vision in mind of how you'd like things to turn out. An image of what your word looks like in your life.


And it may feel frustrating when outcomes don't match your expectations. But this is an invitation to open up your conversation with the universe. Not just to learn, but to create something even more magical.

How does this apply to your word?


If you chose "abundance" then feel into it in all the juicy ways it is appearing. The winter chill is abundant. Your coffee may be abundant. Your scarcity mindset may even feel abundant! Let go of it coming in one particular way and look at the ways it is present. Without judgement, just as it is.


When you stop expecting it to look a certain way, you can see how it actually is. You can appreciate what is developing in front of you. Instead of being distracted or defeated by judging it, you can get curious. You can learn and respond to it. When you engage in dialogue with the divine, you can make sense of things in a new way. And in doing so, allow a greater vision to emerge.


So, what are you expecting your word to look like? Where is it actually present in your life? How can you engage and open the dialogue?


The influence your word has on your life will depend on you.  As the year progresses, you will shift and your understanding of the word you chose will shift too.


If you don’t like what you see as things shift, then reconsider where you’re looking.


Transformation is built on subtle, internal changes that are deeply rooted and activated on a micro level.  Mastery takes time to achieve, and even if a concept feels aligned to you, it may still require patience, growth, and practice.  Give it time to alchemize and trust that your expanded self-awareness - and even your curiosity - is evidence of growth.  Sometimes, we are being called to trade in what we thought it would be for something even greater.



 

Kate Woolsey is an award-winning life coach + alignment mentor with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a masters degree in management from Harvard University. She is also a certified yoga instructor and meditation guide with decades of leadership experience. Kate teaches high-achieving professionals + home-makers how to shift their mindset so they can replace overwhelm with fulfilment and enjoy a life they don’t want to escape.

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