Tuesday, January 1, 2019

My 3 Words for 2019

At the close of each year, I take time to reflect on the year and think about what I want to accomplish in the new year. 

I tend to be hard on myself, but I am learning (with the help of all of you in my PLN), that forgiving myself just as much as I forgive others is courageous and important. 

While I faced disappointments in 2018 that taught me many lessons, there were accomplishments and events that happened that keep me feeling inspired.

And it's you I have to thank. From my readers who connect with me on twitter and Voxer to those of you who believe in me and lift me up... Thank you for being a part of my 2018. 

As we head into 2019, I intentionally choose 3 words each year to serve as guideposts throughout the year. (It's a practice I started in 2014, after learning about it from Chris Brogan.) 

The words help keep me "in my lane" and focused on the goals I want to achieve during the year. 

Does that mean I'm perfectly focused? Not by a long shot.

There are some words that I should probably roll over into the next year because I simply didn't follow my own advice and got off-course during the year. But that's for another post...

One thing I did do in 2018 was that I did a monthly check-in with myself and my three words, which I will do again in 2019. (Try it! Just set a reminder or event on your calendar to show up each month.) 

I also used my goal-setting strategy to make sure that I wasn't over-extending myself (so that I could really accomplish all that was on my plate) and to keep balance in my personal and professional life. 

I've got three new words for 2019, which represent where I'm currently at and where I want to be by the end of the year. 

There are some big milestones that will happen in 2019 as well as some new adventures, so my words reflect the thoughts that surround those impending events, too. 


I chose practice because it means two things to me. the first has to do with doing the daily work. When I was coaching athletes, I made sure that we had a structured practice plan and that we maximized our time together. 

Often, my athletes would say that the games were "easier" than the practices, because their limits were challenged many times during each practice so that when game time arrived, they would be ready for any physical, mental, or emotional challenge. 

The word Practice is my reminder throughout the year to do the daily work, and remember that it all adds up. 

This past year, one of my words was LIFT. I wanted to lift others up as well as get myself to the gym more. I was able to do both, and I want to continue to be consistent with coaching and lifting up others as well as taking care of myself. 

Practice is also a reminder to tackle those things that I'm not good at. If I shy away from certain things because I'm not good at them, then I'll never be good at them. 

I want to keep trying new things, whether it's something personal or professional, and even especially when they scare me and when I have room to grow. 


My next word was inspired by a blog post written by Joe Jacobi, where he shares that one of his words is Actions (read his post for the inspiring event that helped him choose the word.) 

Then, as I was reading through Chris Brogan's previous posts, I saw that he had chosen Execute for one of his words for 2018. A light bulb went off. 

When I think of the word execute, it means to me to do something well (like, "They executed the basketball play well.") I also think of carrying out plans and acting on intentions. 

Merriam-Webster defines EXECUTE as this:

     ~ to carry out fully : put completely into effect

     ~  to do what is provided or required by

     ~  to make or produce (something, such as a work of art) especially by carrying out a design

     ~  to perform what is required to give validity to

So while Practice is about doing the daily work and getting better at something, Execute is about facing fears and "pushing the button." 

I want the new year to be full of actions and not regrets, and I'm looking forward to having these two words to guide me. 


My first two words are practice and execute... they have to do with actions. BE is a word that in my mind is the opposite. 

It's about letting go of the need to achieve and filling the space with acceptance. 

It's about embracing peace and being fully present for myself and others. 

It's about having faith and love and knowing that I am who I am and that I am enough. 

Join the movement and share your three words on twitter using the hashtag #my3words. Feel free to tag me, too. I want to be your cheerleader!

My Past 3 Word Choices

2014 - Discipline. Intentional. Balance.

2015 - Rhythm. Bravery. Fitness.

2016 - Focus. Purpose. Do.

2017 - Pivot. Go. Grow.

2018 - Lift. Create. Relentless.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018

I've spent the past few days reflecting on the past year... the challenges, the highs and lows, and of course, the celebrations. I like taking a few days at the close of the calendar year to disconnect and prepare for the new year ahead. As for me, I do a lot of visualizing, writing goals, and crafting my three words for the new year

Part of looking ahead for me is looking back. There are mistakes I want to avoid repeating, skills I want to continue to grow, and relationships I want to continue to cultivate. As a recovering perfectionist, my need to review events is becoming more about learning and less about judging. 

I'm so grateful for all of you who read and comment on my blog posts. I love being a part of the Compelled Tribe, the community of bloggers that I lead along with Craig Vroom and Jon Wennstrom. I've learned so much from all of the interactions on twitter and through blogging with the tribe members as well as many other talented writers who push my thinking and contribute to my personal and professional growth.  

It's always exciting to do this year-end round up of the top 10 posts from the year. I always get caught up in reading and re-reading (and trying not to judge myself!) There are always one or two posts that surprise me in their rankings, and this year the surprise was that the top post has had over 34,000 views. (Don't skip ahead!)

Thank you for being a part of my 2018. I hope all of you have a wonderful new year!

If you're a blogger and write a Top Ten round up, please be sure to tag me on twitter!

Related Posts:
Best of 2017: Top Ten Blog Posts
Readers' Favorite Posts of 2016
My Top 10 Posts of 2015
Best of 2014: Top 10 Posts of the Year
Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

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Monday, December 17, 2018

COMPELLED: Week 15 - Joy

Welcome to the final week of a 15-week series where I share quotes, examples, and/or stories about 15 of the characteristics that I believe are demonstrated by Compelled Educators everywhere. 

I hope you will share your favorite quote or story each week in the comments below. You can also leave a comment on the Compelled Educator Facebook page

I'm a huge fan of school. I loved all the schools I attended... elementary (I went to two elementary schools), junior high, and high schools (I went to two high schools). 

I had a rough time when my daughters got to middle school and high school, because they didn't enjoy school like I did. Actually, they didn't enjoy it very much at all. 

My youngest daughter disliked school the most, and much of why she didn't like school is because she didn't like having to "do school." 

She loves to learn and can tell me a lot about many subjects, but she definitely didn't like the school procedures and rote learning that she was required to do. 

Both daughters talked to me about their teachers and lessons in their classes. They both had a few classes that they enjoyed, and the common denominator in all of the classes is a teacher filled with joy. 

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. 
- Albert Einstein

These weren't the teachers who always made the classes "fun," but they were teachers who were excited about what they were teaching, who celebrated students and enjoyed the company of their students, and made their classrooms inviting.

These teachers loved to learn and loved when their students were learning. They believed in their students more than the students believed in themselves, and they encouraged their students to keep learning, growing, and striving for excellence. 

These teachers not only possessed joy, but they knew how to bring out the joy in the students and through their learning. 

In an article by Nancy Barile, Building a Joyful Classroom: Top 10 Strategies Based on Education in Finland, she shares tips for blending joy and learning in a classroom. 

Here are a few ideas from her article:

  • Know each child. Learn about their lives outside of the classroom. Greet them by name. Build strong relationships.
  • Provide choices that allow students to make connections between content and their personal interests and passions. 
  • Create assignments where students have to prove their learning. Have them to defend their choices and answers and "show their work." 

Previous posts in this series:

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

An Opportunity for Courageous Leadership

Courageous Leadership is not bravado. It’s leading from the heart, and aligning one’s actions with beliefs. It’s doing the hard stuff because it has to be done, and being truthful through the process. I believe it’s one of the most important qualities of a leader. 
                    ~ Jennifer Hogan, Handbook for Courageous Leadership

Below is a collaborative post from Dennis Griffin and me. Dennis reached out to me on Voxer after reading my e-book, and after a few conversations, we knew that we wanted to create an opportunity to collaborate with others around the action of facing our fears as we lean into courage in the new year. We hope you will join us!

I (Jennifer) used to think that courageous leadership meant being willing to make decisions that people wouldn’t like. Also, in my naivety, I thought that courage was something that had to be summoned up… called for, if you will, before doing the things that others didn’t want to do. Now, as I have grown in my leadership experience because of my connection with others via my online P²LN, I realize that courage is not the opposite of fear. 

We all have fears, and we can all be courageous. As I have explored the concept of being a courageous leader, I had to research fear and how fear drives many of the decisions we make as humans and social beings. Being able to share what I have learned through my writings and empower others through coaching to name, claim, and face their fears have been some of the most rewarding experiences of which I have been a part.

What is Courageous Leadership? 

I (Dennis) have to admit the media had greatly influenced what I thought Courageous Leadership was. Courageous Leadership had been depicted as the protagonist looking fear square in the eye and overcoming conflict that had a definitive right and wrong. Of course, in the movies, the protagonist was always on the side of righteousness. Our world has taught us that righteousness is not always the determining factor in what many deem as leadership. Power, privilege, and personal perspective have often dictated decisions that have not necessarily served the greater good. 

On my leadership journey I have questioned, how was it possible for so many individuals to take the same leadership classes, read the same leadership books, and turn around and allow so many injustices to go unaddressed and empower the status quo? 

Gus Lee, the author of Courage: The Backbone Of Leadership, may have summarized what stops courageous leadership when he stated, “being isolated in a relational society feels like death.” We live in a society where people want to belong to something. I can remember as a student there were times when I acted differently to be accepted by my peers. I am glad that I experienced that for now I truly appreciate being the authentic version of myself. 

Along with Jennifer and the book study group, I hope to answer this question: Is it possible that our ability to empower others (which I believe is the highest level of leadership) to make change is directly connected with our fears of how we think society will judge us?

We are cordially inviting you to come and learn with us during the month of January for the Courageous Leadership Book Study at the following times:

Sundays in January
7:30 - 8:00pm, CST
Week 1: Chapters 1-2  January 6
Week 2: Chapters 3-5  January 13
Week 3: Chapters 6-7   January 20
Week 4: Chapters 8-9  January 27

We have three primary goals for The Courageous Leadership Book Study:

  1. To create a space to learn and share about Courageous Leadership.
  2. To build our capacity as Courageous Leaders. 
  3. Develop a #PLN of Courageous Leaders to counter the effects of isolation.

One way or another, your leadership will make a difference by creating change or by reinforcing the systems that are currently operating and defining our world. 

Fear, doubt, and conflict will always be present as you begin to venture into the unknown; however, your Courageous Leadership is not just for you. Your Courageous Leadership can potentially create a life altering difference in the lives of those you serve on our journey to a better tomorrow.  

We hope you will join us as we kick off the new year facing our fears! 

Lee, G., & Elliott-Lee, D. (2006). Courage: the backbone of leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hogan, J. (2016). Handbook for Courageous Leadership. Birmingham, AL: http://thecompellededucator.com 


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