My watchwords for 2014

For the past two years, using an idea from blogger Amy Parmenter, I chose three words that represented the growth I wanted to achieve in each of those years. Last year my words were joy, because I wanted to cultivate greater joy in my life; freedom, because I wanted never to have to remain in a bad situation because I couldn’t afford to leave; and courage, which I felt would be necessary to focus on the first two watchwords.

Courage became the overarching theme for 2013 when I left a stable big-corporate job to join a startup company in a leadership role. And it has taken enormous courage and effort to meet that job’s stiff challenges.

Yellow blooms

However, working in this entrepreneurial setting has provided considerable freedom as I get to do things largely the way I see fit. And I did save a little money last year to help provide some financial freedom, but I still have more do to there.

I did not, however, materially increase my joy. If anything, I experienced less joy while I was trying to juggle the big job, parenting, and responsibilities with the Historic Michigan Road Association, while still making time for road trips, photography, and this blog.

Actually, I spent too much of 2013 upset over things that did not go the way I wanted and that I could not control. The ongoing stress of it sometimes made me ill. That I want to change this about myself reflects in these, my 2014 watchwords. I will use them as themes every day as I make decisions all year.

  • Anger โ€“ I don’t like to feel angry. So when something happens that makes me angry I tend to quickly and subconsciously set it aside and move on as if nothing is wrong. Sometimes, after enough such moments, some minor irritating thing will cause me to vent all the set-aside anger. I want to just let myself feel angry when things don’t go my way so that I keep a clean emotional slate.
  • Serenity โ€“ I want to cultivate greater serenity, the kind where you accept the things you can’t change, find courage to change the things you can, and seek the wisdom to know the difference.
  • Faith โ€“ It sure seems like turning to God is the right way to seek that wisdom that leads to serenity. I want to remember and trust that God is in control of the universe. When things don’t go my way, I want to trust God’s bigger plan. But also, I feel like my faith has stagnated over the past couple years as I’ve taken on so much responsibility. Maybe it’s a form of kicking at the goads. I want to rest in God more this year.

What three words might you choose as your focus for 2014?


16 responses to “My watchwords for 2014”

  1. Tori Nelson Avatar

    Awesome words for a new year! I like that you included Anger. Too often I try to tip-toe around that emotion because it seems so negative. I’m realizing, like you said, that I need to get it out and move on to that GLORIOUS Serenity stage :) Happy New Year to you Jim.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Tori! I wish I could buy serenity in a bottle. But no such luck!

  2. hmunro Avatar

    Wonderful post, Jim. Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished over the past year! And best wishes for the year ahead, too. Anger can be such a difficult emotion! Good for you for having the self-awareness to see the ripple effect it can cause when you try to “set it aside” โ€” and for choosing to do something about it. I’m confident your faith will help you reach a place of greater serenity as you travel through 2014. As for me? Discipline, compassion, and truth. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. :) Happy new year!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks so much, Heather. The thing I intend to do about anger is just to feel it, because I’ve learned that it usually passes on its own pretty quickly when I do. I want to treat it like an idiot light on my car’s dashboard: information that I need to use. Because I don’t get angry for no reason.

      You have great words. Maybe you’ll write about them on your blog?

  3. Michelle Styles Avatar

    Courage is my word this year. My past has kept me trapped inside and in 2013 I emerged after a long time within my shadows. This year I will seek the courage to move forward and live. And if you want to know my past it’s all in my blog but it’s not everyones cup of tea. I write raw and from emotion and tend to not sugar coat things. So it’s kind of dark but the light is visible even within now. Courage isn’t such a bad word my friend but I like your three new ones as well especially faith. This year has found me back on the path to faith and ultimately freedom from the demons that haunt me so.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Courage is a great word, Michelle! And faith is how you excise demons.

      1. Michelle Styles Avatar

        It’s taken a long time to get back to faith. It had been stolen from me and is now returned. It’s going to be a long road in 2014 but it will be a great year. I pinged people back to here in my latest post to. Hope you don’t mind I told people to read your blog.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Asking me if I want people to come read my blog is like asking a wino if he wants a case of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill!

          1. Michelle Styles Avatar

            I usually ask before posting a link to someone else’s blog. I kind of put the cart before the horse but I’m glad I didn’t offend of step ahead to much. Maybe these three words will be next years words for me. I seem to be a year behind you. ;)

  4. […] Grey wrote a piece Watchwords for 2014 and his words were anger, serenity and faith. Another great read about how we have to feel the […]

  5. Dani Avatar

    Healing. My emotional and physical well-being isn’t so well. Mom’s ill health and death in addition to other personal events in 2013 have left me feeling raw yet numb. The other two watch words haven’t come to me yet. I will let them come to me rather than search for them.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Dani, I think for you, that one word is big enough.

    2. Michelle Styles Avatar

      Your one word is a monumentous task my friend. I hope you find the healing you seek in 2014. My healing started when I began writting. I write very raw and it’s not for everyone but I really just write for me. Find the tools to help you get it out and you will find your needed healing. My prayers you find this.

  6. Melissa Waggoner Dieckmann Avatar

    1. Balance – This past year I changed jobs (still with the same employer) and that led to a significant imbalance in my life. This year I strive for balance among my relationship with God, my family life, my job, and the time needed for my health and well-being.
    2. Change – During the past year many things changed in my life; people that were a huge support left to pursue new careers or just take a breather from things, my job changed significantly, my daughter changes at mercurial rates as she grows and develops, and I discovered the hard way that I don’t deal well with that much change all at once. This year I strive to accept change and grow from it rather than allowing it to hinder my progress or paralyze me completely.
    3. Simplicity – I find the most enjoyable moments in my life not to be those big, dramatic moments but the simple, everyday moments that catch me by surprise. My goal for this year is to relish the little moments that make lasting memories: my daughter enjoying the snow at my sister’s house, having a meal with friends, enjoying a laugh with my husband. My life doesn’t need any more “big productions” – my job and certain high-maintenance friends provide more than enough of that to last me the whole year.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Great themes, Melissa. Sounds like your life went a little topsy-turvy last year and now you’re trying to find a new normal that lets you stop and smell the roses sometimes.

  7. […] Grey wrote a piece Watchwords for 2014 and his words were anger, serenity and faith. Another great read about how we have to feel the […]

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