Zen is my Word for 2022: I Never Choose a Word so it's a Big Deal!
Choosing a word of the year is an entrepreneurial type thing.
Here I am doing it again: jumping on the entrepreneurs’ bandwagon. As a blogger, I’m feeling compelled to “choose a word” for 2022, something I’ve never done in other years!
Why you ask?
· Because I’ve talked to people who have chosen a word and it inspired me.
· Because this year, I am deliberately focusing on being Zen.
· Because I want to, and I can.
Since I am in a new space (entrepreneurship) I decided to embrace a new concept to keep my business and my freedom-chapter moving forward, on my terms.
Author’s Note: Here is where I was inspired (check them out!)
Note: As a blogger, I use affiliate links sometimes! I may receive commission from purchases I share, but it does not change your price.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Why do I have to be deliberately focused on being Zen?
Here’s the thing: when I was in my past professional life, there were many great moments, many amazing people but there was also a lot of toxicity. And what was I always investing in?
Zen. Massages, pedicures, facials…. Moments where I was uninterrupted in feeling calmness.
But it was not a reality: I would hear my phone buzz. Or if I didn’t, my mind would wander off to what was sitting in my email inbox.
And basically since May of 2020 and my corporate escape, I haven’t had to pay for Zen. I naturally default to that feeling of calm.
And then I got an email that brought me back to the angst I had when I saw certain names pop up on my email in my past life. I was stunned.
Truly stunned. I mean, in this new chapter, I’ve been fortunate to select who I surround myself with and who I work with. And I’ve built this amazing Facebook community that authentically IS a community. One that I’m proud of and excited about because it is full of people on the mission of designing a life of professional freedom. #positivevibes
So how did this person get into my space? It doesn’t matter but what matters is this: Toxic people are out there.
· People who put negativity first to make themselves feel better: out there.
· People who have bad days and feel compelled to project onto others: out there.
· People who struggle: out there.
Back to Zen.
It is always our choice how we react. I choose to step back and focus on the good. Because there is so much of it. And I can slowly step AWAY from the people on that list above.
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay
The definition of Zen is what makes it my word of the year.
Well, here is the dictionary definition of Zen in Merriam-Webster: a state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.
If I’m honest that is exactly my definition of Zen. As an entrepreneur and as someone who is both passionate and wired to “react,” I’ve had to consciously THINK about being calm. It has definitely been easier as I’ve gotten older!
The reality is that there are so many things NOT worth your energy. By moving those aside and focusing on what is worth your energy, it is more than just a mental health thing (which it absolutely is!), but also vital to productivity and creativity.
Guarantee that your energy is spent on those who can benefit from it and crucially, on those you love and care about.
Photo by Denis Oliveira on Unsplash
What are the best ways to focus on Zen? It's important to:
1) Be deliberate about your mental health.
As I mentioned earlier, I use to pay for this. I would set time on my schedule for massages and such. I’m not saying an occasional pedicure is out of the question for me but there is more to deliberately focusing on your mental health than making an appointment and throwing cash at it.
One way I’m doing this now: a 30-Day Mental Cleanse Challenge.
I am on Day 7 as this is written and it is fantastic. In fact, today’s challenge was doing a 15-minute guided journal entry. I ended up doing three! The creativity got flowing and I am writing like crazy right now!
The end of the challenge comes with choosing two new habits from it. And I will be doing just that- you’ll see more in the Free At 50 blog on it for sure!
2) Know what is best for you.
Having a coach is best for me to move through this entrepreneurial journey with Zen. In fact, my coach, Tegan Marshall, and I met for our session…and the Zen I felt after was mind-blowing. Truly, it was.
For me, I get easily excited about so many things I can overwhelm myself. And I can also scurry down those rabbit holes leading to perfection (or perceived perfection).
These are things that can pull me away from being Zen and working with a coach, specifically Tegan for me:
· Shuts out the noise.
· Eliminates the distractions.
· Brings me back to my why.
Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay
Knowing what you need is the first step in getting to Zen, right?
Take a moment to think about how you can ease your overwhelm and improve your productivity. I will say this, perfection is not necessary, and a weight will be lifted when you let that go!
3) Build your tribe.
This really is an important thing when you ditch the 9-5 and become an entrepreneur, especially a solo-preneur! When you are in corporate life, it’s practically inconceivable to think about being alone all the time.
I don’t mean like when you are in a 9-5 and are working from home. It’s not simply about not having the breakroom to find people in, but more about not having a “team” on speed dial.
Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay
You are literally alone. No one to chat with that “gets” what you’re working on.
So it is exceptionally important to find your people. Commonly referred to as “your tribe.” I’ve been blessed on that front!
Facebook groups for other bloggers and entrepreneurs have been gracious in allowing collaboration and connections. It’s why I’ve grown so close to Brand Strategist Blaire Brown, Content Strategist Cindy Zaweski and Blog Coach Margaret Bourne, as well as Brandi, Maggie, Erin and so many others in my new circle.
And why people have come back into my circle like Nora Luke, a business coach and digital marketer, who I ran around Lansing with years ago promoting health-care services we represented. She left corporate too and now we have a similar mission helping others design life outside the 9-5.
And some people already in my circle are people I connect with more now like Michelle, who is blogging and inspired me with her post about choosing a word and Joyce of Mosaic Starfish with the heart and drive of an entrepreneur, focused on coaching others into a life of gratitude.
Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay
The reasons I was drawn to these people and why I suggest finding your people:
· We have things in common, like building a business online for example.
· I learn from them over and over. Not only through their creations, but also having them as peers and mentors.
· We click. It’s that simple.
I had my BFFs at every stage of my career, and you have too. It’s important to connect with people in the workplace that you actually like and have some things to talk about beyond the work you do.
Also essential: keeping those people from your past as friends. I’ve been blessed to do that as well, whether they are on the same mission as me or not. Preserving friendships I value is a core belief and practice for me. Most definitely, it is something I gladly focus energy on.
Choosing a word to focus on is uber-important, trust me on this!
You may not agree with this, or even think it’s a little woo, but I challenge you: give it a shot. Choose your word: for the year, the month or even the week.
No one has to know; you don’t have to share it. But when the moment comes that you feel the need to think about that word, or apply it to something, you’ve got it on hand.
However, if you do want to share:
· Drop it in the comments below.
· Join my Facebook group and keep it front of mind as you engage in conversations of ideas, support, and resources.
· Download this 6-Step Checklist to Escape the 9-5 that I created for you all and work it into any or ALL of the steps!
Cheers to professional freedom and owning your time!