My word for 2014 is clarity.

I didn’t sit down and randomly select a word or force it. I paid attention to what’s going on in my life. I listened to what I was asking for.

I have been feeling a little discombobulated and even unsure about how I can best serve you. In the last few months, I found myself repeatedly asking for clarity in specific situations.

A “Word for the Year” is a heavy burden to place on a handful of consonants and vowels. But you will be surprised at what a few letters can do to guide you.
planning photo
Your word of the year should inspire and motivate you. It provides focus without limiting you. [ Tweet this ]
Let me tell you a little more about what I’m looking for from my word for 2014. My hope is that it inspires a little clarity in you.

Types of Clarity

First, I seek Clarity of Purpose.

Why do I do what I do? What motivates me? What do I want for my students and members?

I also seek Clarity of Action.

How do my team and I treat students, members, and customers? How can we be clearer in our offerings and instructions? How can I be clearer in my teaching and writing?

4 Things I’m Doing to Gain Clarity

1. Listening to you.

I’m listening to my inner voices, but I’m also listening to you. I absorb what you say on social media, on my blog, in emails, and in my classes.

2. Working with a new coach.

I am delighted that I found someone to help me simplify my business while strategizing for the future. The results of our first in-person meeting are scribbled on the paper you see in the photo above.

3. Taking classes and attending events.

Normally I would say that classes and events can lead to overwhelm, which doesn’t help with clarity. But the branding event – coupled with a recent class on writing a manifesto – contributed to clarity in some areas.

When you take a class, be sure that you aren’t just gathering information. You should be implementing what you learn immediately.

4. Planning.

There’s nothing sexy about planning. But there’s something invigorating about the process. (Read about my Artist Planning Sessions.)
I’ve got a big calendar on my wall for major events (you can also see it in the photo above); a marketing plan in Asana, my project- and task-organizing app; and am working on an editorial calendar for the newsletter, blog posts, and social media updates.

And the biggest piece of all is my income plan.

Why You Should Seek Clarity

There is so much noise out there. There are so many possibilities.

It’s easy for anyone to get distracted, but it’s a particular warning zone for creatives. You want to soak everything in. And you’re sensitive to all of the stimuli.

The clearer you are about who you are and what you do, the easier your marketing will be for you. Clarity helps you stay on message. It helps you find your ideal buyers and collectors.

You don’t have to adopt Clarity as your word for 2014, but it should always be a goal. And whatever you choose as your word for the New Year will get you closer to that goal.

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65 thoughts on “Clarity”

  1. hi, Alyson, and Happy New Year to you!
    The word-of-the-year approach is such an effective tool, and one I too have been using for several years now. The word, even if it isn’t ‘clarity’, certainly brings clarity to one’s goals and needs throughout the year. It also teaches, asserts itself, and even sometimes changes your definition and what that word means for you. A couple of years ago I chose ‘Mastery’ as my word, thinking it would simply mean improving and mastering how I approach my art, but I found myself teaching a lot of workshops that year. The best way of course to really learn something, or ‘master’ it… is to teach it. I didn’t see that coming.
    I keep clarity at the forefront by working from lists and keeping major goals and deadlines/dates posted prominently in the studio. Thanks to your classes and other resources, I love lists. Lists allow me to empty all the need-to’s out of my head before bed and provide me with a launchpad each morning. Daily, weekly, and monthly lists keep me on track and on target. Brian Tracy’s A-1 priority designation I learned from one of his books makes sure that I conquer the most important things first. I do enjoy the planning, it’s highly motivating. One can dream and think big when planning.
    My word for this year is “adventure”. This word kind of hit me like a ton of bricks as possibilities and opportunities came in during the final quarter of 2013. These possibilities, if they come to fruition, will put me and my art in faraway places this year. Three big ones are on the radar, crossing many time zones and even an equator. It will require a whole lot of work to make them happen, but dang it I’m ready for some growth and stretching, and certainly for some adventure! Roll on 2014, let’s see how much of this we can bring about!

  2. My word for 2014 is “release.” It’s time to let go of a couple of situations in my life, a few pounds and any doubts that have been holding me back from the success I know is mine.

  3. My word for 2014 is RADICAL ~ ! I need to pump up my mental energy to take some chances, expose my work, and interact with new people. I need to think of stepping outside my self-imposed limits as RADICAL.

  4. My word for the year is Grace. I just accepted a full time position at my day-job, and in order to navigate that plus my art business and the other projects I have on the plate for this year I will need Grace in spades. Its actually a word cluster, 14 being the Art card in the Tarot, I thought Art could be my word, Art, Artfully, which led to Grace, and Gracefully.

  5. I’m also using Chris Brogan’s three word approach – my words for this year are Simplify, Quality and Connection – all of which have to do with getting rid of the overwhelm and focusing on doing the best the I can do and really connecting with the people who matter

  6. Just RTed.
    My word(s) for this year are “ramp up”. It borders on being too unspecific, but it’s my reminder to market more to gain customers, to improve my skills (or develop useful new ones), and to focus on “more” in a couple of non-business areas of my life. It also gives me the grace of not making them all “stretch goals” — “more” is good; “even more” is better, but missing “perfect” is not failure.
    Happy New Year, Alyson!

  7. I love Clarity and allow! My word for last year was trust (a great one). More trust and less schlepping and trying so hard to find venues for my work. I was able to relax and enjoy my life – which is wonderful when I stop trying to force things.
    This year, I kept coming up with “Kicking It Up a Notch”. In my work, daily routine, wardrobe, where I show my work, home and even hair and skin care.
    Happy New Year, Alyson, and happy anniversary! I really enjoy your blog.

  8. Thank you for this!
    In taking the time to think and envision all that I would like to see, feel and embody in the upcoming year, my word came to me suddenly: CENTER
    this is such an important tool and will be essential in planning the upcoming year.

  9. Originally my word was exhibit. I have been building a body of work for the last 2 years and haven’t been focusing on showing my work. I know that I can’t keep producing without showing my work. I also had spent 3 months doing a remodel while trying to keep up with painting 20,000 square inches for the year. I feel like I have lost a sense of balance. I want all areas of my life to be working not just one. I thought of changing it to balance but at the same time I want my life to be passionate and balance sounds boring. I think I need to make up a word 😉

    1. unless my studio has a flood.
      I had a thought about thw word balance. Think of one if the Wallendas tightrope walking across a raging gorge. That’s pretty darn exciting!

    2. SHINE is my word for 2014! I’m going to focus on putting myself out there and being more comfortable at being the face of my business.

  10. Hi Alyson, happy 2014!
    My word this year is “Fresh”.
    I chose this word for several reasons. My main one us about my work. I will be making new and “fresh” work.
    It also relates to my food intake. I only want to eat “fresh” cooked food. In the sense of fresh versus processed. I have been doing good with this but want to make sure it’s all I eat.

  11. Hi Alyson… my word is ACCOUNTABLE. .. being accountable to self, others, commitments, plans, ideas, health, time, … and on and on.. and thanks to my work with you and some other remarkable people, I’ve just launched my blog TODAY, Jan 1, 2014, on the new moon !! (btw, there is a shout-out to you in one of my posts…) It’s
    Thank you for the incredible work you do, and the wonderful support and inspiration you provide to artists and the creative process. Happy New Year to you and yours; have a wonderful, creative and clear 2014!

  12. My word is Release. 2014 is the year I finish releasing the last of the stuff that has been holding me back, including the stuff I have allowed to hold me back, and mover forward!

  13. Thank you for this inspiring post, clarity is such a great word. This will be my first year using the one word approach. The word I chose is Healthy. I chose this word because in the past years my health has been a major deterrent to achieving my goals, so this year I will focus on being healthy and I hope that this in turn will give me the strength to take my art business from breaking even to making a profit.

  14. Happy New Year!
    This year, my word is Peace. Which for me stems from clarity; order; planning; preparedness as well as meditation, mindfulness, health, vitality and living authentically. The best ‘whole of life’ word for this year, for me.
    Good luck to everyone for a stellar 2014!

  15. Theresa Grillo Laird

    “Trust” Trust in my ability,trust in what I already know,trust that everything I need is already there.

  16. Focus and Fierce. I am giving myself permission to focus on what I want to do and to be fierce for myself and my goals.

  17. The word that I choose to embody 2014 is Happiness with a capital H. Like Shawn Achor of GoodThinkInc I think Happiness is the starting place for every other action. I love the word Clarity and need that too. I have been feeling a need for order, but Happiness comes first this year, and clarity and order will fall out of the understanding that I need that state. On his Ted Talk Achor recommends a five part strategy for becoming happy, and I am trying out a gratitude journal, and his other recommendations. I am essentially a happy person, and I want to remind myself that there is a positive power in that. Thanks Alyson for this post. Happy New Year!
    XOXO Barbara

  18. I am loving this. The word that’s been in my mind since i resd your blog Alyson is ‘Focus’.
    I really want to focus on my goal to build my art business and to raise my profile as an artist. To do this i need to be disciplned and to have faith. So focus, faith and discipline are my 3 words.
    Let’s all have a fab 2014.

    1. That is so true Alyson – focussed planning time. I have just realised how easy it is to slip back into my old habits but following a daily plan really helps… If i find myself going off course i go back to the plan and ask myself, what should i be doing now…

  19. Thank you Alyson for sharing this with us. This year my word is Build. Building the foundation of the art business I dream of. I am underconstruction! Last year it was Breathe. Everything was going so fast years before and not necessarily in a way that resonated with me. I needed the time to breathe and see clear. Your makeover workshop last october and all the amazing artists I met there truly helped me.
    Wishing you a Clear 2014!

  20. I went with the 3 words as well: Clarity. Do. Faith. It was going to be focus instead of clarity because I’m trying to narrow my focus on the work I do, but first I need to have the clarity to know what to focus on! Do, as in Nike’s “just do it” to remind me to procrastinate less in the creation and business side of art as well as for my health and fitness (though of Action first to keep it a noun, but that sounded too demanding and could lead me to overwhelm, something I struggle with). And faith to let go of worries about my kids, my relationships, the outcome of my works, plus to remind me to make time for my spiritual practice, which will bring me full circle back to the word clarity, because that springs out of my spiritual connection:)

  21. I have been pondering this… I actually was having a hard time choosing just one. I have three. And now I find out that three is an acceptable number. I will have to read the Chris Brogan post.
    The first and most important word: AWARE.
    I choose to be aware of my choices and actions. Aware of my productivity, my focus, my health. Aware encompasses a lot, but I find that just thinking of it gives me a jump start on action and decisions.
    Second: RESPECT: Respecting my inner self. Respecting the choices I make. Respecting others without being dragged into their peripheral chaos. Respecting my health, my home, my art.
    Third: CONSERVE. To conserve my flailing focus and energy and use it in decisive and constructive ways.
    Thanks for this reminder Alyson! And it’s wonderful to read the choices others have made. They are all good reminders.

  22. I like the idea of using one word as a touchstone for the coming year! Mine is “Clear-ity”! To clear away anything that is not positively serving to my benefit. It will take time to not only determine which ones to discard and to go through the process of actually dropping them. But it is also a good thing to do, considering my upcoming 70th birthday…a time to really prioritize!

  23. Thank you for so many thought-provoking discussion topics, Alyson! Last year, I was a fireman, putting out fires all year long. This year I am planning to be more balanced – more aware with a longer lead-in time to all the issues that swirl around in my life; more balanced in my eating, exercising, family, and art-making; so I don’t need to put out so many fires, and I can live in the moment more.

  24. Happy New Year Alyson! Clarity is a great word.
    I think my word will be Evolve. Change is painful sometimes, and it can be too easy to be stuck in a rut.

  25. Happy New Year Alyson,
    I love the word clarity, and have already revised my word for the year to bliss, followed by order. Clarity and order go hand in hand as you reminded me. I have a big wall calendar on my wall too, and I filled it in today. Bliss is what I want to achieve with the clarity and order. Last year I did ten minute meditations to a new word each morning. Sometimes one word would inspire me for a month, and sometimes the words changed every day. Words are powerful. You have picked a great one.
    Here’s to clarity, order and bliss in 2014,

  26. Great discussion. My word for 2014 is PATIENCE! Being a true Taurean this feels like the hardest word on earth and the most fulfilling. I drew it twice from a deck of cards while I meditated on the year to come. Already I am feeling calmer as a result.It reminds me to be more mindful too which is something I am trying hard to put into my daily practice. Have a wonderful year ahead.

  27. First time visiting your blog and this post was something that I just had answer too… Last year my word was “Energy”, but this year I have a few words “Strength” “Release” “Calm” “Speak Up” and “Focus”. As a mother of a developmentally disabled daughter, I’m faced with a lot of challenges to the health and support services this year due to an illness she developed soon 2y ago. I have to find more Strength so I can Speak Up for her rights, Release things that don’t matter or that hold me back. I want to find more calm to be able to focus on everything I want and need to do, for my daughter, for my own health and for my art….

  28. My word of the year is drive. 2013 was a year of unforeseen circumstances and family situations that needed my complete attention, causing me to reassess and change direction in my career. After so many hurdles and setbacks, this year is forward motion.

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