Monday, January 9, 2012

The Pillars

Week of January 8, 2012—Jumping Into 2012 Feet First
Monday, January 9, 2012—The Pillars

Every job I’ve ever had required me to set performance goals, to measure my progress, to have data to prove I had accomplished my goals, and to explain why I did or didn’t accomplish my goals at the end of the year. Goals are helpful and needed.

If you were following Picture This! during 2011, you know that I led us through an extensive week of setting goals that were SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). I met five of my six writing goals from 2011. Let me celebrate for just a second. The goals I met were:

1.      Secure an agent
2.      Blog weekly
3.      Attend writing training at least once a quarter
4.      Write at least one new manuscript a month
5.      Keep and use a writing idea notebook

The one goal I didn’t reach (which involved how many books I would sell) was neither achievable nor realistic. It was something that was out of my control. (My friend, Heather, told me so, but I included it as a goal any way. So Heather, you were right.) Of course, the fact that I met five of my goals may mean I had a great year, or that I sat my goals too low. Perhaps I excelled. Perhaps I didn’t challenge myself enough. Either way, I’m going to celebrate.

This year I’m approaching my goals in a different way. During my holiday vacation I was watching the ABC evening news one night and saw a wonderful story where folks from around the country and of different ages used three words to tell how they would change the world. Each person held up a handwritten sign with their three-words written out as a commitment for everyone to see.

When I researched this story, I found that ABC’s Good Morning America has had a recurring segment for four years (where have I been) entitled “Your 3 Words.” Anchor Robin Roberts calls this a place for “expressing our common bonds and what makes us special and alike.” Most folks express a motto, slogan, or inspiring three-word thought. You can view a cool clip of a segment from Good Morning America on Youtube at

As I researched further, I found that social-media guru Chris Brogan also has blogged on the topic of “3 words.” ( Brogan has been using the “3 words” concept for years (again, where have I been). He chooses three words for himself at the beginning of each year. But instead of a motto¸ slogan, or inspiring thought, Brogan uses his three words as a way to set his course for the coming year. He blogs, I use the three words as “guiding pillars of what I’ll focus on in the coming year.”

I like this idea of not setting goals (which may or not be challenging enough, or SMART enough) for the new year. Heavens, knows I’m no good at keeping resolutions. (I am convinced that Weight Watchers only exists because of the number of times I’ve paid to rejoin). Instead, I’m choosing my three pillars—the stakes I’m driving into the ground to hold up everything I’ll do in 2012. My three words are:


Brogan says that the words we choose can cover many aspects of our lives. For instance, my WRITE pillar, can mean my picture book writing, writing in my food journal, my blog writing, and my desire to stay in touch with friends and family. Thus, each of my three words is multifaceted and can cover a lot of territory. Together the three words sum up where I’m going in 2012.

I’ve already posted the 3-word Challenge on Facebook. But now I’m throwing it to you. What three words will be your pillars this year? Set down your stakes.

It’s Your Turn!
1. I challenge you: Choose your three words. Feel free to post them here for others to see.


Madeleine said...

Rob, Great post! My three pillar words for 2012 are:


And in the spirit of ABC's 3 word mottos - I'd have to go with:

Attitude is everything!

Anonymous said...

Wow, great post, Rob. I too, have never heard of this concept but, I like it. I'll have to give some thought to this.

Thanks for sharing.

Susan said...

You are the ultimate motivator, Rob! Okay, my three goals are:


I'm going to print them up big and bold and tack them on my wall.

Athena said...

Thanks, Rob! Like you, I'm no good at resolutions, though I continue to make and break them. I much prefer the 3 pillars, and for 2012 mine are:

Write. Dare. Share.

I am going to post them in my office, carry them on a card in my wallet, and reserve the front page of each of my journals this year with Write. Dare. Share.

Thanks for the gift!


Cathy Mealey said...

The 3 words GMA segment always leaves me misty-eyed! There is such power in choosing those words and sharing them with the world. Always, they seem filled with hope, gratitude, and faith. Makes it feel quite daunting for me to choose my own! So I'll tackle the three pillars instead:


Rob Sanders said...

Love, love, love what you all have done with your three-word pillars!