What’s Your Word of the Year? Here are Five Words to Get You Started.

Many professionals I know choose a “word of the year” that becomes their mantra and focus for 12 months. My personal word for 2016? “Simplify.”

To incorporate this concept into my life, I’ve been reading books like Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and — of course — Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which really is pretty life-changing. I’ve cut back on unnecessary meetings, conference calls and business travel; made more time for yoga; donated about 50 percent of the clothes in my closet; and limited my breakfast and lunch options to one or two choices. So far, simplifying has felt great.

If you are looking to adopt a word of the year (February is not too late!), here are five traits I’ve identified that are vital to success, no matter where you are in your career. Maybe one of these concepts will help frame your 2016, or spark another word of the year option:


“It doesn’t matter if you fail – what matters far more is how you deal with failure. This certainly isn’t an original sentiment, but there’s no harm reiterating it: How you get up is a lot more important than how you fall. … Safe to say (if you’re a human being, which I assume you are if you’re reading this), in the working world unless you’re preternaturally lucky you will at times deal with disappointment. The faster you recover and get back on your feet and go productively on your way, the better it will be for your management and your organization. And, most importantly, for yourself.”  — Read more at Forbes.


“Grit is stamina. Grit is sticking with your future day in and day out — not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Even the least seasoned of runners knows that the key to making it through a marathon is pacing yourself — not pushing too hard or too fast and exhausting your energy, while also not backing down when it gets tough.” —  Inc.


“Firstly, humility allows you to expand intellectually. A healthy curiosity will help you uncover greater insights, learn new things, and make better decisions. If you aren’t questioning your thinking and assumptions, you may end up ignoring well-informed advice, overlooking mistakes, and ultimately missing out on development opportunities. Secondly, humility enables influence. People enjoy working with open-minded managers and colleagues who value the opinions of others. By appreciating diverse thinking and genuinely seeking input, you can win support to achieve your goals.” — Read more at Fortune.


“We lack patience. Totally bombarded by stimuli, we’re easily distracted and easily bored. So many people I talked to lamented how often millennials lack the wherewithal to follow through on their great ideas (while of course still expecting a yearly promotion). We need to remember and acknowledge that if we want those gold stars, we have to earn them — and sometimes that takes time.” — Read more at Adweek.


“In order to be an effective leader, one must be able to experience the pains and joys of those working on all rungs of the ladder. In a leader, a little empathy can go a long way. It will help you in private and public discussions with your employees. It will help you in understanding and anticipating your stakeholders’ concerns. And it will help you better grasp your customers’ desires and needs.” — Read more at Forbes.

What’s your word of the year? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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