There’s something I’ve been sort of nervous to share with you — my word of the year. Every year I choose one word as my mantra. It’s not a resolution. It’s not a goal. It’s the thing I need to keep me on track toward my goals.
Last year’s word was deeper, and it was exactly what I needed to add meaning and structure to my work that had begun to spin in a few too many loosey-goosey directions. And it reminded me to strengthen the professional and personal relationships that mattered most to me.
But this year’s word was really hard to pin down. For the first time in a long time, I’m not 100 percent sure what my goals look like, and so it’s not easy to define what I need to reach them. I’m deliriously excited about my book, The Big Life, that’s coming out in March and I can’t wait for it to go to work in the world. I believe that it has the power to be transformative for young women in the way they see their possibility in the world. And despite the fact that I ran a legendary young women’s media brand for the better part of a decade, I’ve never launched my own book. I’m treading into totally new territory — which is exciting and terrifying.
I played around with a few ideas: Faith and trust were good — I need to trust that I’m doing all I can to make the book connect and have faith that all will work out as it should. But that kind of passive, lean-back attitude is really not my thing.
Amplify was close. I have been head-down for two years working on this book. It’s time to sing its message loud and proud. But I’m not sure that word is a broad enough umbrella for all my ambitions.
And so there it was, staring me in the face, inevitable really. My word: Big.
I’ve been shying away from it for months. I said it felt obvious — which is the eye-rolling way you dismiss something that’s actually too meaningful for you to deal with it fully.
Don’t get it wrong, this is not big with jazz hands and a splashy show. For me, big is about owning your place in the world and knowing that you deserve to get everything you ever wanted.
The book is a big idea, with a big mission: To help you recognize your power and to make the world recognize it, too. But, personally, I have to remember not to play small. Sometimes when things are new and complex, I want to sit quietly in the back of the room and observe rather than jump right in. And sometimes when people pay me compliments about my work, my first instinct is to brush them off or say it’s no big deal.
Why is thinking, acting and feeling big so hard? The truth is that the world conspires to make you feel small — at any age, at any level. The dismissive swipes that put you in a narrow box, the daily struggle to make your mark — all of it chips away at your confidence and reminds you that you’re not the hot shit you thought you were after all.
I know you know what I mean.
But no one can make you feel small when you’re following your dream.
The Big Life is a piece of my dream. When I left Seventeen, I knew I had something more to say about growing into the person you were meant to be. After so many years being the messenger, in this moment, I have to own the message.
For the year ahead I need big as my mantra to remind me that the message deserves the spotlight and to shy away from that would be doing me — and you — a big disservice.
I hope this year is big for you too. What’s the word you need to keep you on track toward your goals?
Tell me here.
Originally published at medium.com