Releasing the Alchemy - 5 Steps to your Word for the Year


Last time I talked about why I believe choosing a word for the year has personal power and serves as a touchstone to enrich how we grow and learn. Today I want to look at what ‘choosing’ means and walk through the 5 steps to discovering your alchemy – the word that is going to help you create greater authenticity and fulfillment in 2018.

Christine Kane, Founder and president of UplevelYOU, sets the tone when she says it’s ‘not about absolute certainty. It’s about allowing and evolving.’ And in that open-hearted spirit, our quest begins.

Revealing Your Word

This is the process that I’ve found works for me – allowing space for the word to come into focus is really important, but you might find you know yours more quickly, or you could need more time for the word to ‘lock in.’ Both are absolutely fine.


1.  Use a word cloud like this one or a list of words, and set aside 10 quiet minutes to read them through and highlight which words are resonating with you right now. Choose a maximum of 12 words, then walk away for a day. In this time, be aware of words around you that you’re noticing. Are there any you need to add to your list?





awareness authenticity achieve artistic assertive affection adventure adapt attention abundance allow activism artfulness acceptance action awe beauty balance creativity confidence commitment challenge compassion clarity care choice courage curiosity change community communicate calm deliberateness design delight discipline develop dependable effortlessness expansion excitement exploration educate empathy forgive fun fairness forgiveness focus freedom friendship flexibility growth grace generosity gratitude heal honesty health humility honour hope humour integrity include inspire integrate innovate intuition influence intention joy kindness knowing love laughter live listen laziness lead loyalty mastery mentor meaning no openness order patience pleasure power pioneer peace presence perception quality quiet release reunion respect resilience ritual risk realism rational responsible self-love spirit stability savour selfless service solitude simplicity support trust thrive transform tradition vision vitality variety vulnerability willingness wisdom welcome yes



2.  On the following day, return to the list of words you chose yesterday. Read them through, perhaps out loud to bring them alive. Then quickly and without over-thinking it, choose your top 6. Walk away, sleep on it - let your unconscious mind do its work.


3.  By now, you might find one word is starting to take prominence. Repeat the process and settle on your top 3. Give yourself a day’s space one last time. Relax – don’t struggle or force it, let it happen naturally.


4.  Return to your top 3 and sit a while with each – which one is resonating most strongly? Which one excites you? Gives you energy and hope for the future? Which attracts you? Remember there is no room for ‘should’ in this process – listen to your intuition.


And now you have it! But be sure your word is just that – ONE word.


5.  Next, take a blank sheet of paper or a new file on your laptop. Place your word centre-stage and let associating words emerge. So if your word is GRACE, words that come to mind might be ‘acceptance’, ‘meditation’, ‘peace’… or whatever your word conjures up for you. There is no right or wrong. This is helping you to get clear on what the word carries for you. Watch you response – does this feel right? Does it make you feel bigger, better, more? If ‘yes’ then this is your word for 2018 – the word that will guide you, work as your touchstone or a perspective that will serve you well at times of stress, difficulty, challenge, chaos, and potential growth and renewal.


And mine?

INTUITION – after the first day, this was the only word I could remember from my list of 6! I caught sight of it from the corner of my eye and once I’d explored it in step 5 we were totally locked in. I’m excited for what this word will bring me in 2018 – I’m drawn to its promise of ‘unconscious reasoning,’ the inner wisdom which is the sum total of my rational and instinctive mind. It’s a powerful word in coaching and as coaches, we’re trained to trust our gut, to notice where we feel our intuition and to tune in to what it’s telling us. This helps us serve clients better and more authentically.

But apart from my work as a coach, I’m drawn to trusting my intuition more in every area of my life. I already have plans taking shape to build a daily practice around this word and to use it at key moments. I want to consciously strengthen my intuition too and this will mean some effort as well as heightened awareness – but the point here is that this is work I want to do. It excites me and promises new ways of seeing and being in the world. It’s a perfect fit and I’m ready for the alchemy.


I love visuals, so my next step to make this tangible is to produce a poster to serve as a daily reminder. I use Wordswag – it’s a cheap App you can download to your phone and which allows you to import an image that is personal to you or to use one of their stock of images. You can then design your word in the font and colours that most appeal. I’m still playing with mine, but here’s my first test:


Or maybe....




If you don’t want to use an APP, it’s easy to do this as a Power Point slide or to collage, or even draw or paint freehand. The time you take is also important because you’re spending time with your word – bonding if you like! Then print it off, post it on your fridge or your pin-board, keep it handy on your phone – a constant reminder.


So that’s it – you have your word and if you’re like me, you’re feeling excited about what’s ahead, how this idea will manifest itself in your future and how you will consciously and unconsciously develop in relation to your word.


What Next?

To help you strengthen your connection with your word, avoid the triggers that could sabotage its power, bring to life what the word means for you, how it’s already present in your life and how it can be stronger and more purposeful, I’ve developed a Word for the Year worksheet, which is free for subscribers. Just contact me here for your free copy.

Finally, if you know someone who can benefit from this, please share this article. It’s great to have a buddy along with you for the journey. Saying your word out loud to someone and sharing how it’s showing up in your life in the year ahead is a great source of strength – and fun! It really helps to lock in both your intention and openness to what this powerful word can teach you this year.

I’d love to know what your word is – write it in the box under this article, or on the Freestyle facebook page, or why not join The Freestyle Career Lounge where you can connect with other people who are also keen to change the balance in their lives?


My intuition is telling me you’re going to love starting 2018 with your word firmly embedded in your life. Let me know how it goes or whether I need to work on my intuition more than I think!

And since writing this last year, I also reviewed my word in June - you can read more about that in ‘Revisiting my Word for the Year’ here.