My 3 Words 2017

My 3 Words 2017 Jo Miller, GPC

MY 3 WORDS 2017

It is January 2017. For many of us, the new year gives us pause to reflect on the past year and to set goals for the new year. Many feel compelled to declare a new year resolution. These resolutions are often directed towards a single goal, like “losing weight,” “get a better job,” or ‘manage debt.” These resolutions are fine pursuits, but I invite you to join me in the 3-words challenge.

One of the most actionable (and enjoyable) ways I’ve found to set goals each year is by following Chris Brogan’s “My 3 Words” challenge . There’s something deceptively simple about selecting just 3 words to guide your decisions and mindset over the next year. But after doing this exercise for the past 5 years, I can tell you, it works.  In 2006, Chris Brogan began to challenge for people to forego the idea of a resolution, and instead, to dig deeper and come up with 3 words that will help define their goals and experiences for the coming year.

MY 3 WORDS 2017


Lift is a reminder on many fronts. On one side, it is to lift others up!  I am passionate about serving others and to help organizations that lift up members in their communities. There are moments when I see someone struggle, but I don’t know what to say, or I think someone else will lift their spirits or help. Lift is a reminder that sometimes it takes a kind word, a quick note, or a simple resource to lift the spirit, to give hope, or to help someone meet their goal.

Lift is also a physical goal to build more lean muscle mass this year and to learn to lift weights.

On another front, it is also a reminder for my own soul, when I am faced with challenges, that what lifts the bird and allows it to rise and soar is resistance.


Connect others. Connect with others. One of our goals with GrantChat is to connect the community to peers and experts. Similarly, our SmartEGrants courses and communities serve to connect professionals with peers, experts, and resources. In 2017, our focus will be being a conduit of connections.

Connect is also a reminder that we are all connected and to have compassion for others, even if I don’t agree. When we can find that connection, we can find a place to move forward, together.


Plan is a reminder to stay focused on the plan. If I don’t have a plan, make a plan. Document the plan. Map the plan. Follow the plan. I am so grateful that I work with a team of professionals that are much better at documenting and focusing on ‘the plan’ than I am. I have an aptitude for starting things and, without a major deadline (like a grant application), I lean on others to help me see those endeavors through to the end. I need to block out time to document my plans and to continually follow our plans before I start something new.

The word Plan will help me categorize and separate new ideas from our current plans and to focus on the actionable steps and goals we’ve built into our 2017 plans.

Plan is also a reminder that planning is setting priorities. Planning downtime, adventures, and get-aways with my loved ones is essential to those relationships and my own well-being. The SmartE team is already planning our 2017 breaks and vacations for the year.

As a business owner and a Grant Professional, this is very scary for me. The dedicated business owner voice screams, ‘Grant announcements and deadlines are unpredictable!’ So, this is a huge, nerve racking step for me. Let’s see how I feel about this at the end of 2017!


These 3 words, Lift, Connect, and Plan, will guide me in 2017. When I am confronted with virtually any situation, I will check it against my 3 words and either move forward or move away. It is that simple.


What about you?

Are you up for the ‘My 3 Words 2017’ challenge?

What are your words this year?
Use our handy-dandy 3 Steps to My 3 Words handout to guide your discovery of your own 3 words for 2017.

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Jo helps do-gooders do good great. She is the Managing Director / Founder of SmartEGrants and CEO/Principal at J. Miller & Associates, Inc. - Grants, Strategy, and Social Media for nonprofits and the public sector. She hosts #Grantchat, a weekly Twitter Chat, and All Things Grants, a weekly show on Blab. She loves cross-country road trips, exploring national parks with her son, the San Juan Islands, and walking her rescue miniature schnauzer. She is a hugger.

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