My 2023 Word of the Year

“How is Wordle not your word of the year?” – my sister, Karen

Yes, it’s true. I’m obsessed with Wordle. I play it with my sister as part of our morning routine. We start with the same word and see where our connected brain power leads us to the answer. I’m a little obsessed about my current streak (63 games) and beating my maximum streak of 157 games. I mostly fall into the range of three or four guesses, and my day starts on a good note when I only need two guesses.

But Wordle is not a word of the year. It isn’t a word I can get behind and channel into my everyday life. Let’s put it this way: It’s a good way to start my day, but not to get me through it. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer (I’m sure it is killing you! LOL). My word for 2023 is GROWTH.

How I Picked My Word

I have been more meticulous about choosing this year’s word than any other year. I admit that in the past, I’d forgotten what word I picked by the end of January. I often go back to remind myself, but now I want a word that sticks.

It’s a tall order. Fortunately, I was gifted a deck of cards called “Words that Matter” by my friend, who is also named Karen. She started her own business a few years ago called Living on Purpose. This deck includes 52 inspiring words, related quotes, and questions to spark self-reflection, journaling, and much more.

On the first pass-through of the deck, I created two piles—one of the words that spoke to me and the other pile of words that didn’t. I spread out the first pile on the table and went through the second pile one more time to make sure I could eliminate them. From there, I narrowed the first pile to a dozen cards and then whittled it down to four words. I read through each quote and follow-up question carefully and made my decision.

Growth is a word I believe in—both personally and professionally. Adapting a growth mindset is how I want to move forward. I don’t want to stay stuck in a fixed state where I think my way is the only way. And if I continue to live by routine, I’ll never be open to new experiences. I want to learn from others and apply newfound knowledge to my goals and dreams. Growth is what I’ll embrace in 2023.

Here are a few ways I’ll put this word into action.

Personal Growth

As I continue to write a memoir, I am learning so much about myself, my family, and how we navigate through life. The more I write, the more I understand. The more I understand, the more I grow. It is taking much longer than I thought to write this book, but I’m still at it, and part of the journey is growing from it. I’ll continue to enlist my writing coach to see me through and invest in workshops where I can listen to feedback and critique from the writing community. Their insights and enthusiasm for what I write keep me going and growing.

I’m also at an interesting stage in life. I am sandwiched between young adult children who have recently left the nest and aging parents who live their lives to the fullest, even in the face of some challenges. As for my kids, I’ve never been a helicopter parent, and I’m not about to start now as they find their way. We raised them with good values and to think for themselves. They are resilient and thoughtful people, and I trust their judgment. I’m grateful to be their mom and will continue to learn and grow as they share their new experiences and insightful perspectives with me.

(All I ask is that they wear a jacket when it’s cold outside, text me back in a timely manner so I don’t worry, and find their passion and do what they love in life. Okay, that’s not all I ask, but it’s a good place to start.)

I am also incredibly fortunate to have both parents still with me. I continue to grow from their wisdom and life experience. This year, out of concern for their health and safety, we’ve had some tough conversations. I know we’ve made progress. I will continue to support them and try to respect their wishes to live independently for as long as possible. This isn’t always easy because I sometimes approach these conversations with an “I know what’s best…” attitude.” This doesn’t mean I will avoid these talks in the future, but I will work on more patience, flexibility, and acceptance as we all strive for the best outcome.    

Professional Growth

I love being challenged at work to take on projects that I’ve never done before. This past year, I launched a new brand for the nonprofit where I work. I collaborated with many people and served as the staff liaison to the marketing company we hired. I worked with and listened to others to gain consensus about our messaging. I managed conflicting opinions about colors and imagery regarding our logo that would ultimately reflect a more dynamic look. And I’m proud to say that the end result is something we are all incredibly proud of. I hope to have more opportunities to collaborate and learn from our leadership in the new year.

I also love taking professional development classes. Recently, I’ve noticed that while my creativity is rising, my project management skills need some readjusting. I’m excited to grab the opportunity to improve this area by learning new tricks and letting go of old habits.

A Final Thought

Even though I discarded several options for my word of the year, they won’t leave me entirely. My friend, Karen, gave me permission to use GROWTH as an overarching word and keep other words in mind to support it. So, I’m giving a shoutout to words like DREAM, AUTHENTICITY, INTENTION, and FOCUS—I see you and will invite you to the party often. Let’s get to work!

What’s your word for 2023? If you haven’t picked one yet, it’s not too late. Contact my friend, Karen, at Living On Purpose, for her card deck and her wisdom. Tell her I sent you!


6 comments on My 2023 Word of the Year

  1. Karen Sammer
    January 2, 2023 at 8:12 pm (9 months ago)

    Great choice Elisa. I also love the runners-up in the selection process. Wordle is pretty cool too.

  2. Cheryl
    January 2, 2023 at 6:09 pm (9 months ago)

    My word for 2023 is light. I too wrote about my process for picking the word in my blog.

  3. Kebba Buckley Button
    January 2, 2023 at 5:10 pm (9 months ago)

    Elisa, growth is always a great goal! Congratulations on making it your Word of the Year! Mine is “fruition”, as many pieces are coming together and coming to fruition.

  4. Victoria+Juster
    January 2, 2023 at 4:55 pm (9 months ago)

    I love that you chose Growth. It’s so open ended that you can apply it to any learning experience. Looking forward to seeing how you integrate it into your life.

  5. Safrianna Lughna
    January 2, 2023 at 1:55 pm (9 months ago)

    My word for 2023 is MAGIC! <3 I love how you broke down choosing your word and all the things it means to you.

  6. Roy A Ackerman, PhD EA
    January 2, 2023 at 1:47 pm (9 months ago)

    I would venture to say that Growth is your GOAL of the year. The word of the year is what results from achieving your goal.
    I look forward to learning that answer.

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