Three photo from ShutterstockStanding out in your career begins with standing out in life which begins with standing for something. What do you stand for?

I’m sure you stand for a whole lot more than Three Words. However, I have found that using three words serves as a litmus test for what I post, what I commit to, what I comment on and where I spend my time. I’m not always in perfect alignment with them, but the Three Words allow me to step back and take a look at what I’m doing or being asked to do. Then I can make a determination if the ask is aligned with what I committed to myself at the beginning of the year.

Full Disclosure: I did not come up with this idea. I am benchmarking it from one of my friends and inspiritors, Chris Brogan. I first met Chris at SOBCon a few years ago where he mentioned this concept and how he uses it to help him think about what he was working on, what he commits to, and ultimately to determine where he spends his time. I liked it so much I incorporated it into my yearly plans.

For 2014 my Three Words are: Inspire, Inform and Instigate.

Here is how I like to think about them:

Inspire

There are countless ways to be inspired and to inspire others. I’m inspired every day. It can be something as simple as a kid offering to return a grocery cart. It can be a TV commercial. Or it can be something more elaborate.

For 2014 I want to continue to inspire people. I have been doing something I call Pay It Forward Friday’s (#PIFF) going on for 5 years now across Social Media channels. Several of people have said… EVERY DAY should be a Pay It Forward Day. To which I say… I agree, but people need to start somewhere. My goal in 2014 is to inspire people to do great things and reach for big goals.

Inform

Maybe this is just a personal thing, but I spend a lot of time thinking about what I post – I think, I read, I write and I re-write. Sometimes I just scrap the whole idea and premise. Perhaps this is my engineering training or my tendency to seek perfection or maybe this is just a character flaw, but I try to make sure what I put out there informs. Note: I said seek… not necessarily attain perfection. My goal in 2014 is to continue seeking and creating content that informs.

Instigate

To instigate is to bring about or initiate action. As part of my other two words to inspire and inform, I often include a call to action. Hint: there is a call to action below. I want people to take action. To do something. To do anything. One of my inspiritors is Srinivas Rao as he is the master of getting people fired up, including himself. My goal in 2014 is to take a more proactive approach to instigating.

What are your three words for 2014?

Of course, you can benchmark from my three words if you like them and if they apply to you. However, Your Three Words should be your own. They should relate to what you are doing, where you are in your career and your life. When used as a guiding principle, your Three Words can help you develop skills that will help you stand out in your career. Choose Wisely.

Please share Your Three Words in the comments so that we can all help each other to achieve our goals.