Happy New Year: What's Your Theme for the Year? | Beth's Blog

Happy New Year: What’s Your Theme for the Year?

Personal Reflections

The Sun Sets on 2014

This year I took off a full two weeks during the holiday, spending time with family on the Big Island on a coffee farm and mostly offline.   I didn’t do a complete unplug, as we’re so dependent on the Internet for information in navigate our daily lives, which is a huge change since I first got online in 1993.    And, now with those beautiful sunsets behind me, I look ahead to 2015.

I have a couple of New Year’s rituals that help prepare me for a new year.  These include a review of the year’s accomplishments and two techniques that help you focus on your goals:   Peter Bregman’s  theme for the year, and Chris Brogan’s “My Three Words .”   I also throughout the month of January review my work routines and systems and redesign or tweak to improve productivity.  Rituals and routines have many benefits for your personal effectiveness.  They capitalize on our brains’ ability to direct our behavior on autopilot, allowing us to reach our goals even when we are distracted or preoccupied with other things.

Year in Review

When I look back on 2014, it was a very rich and productive year.     And, I expect no less in 2015.

My Theme for the Year: Learning

This was my theme for last year and I plan to keep the same theme.   I’ve been working in the nonprofit sector for 35 years, doing training for the past twenty, blogging for the past twelve, and published author over the past five years.    Learning has kept me inspired and improving what I do.   But, it isn’t just about learning new techniques.   When you’ve been doing what you do for a long time, it is also about unlearning (being mindful when bad habits creep in and changing them) and relearning what you have learned or updating it or reinventing it.

2015 will be another year of learning for me.  You’ll be reading more about how to learn – either professional learning or learning in organizations or learning from peers and how technology – especially social networks and data supports the process.  I’m particularly obsessed with how to design for the modern learning, so stay tuned for more on that.

My Three Words

  • Teaching: This is my passion, my calling, and my professional work.  Most of work projects are capacity building and training other trainers.   I will continue exploring and writing about assessment, curriculum development, facilitation, evaluation, and documentation.   I will be teaching a graduate course at the Monterrey Institute in January as well as guest teach at other universities.    In order to be a great teacher, you have to always be learning.  I have a goal for one learning day per month where I will take workshop on instructional topics and share those here. One thing I feel strongly about is that if you want to be a great facilitator or teacher, that you should live in a particular method and iterate on it for at least a year, if not longer.  I plan to do that with facilitation techniques for design and innovation labs.  I will continue to do deep reflection on my instructional design and delivery and continue to share insights here on the blog.
  • Networked Leadership and Learning Skills: Okay, that isn’t one word, but I couldn’t capture this idea in one word.   But I continue to be interested in teaching “networked leadership skills” which how to use online networks and the Internet in service of your career, professional learning, or organizational goals.  I’m teaching several workshops on these topics for nonprofits and community foundations as well as will be a learning facilitator for a peer group of young leaders at nonprofits funded by the Packard Foundation (more to come on this).   I will also continue to work on network design projects, particularly those focused on developing “learning networks.”  I will blogging about the use of online social network tools and techniques for effective professional networking.
  • Walking: In Oct, 2013,  I got a fitbit and got addicted to walking. I walked away 30 pounds, but something else happened.  I discovered that walk is an important part of work – it helps you think, it helps you develop professional relationships, and can help when you are leading trainings.      I will continue to blog about walking as work – and will do a session at NTC 2015 with Ritu Sharma on the topic.  To relate it back to an area of nonprofit technology, I’ll be following the discussions on wearable tech and health data.

I wish all my readers and colleagues a very happy and healthy 2015!

What is your theme for 2015?




6 Responses

  1. Robin Mohr says:

    As I think about it some more, I think that you were the one who introduced me to Chris Brogan’s My Three Words exercise about five years ago. I’m still doing it each year.


    But my theme for the year is from Bono’s quote from Nietzche “to do anything great requires a long obedience in the same direction”.

  2. Alex Swallow says:

    Dear Beth, I just wanted to wish you a lovely 2015 and to thank you for all you do for the nonprofit community worldwide. We’re lucky to have you and it’s great to read about all your achievements and your future plans. Best, Alex

  3. Beth says:


    You know, I think I started doing this in 2008 or 2007, can’t remember, but I love the ritual. I love your three words.

    Happy New Year and I’m so appreciate your kind words. I really appreciate your work as well and look forward reading more of your work. Also, I will be in the UK in March 2015 – maybe we can even meet face-to-face.


  4. Mimi says:

    I’ve never had a yearly ritual before and I really think it’s nice to start one now. I’d like to do a “year in review” thing because I think it’s grounding and humbling to see any kind of accomplishments and moments you’ve had throughout the year at the end of the year. My theme for 2015 is “To Own It”. I’m currently on a new career path and I’d really like to set this off to a greater height. Happy new year to you, Beth! It’s nice to have stumbled upon your blog 🙂 I’ll be reading more!

  5. Thank you for being such a resource and an inspiration in 2015. Love the tri-tip for 2015. I’m going to adopt the Walking and the Networking and add “seeking” – asking for help more! Teddy

  6. Beth says:

    Happy New Year! I came across a wonderful photo of you and James from 2010 – Maybe you remember it – https://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/4484989261/in/set-72157623633477291

    It is hard to believe that we’ve known each other for almost five years! Time flies. I love your goal of “seeking” — one thing I’ve found helpful is to write down the words on sticky and keep them on my desk so I am reminder of these goals.