The process of choosing a one word resolution for the New Year is usually fun for me. I set aside time to reflect and mull it over and then move forward feeling satisfied with my word. But this year?
Choosing one word for 2017 felt like a monumental task.
I read articles and I created lists. I looked up synonyms in the thesaurus. Nothing resonated, nothing felt right. Then, in the midst of a Parks and Recreation marathon, an epiphany.
My word for 2017 is Knope. As in Leslie Knope.
One of the reasons that I struggled to figure out my word, and focus, was due to the fact that I have a lot of things I want to accomplish in 2017. But none of the words I found seemed to encompass the grandiose plans I have for the future. That’s why choosing Knope as my word is a bit brilliant: she is relentless in her pursuit of her passions. There are three main ways in which I hope to emulate the indomitable Ms. Knope this year.
Step 1: Jam on my planner
Ann: (filling out a survey for Leslie) Hobbies?
Leslie: Organizing my agenda. Wait, that doesn’t sound fun…jammin’ on my planner!
Leslie always has fifty thousand things going on in her life, yet she stays on top of them all. She can only do this with the help of her planner. Even though we never see one on the show, I can imagine that she has color-coordinated it with all sorts of amazing stickers, Post Its and accessories. She is successful because she is overzealously prepared. I need to be more organized, so one of my goals for 2017 is to use a planner religiously. I’ve invested in a Passion Planner and I’m using it to track appointments, habits and progress on goals. It may be only a couple weeks into the year, but I feel optimistic about this system and a more organized me.
Step 2: Connect to my community
“When you love something you don’t threaten it. You don’t punish it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first.” ~ Leslie
Leslie loves Pawnee and would do anything to make her community and the world a better place. This is one of the major reasons why I chose Knope as my word for the year. After the election, I was shaken and scared about the future of our country. Like a lot of other people, I felt helpless and spent a couple of days in shock. One of my only comforts that week was watching Parks and Rec. Leslie and company reminded me that there are good people doing great things in the world.
I’m taking a page from her book and looking for ways to do good—in my community and the world. I’m exploring volunteer opportunities in my small town to connect to like-minded people to make our voices heard. I may not run a government department, but I can make a difference. I want to be a light, like Leslie has been to so many.
Step 3: Rise up
“Who cares if they have more money? I have the most valuable currency in America: the blind, stubborn belief that what I’m doing is right.” ~ Leslie
She’s a force to be reckoned with. But Leslie faces adversity and challenges just like everyone else. The reason she is such an inspiring role model is because of how she meets those challenges: she rages then regroups and finds a way to either overcome her roadblocks or recalibrate her goals. She is never down for long—she harnesses her tenacity, energy and enthusiasm to rise up. Consequently, I want to be more like her.
For a long time during this past year I felt uninspired and dejected, like my spark had extinguished. I was navigating an existential crisis and unsure how to move forward so I sought help from a professional. For a while I felt like I would never emerge from the hole that was my new-found depression. But I am slowly finding my way. Channeling Leslie and using her as inspiration helps. While she’s a fictional character, there is truth in Leslie’s personality. Tenacity and enthusiasm are underrated character traits. I plan to use them as weapons in my own personal wars.
I’ll admit that my word for the year is unconventional.
When I told a friend about it, he laughed then said “that’s a little subversive isn’t it? Knope is really a lot of words—you’re supposed to pick one!” That’s the beauty of my word—I don’t mean it to be a spotlight. Instead it’s a spark that will light many fires in my life and I think Leslie would approve.
This post is part of our #OneWordSA series for January. Student affairs professionals are goal-oriented, change positive, individuals. One word mantras for 2017 are a great way to create focus in the new year. Find out what all kinds of pros are choosing as their #onewordSA this year. For more info, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series too!