My 3 Words for 2010: An attempt to add focus with fluidity

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to live a life, and have such a positive impact on the world, that my grandkids kids would know who I was.

Have you ever stopped to figure out what your great grandparents did? I bet Martin Luther King Jr.’s greatgrand kids know. That’s the kind of impact I want to have.

For over 20 years, probably even before I was 16, I’ve been working on my life mission. Stephen R. Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was a huge help, as was the book First Things First.

Every year I go through my MagnetGoals goal setting process. I find this process really helps me dream up dozens of ideas while allowing me to focus on a few.

I’ve also grown fond of choosing a “theme” for the year. I think of it as a sort of “theme” music. When Luke Skywalker’s theme gets played, you know he’s about to appear on stage. It reminds you about the character. So too with the theme for the year, it brings you back to what you thought the year would be about.

Last year, I came across Chris Brogan’s idea of summing your goals up in three words and I did my own three words for 2009.

I love the process of doing it! And I love sharing these with my friends that are doing it too.

As I processed this year’s three words, I noticed that they have the wonderful benefit of spilling into various areas of my life. They fit in my family relationships, work expectations, and in my fundraising coaching & training business.

Here are my three words for 2010:


By nature, I’m a do-it-yourself kind of guy. I have high expectations and often choose to just get projects done on my own. I didn’t like group projects in school because I felt I’d have to carry more of the load to be sure to get the grade I wanted to get.

But being a solo act can severely limit my impact on the world. Chris & Julien talk about “armies” in Trust Agents but I don’t have a track record of building such a large group of people.

I toyed with the idea of “platoons” as a building step to “armies.” But that too seemed a bit grandiose and a bit too regimented.

So I’m choosing to focus on ensembles . I like the artistic fluidity of the word. Ensembles can be duets, trios, quartets, an occasional quintet—whatever it takes to accomplish a particular goal. This will include ensembles for various fundraising projects at work, those for FundraisingCoach trainings or joint ventures; and even family projects.


I feel most alive when I’m teaching. So I want to do it more in 2010.

This includes conducting fundraising trainings, giving keynotes, teaching classes, leading small groups for church, writing blog posts, reading a book with my wife, and learning along side my kids. Teaching is a core part of my DNA. And I love that I’ve been created in a way that people actually learn from what I teach.

I love that the Hebrew word for teach yadah (to cause to know) is the intensified form of the word “to know,” ie. learning. I believe the safest and best teacher is the one who’s committed to life-long learning. Learning is a journey, not a destionation.

In 2010, I want to find ways to do more of both.


I want to treat my family as well as I treat my donors and my employer. (My wife wants that too. 🙂 )

“Clan” symbolizes that for me. It speaks of looking out for one another and binding together in a cohesive unit.

My kids are at an age when they still want to talk to me. If I’m not careful, I could totally miss this window of opportunity. I don’t want to be so full of myself that I don’t take the time to be with them.

Even after 15 years of marriage, my wife still enjoys hanging out with me and teaching with me. I don’t want to squander that either. (Plus, I want to be with her for many more decades!)

I envision this including keeping my laptop closed a bit more than in the past…even choosing to close it when one of my kids starts chatting.

As I was writing this, my 10 year old son stood by me to talk. Yep. This laptop screen went down. 🙂

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and He's also the executive director of and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to

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