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The One Word Umbrella Effect

| written by Tracee Persiko | 63 comments

Choosing a word for your year is no small thing. It requires all of you every day. Choosing a word is meant to be life changing for you. The hope is that in 365 days, you will look back and be able to say, “I am different.”

Maybe you are more like me and choosing a word seems overwhelming or even intimidating. I tend to see the big picture of my word and wonder how I will make a whole year!

Tackling our One Words for the year can seem overwhelming. Your One Word process is meant to be a walking marathon. Change is not instant nor does it just happen. Change takes commitment to working hard and risking discomfort.

All words pack a big punch and carry much weight. Looking at the word by itself can seem like taking on a major task. I want to encourage you to take the process in stride and don’t psych yourself out.

Our words can be applied to every area of life. The hope of our words is that they are life-changing. I want to help and encourage you to break your word down into categories. 

I am a visual person. I need to see my word on paper. I am also a person who needs structure. I have spent this week breaking down my word into some helpful categories. I call this the umbrella effect.

Each section of the umbrella is a different category for me to think and pray through the ways my one word impacts those places. My umbrella has three categories: God, Relational, and life.

Today, think about your word and what areas you want to focus on this year. There are no right or wrong categories. Play around with your umbrella and let us know what you come up with!

What would your umbrella look like?

Tracee Persiko is a Cross-Cultural Consultant for nonprofits and churches, Life Coach, Speaker, and Co-author of Inciting Incidents. She cares deeply about the hearts and stories of other people. When it comes to life, she lives it differently. Find her on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.


Patt Muich: My umbrella would say de vo tion :-) I want to devote myself to Him more, my family more and other people more. I look forward to it! Love, Patty Reply

    Tracee Persiko: So great! Can't wait to see how this word plays out for you! Reply

Melissa: Grace - Need, Giving, Serving - would be my umbrella - not necessarily in that order... Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Grace is no small word! wow! would love to hear how your process goes. Just from feeling the weight of being on both ends of grace, it's just plain hard. Cups up to you for taking on such a weighty word. Reply

      Melissa: I believe I will start with the basics of reading, When, Where, How, Why, What - all preceding the word Grace.... When Grace, Where, Grace, How Grace, Why Grace, and What Grace? This should be fun. Reply

Joyce Currey: Trust. Linked to faith. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: ouch! trust is such a hard word! What has kept this word on the surface for you right now? Reply

Amy Sue: Temperance is my word...My desire is that my first response (thoughts, words or actions) would be Spirit led and not flesh driven. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: self-control is a hard thing. I need to work on that with my words. ha! so interested to see how this word plays out for you. Reply

Helena Machado: Engery: to keep up that High energy from life, love and family. I want to keep it all day long. I sometimes find I get in a lull and I don't like that. Reply

Henrik Flensborg: My #ONEWORD365 is JOYFUL. The categories it encompasses are Health, Home and Business. The details of how my #ONEWORD365 will direct my being and doing in the three areas are not clear yet. But hopefully it will take me from semi-grumpy over content and all the way to joyful. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Joyful is a hard word! It takes such a conscious effort at first. Hoping you feel joyful and full before you know it in all areas of life! Reply

Debbie: Discipline: Spiritual, Physical, Mental Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Oh man! I am not a good disciplined person. Can't wait to see the big and small ways that this word shows up for you! Reply

Lori: Hope...it chose me rather then me choosing it...the day before I found this site that word kept popping up with everything I picked up to read or glanced at. So when I found this site I thought...Well guess this should be it since it was right in my face....Lol...the Lord works in mysterious ways. I understand why now. I had bought this large journal earlier in the month...not sure why with all the other ones I have...now I know why on this also. It was decorated as my "Hope" 2014 Journal yesterday...and many thoughts, scriptures, and quotes have already filled several pages. Just the sight of blank pages to be filled in has given me hope since I was a little girl. Looking forward to see where the Lord brings me on my journey with this word through the year. Hope :) it has more for me then resolutions...Lol...I know it will. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: I love that word! Such a small word that packs a big punch. Hoping you find the freedom of hoping every day in this season! Reply

    tbc0: Lori, may you be Surprised By Hope in 2014. I highly recommend the book of that name (whole title Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church) by N.T. Wright. I red it last year and believe it will take me a lifetime to absorb its implications. Reply

Kelly: "Joy," that's my word. I'm going to live for it in 2014. Reply

    Alece Ronzino: Love your word, Kelly! Here's to a joy-filled year! Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Joy is awesome. Joy packs a punch! Can't wait to see how this plays out for you! Reply

Carol McElhenny: My word Vision is to see the way God is different in each situation meeting me in my needs and growth. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: What a great perspective, Carol. I need some of that in my 2014. Really hoping you see Him more present and closer than ever this year. Reply

      carolmcelhenny: My word Vision comes from the title of the hymn "Be Thou My Vision". On my umbrella there will be many "be Thou" as each stanza of the hymn mentions more of what He will be for me If I let Him. Reply

Carol Horrobin: My word is REMAIN for 2014. Remain in me and I will remain in you. Reply

Alesia: I've struggled to come up with just one word because so many seem to apply. I finally decided on BECOME. I want to BECOME more accepting, BECOME more peaceful, BECOME more forgiving, BECOME more patient, BECOME happier. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: I like that word because it speaks to a process - it speaks to conscious effort. Hoping you find all of those things in becoming more of yourself as well this year! Reply

Brenda Smith: My word is Freedom. Freedom from......freedom to...... "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galations 5:1 Freedom from fear and worry, freedom to enjoy His daily blessings! Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Love this word. I have been thinking a lot about this word as well. SO much packed into this word - so many ways this word will play out this year. Hoping you find the freedom your heart is looking for this year! Reply

Shanique: My word is intentional. My umbrella would look just like yours! God, relationships, life. Reply

Gregoire B Siegel: My word is Subservient for 2014. Servant leadership is grounded in our service to others. As a Humana leader,I know that i can excel as a servant leader by increasing my role to help people. I will look to facilitate communication,be more empathetic to others problems,and empower them to take control of their destiny in a positive way. Reply

lindamarielofton: Flourish. Last year was a difficult year in my life. I learned a lot, but was not always aware of the wisdom I was gaining. If I were to create an umbrella, the words I would need would be body, soul, spirit, God and community. Reply

Sharon: My word is BELIEVE!! I want to believe in my relationship with God, in my relationships with others, in who I am and what I can accomplish, in my dreams and that I can see them come true. BELIEVE!! Reply

Andrea: Peaceful I want to feel peace within myself. I want others to feel peace around me. Reply

    Andrea: With peace, I hope to feel the CALM in my life that has been missing for many years. With peace and calm comes happiness. I wish everyone PEACE. Reply

      Tracee Persiko: Peace is a huge need. Our world doesn't leave much room or freedom to embrace it. Life and God cease to be known without it. Praying for your exhale this year. Reply

Carol McElhenny: My word is Vision and I want to see clearly the things God says He is. Using the hymn Be Thou My Vision will break this word down for me to see my Father in ways I may not have seen before. I will take one thought at a time until I "see" that in action and then move on to another word in the hymn. It's all about Him. Reply

Cindy: I asked my two daughters what word I should choose. We agreed that 'accept' would be a good one to help me this year. I need to accept people and situations as they are and quit worrying about so many things. I need to accept that God will take care of problems if I just give them to Him. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: This one is hard. I love that your kids are in on it with you. What a cool opportunity to share life with them this year. Really hoping you feel more accepted inside and out as you journey through what this word looks like for you this year! Reply

Lisa @ The Meaning of Me: This is a great concept - and probably just the one I've been looking for. My word is Focus - and it was in 2013, too. But I think my focus (on focus) was far too broad and so I got bogged down in it and found myself really just too directionless to make any real progress. So I'm re-enlisting with Focus this year and using the umbrella idea you have here to shape and define that by categories may be just the thing I need. Thanks! Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Can't wait to see what comes into focus for you this year! what a cool word! Reply

vcarr3178: I have chosen thrive and I love the idea of the umbrella! My umbrella would say fitness, faith, business, relationships. But I have a feeling my umbrella will grow as this year goes on! This is where my main focus is right now. Reply

Patti: My word is Listen. I find myself so busy or so directed in what I'm doing or where I am going- I couldn't listen or hear is God is asking me to do or say something. I want to hear His voice and need to be purposeful IF i am going to hear. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Good one! so essential to figuring out what and where is next for you. Listen is so huge for relationships and just knowing his heart for you. Hoping you find him more by listening this year! Reply

Natalie: My word is Step Out. God has done incredible things through out 2013. He taught me that I CAN and should do more, want more and plan more. I should hope more and act on my faith in Him more. And He never failed to be there and have me succeed, be provided with what I need, be a witness of Him when I didn't plan. So 2014 is the year when I want to step out even more! To do more! To achieve more. For God and with God. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Stepping out is no small thing. takes a lot of courage to risk stepping out. Hoping you see that you have more heart and strength then you thought possible this year! Reply

Donna Godfrey: My word seems strange in so many ways.......it is nature. I draw closer to God through stopping to look at what is around me.....to enjoy the music nature makes or how awesome it is to sit and watch a Pialated Woodpecker. or see all the shades of green on mosses around me.....I pray, I sing and than I come back in to my mother who is 91 with dementia and can wait on her with joy and be a better wife to my wonderful husband who is on disability and than it is time for me to journal and create with my hand sewing.....So Nature is indeed a part of my life I need to expand. Reply

    Melissa: Beautiful meditation... thank you ... Reply

    Caryn Christensenn: I love the reason behind your word NATURE, Donna! Beautiful. Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Nature is amazing. I so get seeing and knowing his presence more in nature. I used to hike all the time when I lived in CO. Honey to my soul was being in those mountains. Reply

tealadytammy: loved this post. The visual was great idea for my mind to grasp. Reply

Christina: I have chosen Growth. I want a breakthrough! Reply

    Tracee Persiko: That makes me cringe a tinch for you! Way to choose a challenging one! Reply

      Caryn Christensenn: It's a word that been on my heart since October Tracee. I'm excited to see how learning to steward well all that God has entrusted to me, will positively affect those within my sphere of influence! Here's why I chose the word STEWARD...http://www.stateoftheheartliving.com/just-one-word/ Reply

Caryn Christensenn: Hi Tracee! I'm excited to participate in One Word 365 and anticipate a great year. My word is STEWARD and it appears as though I'm the only one whose chosen this word so far! Reply

    Tracee Persiko: Good one! You can teach the rest of us how to handle our stuff and gifts well! ha! Hoping you see Him in powerful ways this year! Reply

    lindamarielofton: I found your word both interesting and challenging. Then, lo and behold! Look what turned up in my email today -- http://bit.ly/1lNSgcp Reply

onlyinyourwillKaren: I am new to this concept of one word as a substitute to resolutions. I have enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts and goals. I stopped making resolutions a few years ago because they were the same for over four decades!! This just ended up being a source of discouragement and self reproach. Even as I started thinking about one word to be "my word" I was considering words like discipline and balance etc which were making me up tight. I have spent the last couple of years trying to find acceptance and satisfaction in who I am, and who I am In Christ, and I didn't want to set specific goals because I was afraid of the damage that results when the goals are not achieved. I was sitting in Church Sunday morning and I had my answer. The worship team was leading us in the song "You Shine". It speaks of The Lord being greater than our trials and fears...."You shine brighter than the brightest star, your love, purer than the purest heart, your love filling us with courage and strength to follow You ..." I thought maybe SHINE would be my word for 2014. I want to know the Lord more and in knowing Him, His Light will fill me and in turn, I can shine. To shine is to emit or reflect light. It is a positive concept rather than condemning or burdensome. It can, on one level be something that can lead to being my better self, or even my "best" self ( which is definitely a more positive approach to the self discipline and order I have forever longed for in past years) but on another, perhaps deeper level it will be a year of spiritual enlightenment. Since choosing the word shine, verse upon verse has jumped out at me in Scripture and songs etc.etc. I am totally excited to see what the year of SHINE brings! Reply

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