I’ve never been a fan of new year’s resolutions — or as Andrea humourously referred to them last night, “reservations.” A few years ago I focused on goals I was hoping to achieve in the coming year. Last year I joined the my three words movement and selected three words intended to put focus on my personal and professional activities for 2011: create, connect and learn.

I had planned to benchmark myself against those words periodically during the year. I didn’t. As it turns out, though, I did pretty well subconsciously. It was easy. In many ways I’ve spent most of the last decade living by those words. I suppose you could say I cheated by selecting them.

Yet, you have to remain true to who you are.

So much so, that I’ve decided rather than reinvent myself with a new set of three words, I should use the original three as the foundation of my… well… development (for lack of a better phrase). If who I am personally and professionally is a bit of work in progress, so should be the model I build of myself.

The thought occurred to me yesterday as I considered the impact of my three words in the last year: I need to create a hierarchy of development. This means building on my progress rather than tearing it out and starting anew.

I wasn’t sure how to best pull it together. So I quickly drew something on my whiteboard. In the process I added a single new word, rather than three, above what I believe to be my foundation layer. (click the image for a larger view)

So, 2012 is the year I add EXPERIENCE both as a verb and noun: effectively applying experience and actively seeking to earn and gain from new experience to my hierarchy. This applies both personally and professional. It builds on my existing and ongoing creative work, connections and learning. By the way, the cluster of words on the right (understand, be understood, transform) is the structure I apply to my work in public affairs. Oddly, I sketched that as a top-down.

Thanks to Dan Roam for helping think about things visually.

Here’s to layering on experience to my hierarchy.

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