One Word for 2017


The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

Dr. Seuss

Last year my colleague and friend Jeanie Burke, President of Home Instead Senior Care Halifax, shared with me the concept of one word – choosing one word to express my resolutions/hopes/wishes/goals for 2016.

And it worked!

The word I chose for 2016 was … DARE. I wanted to push against some of my self-created boundaries, challenge some of my fears and knock on more doors simply to see what was on the other side. With the word DARE humming in the back of my mind, I: agreed to publish a second book; got meetings with senior VPs at one of Canada’s largest banks; did my first “keynote”;  hired a virtual assistant;  attended DreamForce in San Francisco (along with 169,999 other people – yikes!);  and the list goes on.

Throughout the year, every time I hesitated over an idea or potential opportunity I said to myself “DARE”  and amazing things happened. I’m pretty sure I’ll take my DARE mentality into 2017, so now I’m ready for a new word.

I’ve chosen LEARN. One thing that became crystal clear to me throughout my year of daring is … I need to know a lot more about a lot of things!

The word comes from Old English meaning “to get knowledge, be cultivated; study, read, think about” but also from the Proto-Germanic meaning “to follow or find the track”. So through my studying, reading and thinking, I’m aiming to identify my path for 2018 and beyond. In fact I’ll begin researching and then crafting a five-year plan, with the assistance of Stephanie Coldwell and the support of the Centre for Women in Business, on December 19.

If this idea of one word appeals to you, there are many sites dedicated to the concept. I believe the idea became a movement due to the writings and work  of Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page, and there’s more information at their website Get One Word.

What about you? Will you choose one word to guide your 2017? What will it be? Please take a moment to share in the comment section below.

This is my final post for 2016. I am grateful to each and every one of you. It means so much to me that you read and share this post. I wish each of you a delightful holiday season and an abundant 2017. And, in this season of peace and generosity, for all you’ve given to me, I’ve given to two organizations I admire … and which embrace the power of the phone. Details are below.

Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas.  Happy New Year. I’ll be back in your inbox on January 12th.

Red Bear Healing Home is a non-profit society registered with the Province of Nova Scotia (June 23, 2011) that assists people who are experiencing social and/or economic disadvantages in Nova Scotia. The Phone Lady supports the society’s Connect Voice Mail program, which provides a free phone number and voice mail to those experiencing poverty or homelessness. Participants can then be left messages for jobs, housing, health care, and so on.

Kids Help Phone provides anonymous and confidential professional counselling, referrals and information to Canadian youth aged 5 to 20. In 1992, Kids Help Phone chose to open its second regional office in Atlantic Canada. Today, as a community-based charity with a strong local presence, Kids Help Phone has a team of dedicated staff, volunteers, donors, and partners in Atlantic Canada who work tirelessly to support kids in the province as they develop resilience and reach their potential — creating stronger, healthier communities for everyone. Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 professional counselling and information service supporting young people’s mental health and well-being.




0 thoughts on “One Word for 2017”

    • IMPACT – what a great word, Steve. And it certainly happened for you! I’m very interested in this one-word theme. If you think of it, do come back and share your 2017 choice. And yes, alongside all words, may there be GRATITUDE.

  1. You gave me the word persistence years ago and I have been keeping this in the back of my head since then. I like your word DARE. I think I am going to use it in 2017! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • Oooo – I’m excited for you, Cathy. As I went back over my calendar for 2016, I was astonished at how many things applied to the word “Dare” – and they all worked out well too. So I hope you check in from time-to-time and let me know how your DARE is shaping 2017. And perhaps the words build on each other … you will move from PERSISTENCE to DARE, and I will move from DARE to LEARN. It sounds like a solid path towards success for both of us.

  2. My team have used this concept as well and my word for 2016 was ‘Create’. My team and I certainly did a whole lot of creating in 2016. Our word for 2017 is ‘Opportunity’.
    ‘a favorable juncture of circumstances’ sounds about right.
    Good luck with Learn and thank you for all your support in 2016, Merry Christmas.

    • OPPORTUNITY … a great word for you for 2017. There are so many opportunities within your sightlines. I am so excited for you. A pleasure working with you and your team, Glenn. Always! Look forward to hearing more about which opportunities you embrace.

  3. What a great idea Mary Jane! Now to pick a word. In 2016 I worked on dreaming big and asking for what I wanted – and I got it! Now as I’m launching my new business I’m working on more courage, discarding limiting beliefs and celebrating abundance. I’ll get back to you on my word! Merry Christmas, love your posts as always.

  4. I always pick a word for the year too. Learned that from Heather Plett. My word for 2016 was Self-Care and it has helped me a lot to balance my life.

    2017 will be CREATE.
    I feel like if have learned a lot and taken lots of classes and workshops but didn’t put it into clear action. (smile) I will take all of it and generate some fun and colourful creations.
    Happy Holidays and a year filled with good health and fun learning possibilities. Warmly, Jacqueline

    • I love that you chose SELF-CARE last year, Jacqueline. We should all be choosing that word before our health makes us choose it! I wish you well with CREATE. I’m sure last year’s work will support what you will create in 2017. I look forward to hearing and seeing more in the days ahead.


Leave a comment

What's The Phone Lady doing?


  • Remote learning experiences + one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (More info about this three-year program here.)
  • Team and individual coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • Remote half-day training for provincial tourism representatives
  • Remote seven-part sales training program for US-based SaaS
  • Remote webinar on accounts receivable communication for industrial-services company
  • Remote webinar on validation to college students in entrepreneur program
  • In-person workshop on job search skills for women in the trades
  • Remote half-day webinar on written correspondence to customers

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.