Every year, I pick a Word of the Year to guide my thoughts, actions, and reflections. Past words of the year have been:




This year, I’ve chosen a phrase, not a word… my words for 2023 are WHAT IF?

What if everything worked out OK?

What if I have more choices than I think I have?

What if there’s a different solution to this problem?

What if I can’t anticipate the outcome?

What if I change course, change plans, change my approach?

What if I’m able to get through my whole To Do list?

What if I trust the people around me?

“What if” certainly can take a negative spin: What if the worst happens? What if things don’t work out? But, even if there’s a negative outcome to any situation, problem, or relationship, asking the “What if” question still is a good thing, because “What if” is about EXPANSION, not contraction. “What if” opens up possibilities and lets the chips fall where they may. “What if” reminds me (and Lord knows I need reminding!) that I am not in control. There are a million factors that are out of my control, and all I can do is do my best. “What if” gives me permission to fail and permission to succeed.

I also wonder how my nonprofit clients could benefit from asking “What if.” What if we didn’t do it the same way we always do it? What if we stopped doing something that clearly is not working? What if we forge a new partnership, or let go of an old one? What if we got all the money we needed — how would we move forward from there?

Wishing you all good things in 2023, and hoping you find moments to lean into some What ifs!


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