What is Your One Word for 2016? Mine is Rich and It’s Not About Money.

About six weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Dan Britton, author of “One Word That Will Change Your Life”, speak.

I knew a bit about his book before I met him that morning. And honestly, I was skeptical.

We’ve all been jaded by goals, resolutions, best life now, type of stuff. At least I have.

So to have someone tell me they have an idea that can boil an entire year’s worth of plans, hopes and dreams into one word? Curious perhaps but certainly skeptical.

I walked into the room that morning guarded. And I left inspired.


Like most things, simple is typically better. That’s exactly what this book teaches. With a one word anthem setting the course for your year, the book argues it brings clarity, purpose and direction to your year.

I’ll let you read it for yourself, you can crank through it in less than an hour. And early January is a great time to do this. While we’re all more aware, more in tune, of the promise and hope of a clean slate.

Off and on the last six weeks, I’ve searched for my one word for the year.

I didn’t struggle with coming up with ideas. In quiet moments, they flowed but I didn’t feel clarity that I found it yet.

Dream. Story. Alive. Beauty. Till. Depth. Intimacy. Simplicity. Adventure.

All great words. None captured it for me though.

On December 30th, I was frustrated. Still wordless.

On New Year’s Eve, I was back to skeptical. This thing is stupid. Worked for him, not for me.

But I was on the hook because I had told Brooke and the kids about this concept a month ago. I even bought blank canvases for each of us to paint our words on for the new year. An awesome idea that Dan had done with his family for years.

So today, when we woke up, we asked everyone what their word was.

A few of us had it, a few were still struggling to articulate it.


Three kids had theirs nailed. The other two were close. Brooke and I didn’t feel it yet.

Rowan and I had to run to Hy-Vee to grab ketchup for the hash browns we made this morning. On the way, we talked about her word – kindness.

Sweet thing is already kind, but it’s a word she wants to be more aware of in the coming year. How she treats people, especially her sister Addi.

As she was talking, my word for the year hit me with the clarity I’d been begging for all these weeks.

“This is rich,” rolled off my mind’s tongue as I heard Rowan explain how her kindness can change the world.


My defenses shot up quickly. So pretentious. Too in your face. Too declarative.

But as I processed through it, and talked with Brooke about it when I got home, rich cemented as the word for my year.

And it doesn’t have a thing to do with money, well not much.

Being rich this year will mean, being rich in:

  • Vulnerability– displaying strength through weakness, pushing beyond the surface level comfort
  • Relationships – awareness of the beauty surrounding me in family, friends, colleagues, clients, neighbors
  • Experiences – spending money on memories not the material
  • Love – quick to offer love and quick to receive it easily, freely, uninhibitedly
  • Giving – life is best when you give it away for the benefit of others

Living a rich life, stepping further into my role in a much bigger story that’s unfolding. In the most unpretentious, in your face, money-hungry kind of way.

How about you? What word will define your 2016? Tell us in the comments.

If you are curious, here is a brief description of the ‘one word’ our family is choosing to own in 2016, in their own words:

  • Brooke – Committed: “Being committed reminds me to stick with it when it’s hard. Not shying away from seeing things through to the end.”
  • Kamden – Courageous: “Last night I prayed I would think of a word. I was brainstorming different words on a post-it note but none of them felt right. So then I went to bed, and I don’t remember the exact dream, but the word courageous popped into the dream somehow. Then I woke up this morning and it wouldn’t go away the whole time. This word will help me in school, adventures, friends, and sports.”
  • Addi – Patient: “When things don’t go my way, I need to learn how to be patient in things like sports, at school and at home.”
  • Rowan – Kindness: “Sometimes I’m mean to Addi and I want to be kinder.”
  • Silas – Loving: “I don’t know.” Awesome, guess I shouldn’t ask him while he’s buried in an iPad.
  • Henley – Grateful: “Graceful. Or grateful. Or generous.” She asked Brooke what generous meant and when Brooke said it means to be a giver, give things away, Henley said, “no, I don’t like that one.” She likely has no clue, but we’re hoping it’s a foundation setting type year.


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