What’s Your Theme for 2016?


Do you want to achieve more focus in the new year?

Then pick a theme for 2016 – one word that sums up your goals.

Five years ago I chose my first annual theme.

I’d just wrapped up an intense time at work, designing and delivering our company’s first leadership development program for our CEO and CHRO. This labor of love involving long hours was all made worthwhile on the final day as the 30 participants shared how the program changed their lives.

In the community I was involved with our local education foundation, leading a refresh of our strategic plan to raise money for local schools. There was also a grade-level job for my daughter’s cotillion. And co-leading my son’s Cub Scout den. Plus a bevy of youth basketball, baseball and soccer games.

Not to mention all the related parenting responsibilities for elementary- and middle-school-aged children. (And here I’m bucking a trend the Wall Street Journal reported on, about people hiding their children’s ages. Why be that coy when our own ages, addresses and more are just a few clicks away?)

Life was full. Life was good. And life was a bit too much. Too many things to do and not enough time to do them in. Not enough time to enjoy life as it happened.

That’s why my theme for 2011 became thinning.

First was thinning my calendar. The clock ran out on some of my community commitments. No new volunteer roles made it onto my calendar for a while.

Second was thinning my surroundings. Well before Marie Kondo‘s fabulous The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I pared down possessions. Gave away things that were no longer needed. Said farewell to items that were no longer valuable.

Third was thinning my body. I started eating healthier foods and exercising more. Several months later, I was 50 pounds lighter. That called for more thinning of my wardrobe.

And it also created space for the new in my life. New clothes. New experiences. New perspectives. All by focusing on thinning and having less in my life so I could truly enjoy what I had.

From Thinning, I moved on to Building. Shining. Reinventing. Transforming.

Yes, this year’s theme was transforming. Having led so many change projects in my career, I’m fascinated by reinvention, revitalization and renewal.

My company was being acquired in an exciting, transformative deal. So I looked forward to how that would transform my career. And it did, opening up new opportunities in marketing.

Our family had transformational moments with our youngest child starting high school and our oldest teen visiting colleges, taking standardized tests and applying to schools.

We finally transformed our mid-century (e.g., outdated 1950s) kitchen with new cabinets, counters, appliances and flooring. And we’re installing more water-conscious bathroom appliances, here in drought-resilient Southern California.

My exercise routine was transformed with forays into stand up paddle boarding, cardio barre and yoga. Now if I can combine paddle boarding with yoga in the new year, I’ll be all set.

My community involvement transformed with leading inspiration for my chapter of National Charity League and serving on a mayor-appointed committee in my city.

And I wanted to transform my writing and social media presence by launching this blog on New Year’s Day 2015.

Did I transform as much as I wanted? Of course not. There’s always more to be done. But as I reflect on the last year, I’m happy to see progress. And that is what life is all about.

The theme for 2016?


Leaping into what exactly?

For starters, leaping into a new and exciting role at work. It melds skills I honed in corporate communications with newer skills in the areas of measuring brand health, advertising effectiveness and customer experience.

Next is helping my daughter prepare to go to college in the fall. To become more independent and make her own decision. To figure out how to create a good life.

And then there’s this blog. It’s still a work in progress. My focus is changing and evolving, along with my professional and personal life.

Writing this blog grounds me and gives me tremendous joy. It brings more flow into my life, where I lose myself in the ever-engaging process of thinking and writing.

My leaping theme is inspired by Tara Sophia Mohr and her book Playing Big.

Mohr writes, “A leap has you playing bigger right now, is simple, and can be completed in one to two weeks, gets your adrenaline flowing, and puts you in contact with the people/audience/customers/stakeholders you want to reach through your playing bigger.”

My first leap is posting to this blog twice a week, sharing it on social media and getting feedback. My other leaps? Those will be the subjects of future posts.

What’s your theme for 2016?

Published by

Caroline Leach

Hi, I'm Caroline Leach. I help people and organizations tell their stories. I'm a Marketing VP at AT&T, a former Communications VP at DIRECTV and an alum of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. This blog, How to Build Your Career through Social Media, shows you how to build your personal brand, advance your career and embrace your future. It helps you promote your employer and your network too. Opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged. I'd love to hear from you!

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