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What Is Your One Word

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read

If someone asked you, what do you do, how would you answer? Can you describe it in one word?

The danger of our inability to describe our work in one word is the lack of clarity. And without clarity, the allocation of our most precious resource, time, will be decided based on demands.

What is your one thing?

So, do we say yes to 1,001 things because they all sounded interesting or exciting? Or do we say no to 1,000 things and focus on the one that truly matter?

The late Steve Jobs famously said:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

Being focused

For the past ten years I thought I had been incredibly focused. My focus was helping schools become great. However, what I failed to understand was that I was spreading myself too thin when I take on too many different areas to help them in.

When I heard the Entreleadership podcast in 2013, Casting the Vision with Dan Briton and Jimmy Page, I was drawn to the idea of streamlining your focus down to One Word.

On the book’s website, it explains the concept as follows:

One Word that Will Change Your Life will inspire you to simplify your life and work by focusing on just one word for this year. That’s right! One Word creates clarity, power, passion and life-change.

One word for the year

My one word for 2014 was to focus on “Habits”. Becoming more aware of it, cultivating new ones, and replacing ineffective or toxic ones. As I looked back on 2014, I was amazed by the number of new habits that were formed, including several that I dropped. But perhaps the critical success of my ability to cultivate more than a dozen good habits was because of a keystone habit that I dropped in 2013.

As such, with new habits in place, I was able to not only gain greater clarity, but also transformed my life in many ways. On hindsight, those habits were laid as foundation for my focus in 2015, which is “Do”.

Winning habits

While I wrestle with saying no to 1,000 things, I focused my attention on that one thing, which is to become an influencer with integrity.

And that has led me to create not only the book and also an online course to help you develop that winning habit so you can achieve your goals every time and enjoy ultimate freedom.

Will you do this one thing?

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.