Pass the Thesaurus. Searching for my one word.

So apparently the universe wants me to define myself in one word.

A week or so ago, I read a bunch of tweets of participants at the Blissdom Canadian Social Networking conference who were all a buzz from one of the sessions or speakers or something about defining their online identity/brand with one word.

And I thought, “how could anyone possibly define themselves in one word?”

I am not known for my brevity.

I have since seen  a couple blog posts (PhD in Parenting and Her Bad Mother) writing about defining their one word. They seem to be somewhat skeptical as well about being able to define yourself in one word… daunted even maybe by the concept. But they are both giving it a go. As are many others I assume. (Feel free to add any links to others ‘one word’ posts in the comments.)

And I thought, “how could anyone possibly define themselves in one word?”

So then I was reading a book I had chosen for a book report I need to do for my organizational behaviour class. It is about authentic and real conversations and it is a GREAT book. I recommend it to anyone and I love how it is applicable to both business and personal communication. Anyway, I was reading the book (Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott) and she too suggested that it was incredible worthwhile to go through the exercise of  trying to define yourself in one word. What she suggests is that once you have that one word, you need to also look at the times which you don’t exhibit that one word and therefore being unauthentic with yourself.

So, I figured I would give it a try. I asked my husband what he thought my one word with be. He said “organized” or “ambitious”. Both true, but neither rang with truth for me as ‘sum it all up’ kind of words.

So I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it.

You see, I think I have it on the tip of my tongue but lack the thesaurus in my head to actually come up with the word.

You know the word that is like inquisitive but not? When I think of inquisitive I think of someone who is interested in everything and is asking questions about everything they see and hear. But not necessarily deep questions. I see inquisitive more as someone who wants breadth of knowledge rather then depth of knowledge.

You know the word that is like ‘devils advocate’ but not so negative? Not arguing the opposite about every point for the sake of arguing, but rather interested in looking beyond the surface dialogue. Someone who questions not only the answer but the question in the first place.

You know the word I mean?

Because I don’t. But whatever that word is, I think it is my one word. It is the thread that runs through most of what I get really excited about both in my career and in my life. Going beyond the conversation that most people have. Wanting to blow up our understanding or our process or our plan and start from scratch to really ask ‘why?’

That’s my word.

Why was I not an English major?

Anyway. If you can come up with my one word, please share. Or if you think I am totally off base and you have a different word completely.. let me know that too!! I may still be deeply skeptical that one word can define us. But, I am starting to see value in asking ourselves the question. Really, this exercise is about reflection and really thinking about what is important to us. I think the goal is to then make sure that we are living our lives in a way that is consistent with what we really truly want out of life. And that’s the kind of exercise I can get behind.

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12 responses to “Pass the Thesaurus. Searching for my one word.

  1. Lisa Sunbury November 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I love reading your posts, because they always make me think. One word huh? Practically impossible for me to do. I’m struggling to keep it down to 140 characters on twitter. But let’s see, for you, maybe initiator, or inquiring, or thoughtful. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/thoughtful) What do you think of those ideas?

    • amoment2think November 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      Ha. Yeah, twitters 140 characters is a challenge for me too!

      Hmm, I like all those.. initiator seems to fit often, actually. Your suggestions also made me think about contemplative. Thanks for your thoughts!!!

  2. Cheryl November 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Great post. I am reading it to C as we drive and I think it will spark an interesting chat for us!
    Some thoughts on your one word:
    – conscious
    – aware

    I really think you’re on the right track and may have to resort to Google for more ideas.

  3. Her Bad Mother November 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I like inquisitive. I think that it captures ‘devil’s advocate’ and ‘curious’ and ‘asker’ and all sorts of things.

    But I like Annie’s WHY, too :)

  4. Christa November 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Love the artcile! 1 word …. so hard yet is sorta like an awakening of the mind, body, spirit & soul :)

    • amoment2think November 9, 2010 at 6:41 pm

      I love self-reflection. Which is why when I got over the idea of needing to define oneself in one word, I started to really get into this idea. You really have to think about what you are all about!

  5. Arwen November 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I came here from the Cheeseblog. Thought I’d suggest “probing” or “penetrating”, which are active – my sense is that your pursuit of the next level is active.

    However, those two words are just relatively fraught with Guy Connotation. Hm. Could be “searching”, “seeking”, or “interrogative”.

    • amoment2think November 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      Welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

      You know, I kinda like probing or penetrating too… but then, yeah, they are a bit too easily misinterpreted for me. But seeking is good!

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