What One Word Would You be Willing to Tattoo?
Since I was a teenager, I thought about getting a tattoo. My father, a physician, would not so subtly leave articles around the house about people having terrible allergic reactions to tattoos and with a raised eyebrow and commanding voice suggested that could be me.
Over the years, I’ve thought about my potential tattoo and even spent some time on Google checking out designs. The problem was, everything I that caught my eye was someone else’s, and none felt like a perfect reflection of something that I was willing to wear for a lifetime.
Recently, my interest in tattoos has come to the surface again. (Sorry, Dad). I began to wonder if there was an image, word or phrase that I wouldn’t grow tired of in a few months or even a few years.
What One Word is Your Tattoo Word?
It’s powerful to have a word or phrase to set your intention for the year ahead… or an event or any moment in your life. In the past month, I’ve read some impactful pieces from Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter on her three words for the year and Jon Mertz of Thin Difference on his words of intention and action.
Do you have a word for the year ahead?
What if there was a single word for your life and leadership that could transcend the next 12 months and guide you on your path?
Moreover, how would it help you or change you in powerfully positive ways?
Finding Your Forever Word – Your “Tattoo Word” for Your Life and Leadership
The concept of forever feels impossible in a world where everything is temporary. Our average human attention span is somewhere around 8 seconds. The average marriage length in the USA is somewhere between 8 – 12 years. The lifespan of your next tweet? It’s around 18 minutes. A tattoo? Till death do you part (or laser).
Don’t worry. I’m not going to come to your house and drive you to go get your tattoo. But what if…
What do you love?
Who do you love?
What part of me do you need to honor?
What do you need to call forth in my life and leadership?
What part of you do you want to share with the world?
Who are you?
What drives you?
What do you need to remember and you too easily forget?
If you sit with these questions, ideas will start to swirl and take form. I promise.
You may be thinking, “I get a word for the year, but could there really be one for the next 50? Come on.”
I’ve been coaching long enough to know that what people need today, and who they are, evolves over time and well, ink certainly doesn’t. The concept of a forever word or tattoo worthy word is a big one.
In 2014, my word was play. I wanted to let go of stress and have more playful experiences. Am I glad I don’t have the word “play” tattooed on my butt or anywhere else? You bet.
In the last few months I accepted that my ‘forever’ word was within me and not on Google or in the plethora of cool tattoos on Pinterest like a needle in an enormous haystack. Instead of looking endlessly at designs, I closed my laptop and sat with the questions to discover the one word I needed with me 24/7 365 and beyond.
It hit me. I had my answer.
It’s what I have needed to do my whole life (even when I’ve resisted) and will continue to do for the rest of my days.
To me “embrace” simultaneously accepts where I am today and gives faith and courage for the journey ahead. It lets me mindfully love what’s present while still pushing me to change and grow. Moreover, it is the perfect reminder to embrace others for who they are and where they are in this moment too instead of getting annoyed or frustrated that they’re not meeting my subjective bar.
Truthfully, embracing is not something I’ve always done well but know, that to live a life of meaning, and not only of longing or regret, but it’s also what I most need to do.
Yup, my word, my forever word, my tattoo word: Embrace.
What one word do you believe in so strongly you’d be willing to get a tattoo?
Let’s freeze for a moment – I have not gotten inked. Still, I’ve started carrying that word with me everywhere I go – in my wallet on a piece of paper. Yeah, I totally get that’s not permanent, but it’s a start.
You don’t need to jump onto the chair and get inked tomorrow either but knowing that word that you need to and want to carry with you for all of your days is powerful.
So, what's your tattoo word?
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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