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December 22, 2011 by Speakers' Spotlight

Ten Great Words You Need for 2012!

Jim Carroll is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading global futurists, trends and innovation experts with a massive global blue chip client list. He helps transform growth-oriented organizations into high-velocity innovation heroes!  Jim has developed a global reputation for his unique presentations, and the impact they can have in helping organizations confront future trends. 

A few years ago, right around the approach of the New Year, I wrote a blog post that I called ‘10 Great Words.”

Since that time, this inspirational post has become one of the most heavily tracked pages on my Web site; it also happens to provide the structure for the closing of most of my keynotes on stage.

In a few other years, I’ve updated the concept with other lists of inspirational words, and the meaning behind them. It’s always been a good way for me to clarify to my readers, and to my audiences while on stage, what they should be thinking about if they truly want to embrace the future and be an innovator.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about the words that might inspire people as they go forward into 2012. I’ve obsessed over this for quite some weeks now. I just haven’t been able to hit the right note.

And then while at the gym yesterday, and right after an interview for a newspaper in Sarajevo, the words for 2012 hit me like a torrent. Here’s what I think you should be thinking about as we go into a new year :

optimism: 2012 promises to be a year of volatility – economic, political, social. I suspect it will be easy to lose sight of the future and maintain the focus that you really need to innovate and stay ahead of volatility. To do that, you need the right mindset — you need to be eternally optimistic! I am – I think that’s why I thrive in what I do. So make this your first step for 2012 — be grounded in optimism!

perceive: make sure you understand the trends that surround you and what they might mean, and how they can build your optimism. Take the time to perceive where we might be going in the future in terms of your career, industry, company or skill set, and think about what it means.

opportunity: to be optimistic with future trends, you must have a sense of how these trends will define your opportunity — the  third key word. The world is full of opportunity — if you choose to find it.

attitude: add those three thoughts together, and you get to the fourth key word. Your success in 2012 will really come from the attitude that will carry you forward. Remember, some people see the future and are filled with fear. Others see the same future, and see nothing but hope!

focus: of course, to maintain your optimism, you need to filter out the noise. You will be continually slammed by raging headlines related to the economy and all the other things that might go wrong. Stay focused – don’t lose track of your optimism; don’t let noise cloud the opportunities; don’t let volatility reshape your attitude!

passion: do these things, and you are well set for the future. If this is the case, then you need to make sure that you develop a huge amount of passion for the opportunities that you see, and the activities and actions you intend to pursue.

embrace: so you are in the right frame of mind, see the opportunity, and are filtering out the noise, and are excited about the future. Great — now you can embrace the opportunities for innovation and the future trends that surround you. Establish a goal, set a plan, and make sure you embrace this plan!

experience: this means that as you begin to focus on innovation, you’ve got to make sure that you experience a lot of things that you haven’t tried to do before. That means that you must build up a lot of experience in areas where you lack previous involvement. Experience is a great word — the more you build up, the better you are positioned for the future. I call it experiential capital – explore that concept throughout this Web site.

rebound: of course, if you are going to try to do some things you haven’t done before, you are bound to fail at a few of them. That’s where the word rebound comes in — pick yourself up, don’t focus on the failure, and try again!

thrill. In my original 10 words, I closed off with the word “enjoy.” On stage, it’s often my last comment, as in “if you follow these 9 words, you get to the 10th most important of all, and that’s enjoy!” And that’s why for 2012, I still think the same thing holds true — if you adopt these 9 words, you’ll get to the 10th most important word of all — you’ll enjoy the thrill, as I do, of embracing the future and being innovative.

Remember – some people see a trend and see a threat. Other seem the same trend and see nothing but opportunity.

We’ll see you throughout 2012!


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