The Simple Life

One Word 2020

Did you know one word can change your life? It may seem crazy, but I swear it’s true. Let me tell you how.

In 2019 I began reading and following the works of Jon Gordon. In fact I read an entire set of his books as part of my reading list last year. Mr. Gordon is a renowned author and speaker who addresses topics centered on leadership, culture and teamwork. As I poured over his works, I came across a book written by him and his friends Jimmy Page and Dan Britton titled, “One Word That Will Change Your Life.”

Tod Meisner One Word

That’s a pretty bold hook and makes you think that a universal word is all we need to transform our life. However, the topic is a little more nuanced. The authors found one word could be a driving force for people each year. No detailed goals. No wish lists. Just one word. That word should be different for everyone. It should be personal to you and help guide your values and beliefs.

I’ve written about my desire for a simple life before. By focusing on what truly adds value to my life, I’ve been able to clear the clutter from my mind (and closet) and focus on progress, NOT perfection. My list of goals is simple and focused, with action items and check points for me to stay on track. This helps me prioritize what matters to me personally.

My One Word

Despite still having a list of goals, I have once again chosen my “one word” for 2020, and my word this year is “Expand.” The simple power of this word will have an impact on six dimensions of my life – mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial. Simply put, the one word “sticks” for me in a lot of areas.

My one word for 2020 is “Expand.” I want continue to push myself in 2020 and get out of my comfort zone. I was able to have the best year of my professional life in 2019 by expanding, and I want to be even more intentional about it in 2020.

Tod Meisner One Word

“Expand” could mean something different to everyone. For me, “expand” can mean a few things. It can range from running a longer distance, speaking to more students, choosing broccoli over beef and embracing the discomfort that precedes growth. 

In 2019, my one word was “service” it allowed me to multiply the time and money we are able to give. Giving to others fills me with a sense of purpose and better aligns my every day actions with my core values and beliefs. By expanding on those areas and many other, my 2020 will be my most fulfilling year yet.

Picking Your One Word

It’s easy to pick your one word. You must first have clarity and focus in your decision. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past. Then, deciding on the word is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Identify the person you want to become
  2. Identify the characteristics of that person
  3. Pick a word that helps you become that desired person

Tod Meisner One Word

Before you embark on this journey, a subtle warning: Don’t be surprised if living out your “one word” feels unnatural and awkward at first. Remember, the reason you want to focus on this word might be due to the fact that this characteristic may not currently be present in your day-to-day life. Give it some thought. Also, give yourself time and stay with it.

It’s as easy as following the above steps and then deciding on your one word for 2020. By focusing on one word and setting realistic goals in 2020, you will begin to believe in yourself like never before. You will be on your way to becoming the best version of yourself and your life will be changed before you know it.



A proud ESFJ and Nurturer, I’m a challenger of people. I remain deeply concerned about the relational health and harmony of my teams. I am committed to protecting values and principles while understanding how certain actions, behaviors and initiatives affect people. Let's connect on Twitter: @todmeisner