My 3 words for 2020

Published by Sunil Uttam on

My 3 Words 2020 - Sunil Uttam

I got this idea of choosing my 3 words to guide my annual plans, daily choices, actions from Chris Brogan, who is an amazing guy I have been following for several years now.

The Context

As an entrepreneur, who is co-owning a business that is in the scale-up phase, my days are crazy.

Thus, at one end, I roll up my sleeves and work on ensuring consistent, high-quality operations.

And at the other end, I have to knuckle down and create systems from the learning I got from working in operations.

Most folks who have worked in operations know how the day (and sometimes the week) can get sucked into email responses, helping the teams, traveling to customer locations, calls and endless back to back meetings.

However, I realize that to scale up my business, we need to set systems, processes, and tools as the foundation of the business to make operations consistent and easy.

While Operations are about working around a Managers schedule

Creating systems are about following a Makers schedule.

Most times I straddle both roles in a single day.

Enter my 3 words

I use my 3 words to guide my choices and actions during the day. Keeping them in focus, before I pick up anything to do, helps me circle back to the IMPORTANT even if I have got sucked into the URGENT.

They are my guides to align my actions towards my goals this year.

Do I need to get on this call (is it helping me learn something new to help create an improved system)?

Is this project important now?

Do we need to fill this role in the next 3 months or can it wait?

The words may be different the next year, depending on my goals and the situations in my life.

How I choose my 3 words

I first choose my goals for the year, which constitutes the WHAT.

E.g. We would like to grow our business by 50% in 2020 and ensure that a bulk of that additional revenue is from USA based customers.

I then define a broad plan to achieve this, evaluate the current situation of the company vis-a-vis the goals and define 3 words to help me vet every action and decision and confirm it aligns with my goals. This is the HOW

How I use these words

In all honesty, in my past iterations with this exercise, I have mostly lost sight of my 3 words as the year progressed. The exigencies of the day consistently got the better of me.

In hindsight, I can say with a fair amount of conviction, that the results would have been different, had I stuck to reviewing my chosen words, daily.

In 2020, I have initiated a morning journaling practice (more about that in another blog), and I use that to review my 3 words as I plan my day.

My 3 words for 2020


Aligned to creating scalable systems to support the business and my personal processes to help me achieve more free time. Essentially, Simple, Repeatable, Documented and automated processes.


Develop strong personal processes that enable me to make power moves towards my goals (like reclaiming my mornings with 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time…). Essentially powerful Habits, aligned Routines combined with deep learning, research, and reading.


A neglected area in my life (as I mentioned, I tend to get caught up in exigencies :-)). This year, I would create space to integrate more family and friend time into my life at one end and building deeper relationships with partners and customers at the other end.

Put together

If I can help CODIFY systems, which are simple, repeatable, documented, I get the space to be CONSISTENT with my personal processes of learning, making power moves, maintaining my well being, which in turn supports me directly to reach out and CONNECT to people that matter to what I am building – my family, friends, and business associates.

What are yours?

I would love to hear from you about your chosen 3 words. Use the hashtag #my3words so that other people can find your share and learn from it.

Thanks for reading.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This post is in line with my anti advice policy, which is to share insights and learning from my life with my friends, associates and let them decide if and how to leverage this in their lives. I don’t have a fixed schedule to write, but I will attempt to write regularly. Surely it won’t be more often than once a week. I invite you to subscribe to my blog, connect with me and share your insights as well, so we can learn and grow together. 

Categories: Execution

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