Is your New Year’s resolution still intact? Don’t worry… Mine isn’t either.

What about the word you assigned to 2022? Are you following through on its purpose? Huh? You didn’t assign a word to the year? Well, if you haven’t done so, you should.

Assigning a single word to an entire year may seem like a trivial thought, but countless people swear by its effectiveness. To the believers, a “Word of the Year” provides clarity and focus — a significant target to help balance every decision you make.

But, with all the words available, what word should you select? Is there a wrong choice? Great questions. When sifting through the options, consider the following three questions: What do I need (not want, but need?). What is in my way? What has to go? The answers of these questions will provide you with a sense of direction to ensure your word perfectly fits what matters most.

Perhaps you’d like to grow your personal and professional network. To do this, you must force yourself to overcome your introverted social tendencies. Maybe it’s time to swap out a night on the couch reading a novel with a monthly book club meeting. In this case, perhaps your word of the year is “Connect.”

Engineers’ Explanations  

In this issue, we offer up our annual CEO Roundtable Q&A. This discussion focuses on numerous topics, including the positives and negatives of the COVID-19 pandemic, predictions as to what the future of engineering may hold, and much more.  

Additionally, we asked engineers to select their words of the year.  

For Darin Anderson, chairman, and CEO of Salas O’ Brien, that word is "Opportunity."  

“As a company, we have the opportunity to continue our steady growth and to share the benefits of that growth with our team through our employee ownership model,” he said.  

On the heels of the COVID-19 marathon, Keith Esarey, president of McClure Engineering, chose Exhaustion.  

“If I had to pick a single word to describe the climate right now, it would be exhaustion,” he said. “We are moving into our third year of the pandemic, and it is still impacting us, our clients, and our employees on a daily basis. The stress on the workers, not only due to changes and impact to our projects but also their personal lives, is apparent. They're doing everything they can, but you can just see it grind them down.”

Rick Hombsch, engineering market sector leader, HGA, selected a more proactive word: Execute.  

“You are only as good as your last project,” he said. “This speaks to everything above: recruiting and retaining talent, taking care of your team, collaborating with other firms, continuing to grow the business, etc. Your workforce is you.”

Check out that article to see what words other engineering leaders chose and why.

What’s Your Word?

A cardholding member of the practice-what-you-preach club, my word for 2022 is Grow. I’m aiming to grow as a father, setting strong examples for my 8- and 10-year-old boys as they continue their journeys into adolescence. I’m striving to grow my faith and strengthen my connection to my lovely wife of 13 years. I’m hoping to grow my physical abilities through consistency at the gym. I’m thriving to grow my knowledge of the built environment by learning more about the engineering industry that’s given me so much these last three years. I’m yearning to grow my community through connections made at conferences and via social media because success is oftentimes defined as much on who you know as it is on what you know.   

On this journey, I’m sure to stumble. When that occurs, I’ll have this column (and you!) to help guide me back in the proper direction.  

So, have you chosen a word for this year? If so, what is it, and why exactly did you choose this word? How does this choice further propel your firm and/or career? Send me an email and share your answers. Let’s hold each other accountable.  

If you haven't, why not? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, right? A life without goals is like a race with no finish line; you're just running in place on the road to nowhere. Figure out where you’re headed, and put the pedal to the metal.