At a loss for words, take action instead

Every new year, in lieu of resolutions, I choose a word that sets an intention for the year ahead – a sort of guiding star. I spend some time thinking about what I can foresee that the year will hold by way of challenges and opportunities, and I pick a word that I think might serve me well a navigate my way through it all. 

In 2019, I chose “listen,” which helped tremendously as we moved forward with plans for the development of new teams at the Foundation. Last year, I chose “light,” which turned out to be far more useful than I anticipated.

(Ironically, in a piece I wrote in January last year, I noted that I almost chose “gathering.” That word took on a very different meaning for us all as we substituted our usual gatherings with virtual ones.)

This year, here I sit at the end of January, and still, I have not found the right word as I head into 2021. I have come up with lots of possibilities, but so far, no clear winner.

Just as I caught myself feeling a little disappointed, I stumbled upon a quote that caught my eye while scrolling through social media. “Remember: Actions over words,” it said.   

Now, I am not suggesting that we find all of life’s wisdom this way, but I also don’t reject sound advice in any form.

I immediately reflected on the number of times in 2020 that I expressed to someone how grateful I am for the work I do at the Foundation, which allows me to do something in the face of challenges we encounter.

That is what philanthropy offers to each of us. When problems arise, solutions emerge as well. Often, what is missing are the resources to connect the two. Through philanthropy, we can make those connections, and therefore, take action to improve the world around us.

The word of the year will come to me. It always does. In the meantime, I invite you to join me this year in taking philanthropic action together. We are ready.