Rachel’s Word SHIP

I spent 2019 with the one word SHIP. 

This was the second time (in a dozen years of choosing words) that I managed to pick one I felt compelled to spell for people after saying it. I was afraid it sounded like I was cussing! 

The first word I constantly spelled for people, if you’re interested, was PERIPEITY and I outline my crazy year with that word in chapter six of My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word.

SHIP had a two-fold meaning for me this year. The first meaning came from business guru Seth Godin’s notion of “shipping.” Godin uses the word “ship” in reference to sending, distributing or publishing something.

It’s putting a project out into the world versus continuing to plan it, work on it, research it some more, tweak it, but never actually “ship it” out to your readers or customers.

This call to ship gets at the growing fear creative and entrepreneur types often feel as they approach the completion of a project, or the launch of the thing they’ve been making.

We get scared. We worry it isn’t ready. 

What if people hate it? 

What if they don’t buy it? 

What if they give it a one star review on Amazon? 

So we stall. We keep tinkering with it. Or we start a completely new project, and never ship the thing we spent months making.

Terrific ideas, incredible projects, moving songs, best-sellers, good works and marketable products all fail to grace the world because their originators say, “it needs more work,” “it’s not perfect yet,” “this isn’t original enough” or “this trend could be on the way out and I should wait for the next one.”  

We don’t ship due to fear and perfectionism.

So for me this year my goal was to get it (whatever it might be that week) to a place of quite good but not perfect, and then SHIP it.  

I’m helping people ship their books.

A specific project I wanted to apply this to was launching my book coaching service. I’d been apprenticing under a top book coach for a year. I’d been working with clients landed via word-of-mouth and referral. But I had not “hung out my shingle.” 

In today’s world that involves making a hundred decisions about names and logos, packages and prices, software and systems. It means buying a domain and creating a website. And a marketing plan — ahem, I hadn’t even told my social media followers about it.

So I purposed to create this business and publish a website for it in 2019. And I did it. Here it is all shipped: www.novelconfidence.com YAY.

The second meaning of SHIP came from Proverbs. I always choose a Bible verse that ties with my word for the year. In 2019, it was a line of poetry describing a woman of quality: 

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 

Proverbs 31:14

This verse indicates the woman is well resourced and resourceful. 

If you were “bringing your food from afar” in those days you were doing more than surviving. She wasn’t just subsisting, living on whatever grew in her yard, she was going down to the trade routes and buying delicacies and spices from Egypt, India and China.

She was trying new things. She was making the effort to use and enjoy what was available. In addition to leeks and lentils, she was enjoying chicken curry and Szechwan beef, sipping green tea and spicy chai. 

She was enjoying what God’s world had to offer

Every time I get intentional about enjoying food, music, art, or the beauty in the world it softens my heart. Every time I savor what is good, it makes me appreciative and thankful. It makes me praise.

I wanted to do more of that in 2019, and I did – including a first-ever family trip where we ate new foods, gazed at stunning works by Van Gough, and savored our way through the landscapes of The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

This woman in Proverbs wasn’t keeping these flavors to herself, she was bringing it to her family and those fortunate enough to be invited to her table. She resourced those around her, enriching their lives. 

There were lots of other ways and days that SHIP pushed me to completion, over the finish line, and helped me celebrate that accomplishment no matter how small.

In 2019 the word SHIP called me to rise and work diligently to provide well for my family and others.

It also called me to sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

No endless tinkering without shipping, or without stopping to enjoy life outside of my work. This word this year helped me forge a path to both profit and praise.

I can’t wait to see what your word for 2020 is, so SHIP it by posting on this site. 

Happy 2020 – Rachel Olsen