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CEO Advisory

My Three Words – Report Card & Relevance

Team Meeting

At the start of 2023, I began another year of a practice I learned from Chris Brogan called My Three Words. These words should help you set your foundation, define your priorities, and help you do what it will take to achieve your goals. In 2022, my three words were purpose, clarity, and intentionality. They were core to everything I did that year, and I believe they served me so well that I picked three new words for 2023 – words that also happen to form a sentence. Since we’re just past the halfway mark of the year, it’s a good time to look at how they are helping me thus far, give myself some mid-term grades, identify where I need to up my game, and illustrate their relevance to all of us.


Yes, the first word is I. Not from the perspective that it’s all about me because it’s not. It’s simply about self-care and the importance of being as strong as I can be intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In my work and my personal life, I want to be of service to others and help them in any way I can. To do so, I must take time for myself to be at my best. 

Mid-Term Grade (B+)

Category Breakdown:

A- Intellectual – On one hand, I am reading, listening, and watching lots of content that’s related and unrelated to my Peernovation practice, and always seeking connections. To achieve an A, I need to be more consistent about how I approach it. 

B+ Physical – I started the year in good physical condition and have been consistent about working out, but my workouts need more creativity and intensity. All too often, it’s a “check off the box” activity, meaning I’m not losing ground, but I’m not seeing improvement either. My fitness level drives my energy and self-confidence, so my commitment to better workouts starts today.    

A- Emotional – I have wonderful family, friends, and clients who are not judgmental, and they help me keep everything in perspective—a true gift. I should lean on them even more, and they would agree.    

C   Spiritual – My biggest struggle by far. I don’t take nearly enough time to be still. There are restorative and reflective gifts here that I am not realizing. Borrowing one of my words from 2022, I need to be more intentional about it. I’d be grateful if I could even improve my grade to a B by year-end.


Mid-Term Grade (A)

So, this is where public self-assessments become tricky. My overall grade regarding passion and love for my family, friends, clients, and work is an A (in my view). The reason, however, is less to do with me and much more with the world surrounding me. My gratitude and appreciation for all of it involve my being clear in words and actions about how much I love the people around me and the work I am afforded the privilege to do. My advice to myself between now and year-end is to keep my foot on the gas in this category.  


Mid-Term Grade (A-) 

It’s the last of my three words and the end of the statement, yet it’s what my three words are all about. I encourage understanding the needs, aspirations, and goals of others with an all-new level of specificity. The better your understanding, the more you can help. Conversely, the more clearly that other people understand what you want, the easier it is for them to help you themselves or connect you with others who can. 

My two areas of improvement here lie in caring enough to ask questions that cut beneath the surface and having the discipline to avoid making assumptions that keep me from asking those questions. We can easily ask a question, hear a response, and assume the “why” behind that response. You’ll be amazed how many times our assumptions are wrong when we take the time to ask. Care enough to ask.


My Three Words Report Card is less about sharing my individual progress and more about being as personal and specific as I could be about how you could employ a similar practice. Whether you identified your own three words at the start of the year or not, it’s a great time to reassess – to double down on your strengths, shore up your weaknesses, and make the best of 2023 while you still can. It’s certainly not too late to select three words to guide you for the year’s second half.

As a nation, the United States just celebrated its 247th birthday. What better time to ponder the future and make our aspirations as a country and a global citizen clear? Now is not the time to either ignore our history or dwell on it; it’s a time to learn from our past with an eye to the future. Upon reflection, it’s clear that our greatest moments were born of love and community. It’s who we are at our best. Each of us can do our part to help our nation be at its best far more often.

How about a little more I-Love-You in our lives? It’s a start.    

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Advisory - My Three Words – Report Card & Relevance
Leo Bottary
Leo Bottary is the founder and managing partner of Peernovation. He is a sought-after thought leader on Peer Advantage and Peernovation, emerging disciplines dedicated to strategically engaging peers to achieve personal and organizational excellence. A popular author of three books, including Peernovation: What Peer Advisory Groups Can Teach Us About Building High-performing Teams (Archway; October 16, 2020), he is also an author, keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and thought leader on the topic of peer advantage.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) (ABD) in Organizational Leadership Studies at Northeastern University.
M.A. in Strategic Communication & Leadership at Seton Hall University.
B.A. in Political Science and German at Jacksonville University.

Books by Leo Bottary:
Peernovation: What Peer Advisory Groups Can Teach Us About Building High-performing Teams (Archway; October 16, 2020).
What Anyone Can Do: How Surrounding Yourself With the Right People Will Drive Change, Opportunity and Personal Growth (Routledge; September 3, 2018).
The Power of Peers: How the Company You Keep Drives Leadership, Growth & Success (Bibliomotion; March 22, 2016).

Leo Bottary is a member of the External Advisory Board (EAB) for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.