Chief – Executive – Officer


2024 will be my third year of restarting a practice introduced by Chris Brogan over a decade ago. Brogan, Chief of Staff to the CEO of Appfire, began a practice in 2006 that I’ve always admired. It’s called My Three Words. Chris describes it this way: “The My Three Words idea is simple. Choose three words (not 1, not 4) that will help guide your choices and actions day-to-day. Think of them as lighthouses. ‘Should I say yes to this project?’ ‘Well, does this align with my three words?’” The three words should be specific to you and your upcoming year aspirations. 

Ways to Approach My Three Words

When I renewed this practice at the start of 2022, I chose Purpose, Clarity, and Intentionality. Last year, I took a different approach, selecting three words that form the sentence: I love you. “I” speaks to the importance of self-care, recognizing that I can be more valuable to others by taking care of myself first. “Love” refers to having a passion for my family, clients, and craft and being more intentional about demonstrating love in words and deeds. “You” involves my doing a better job of understanding the goals and aspirations of others as precisely as possible.

Last year, to demonstrate that my three words do not simply serve as a new year’s declaration, I wrote a piece last July for CEOWORLD titled My Three Words – Report Card & Relevance. I gave myself a B+ in self-care (including a category breakdown), an A in passion for my family, work, and craft, and an A- in better understanding the goals and aspirations of the people in my life. Expressing publicly how I performed against my commitment kept me focused on living those words instead of simply declaring them.

My Three Words for 2024

The three words that will guide me in 2024 will be Reflection, Intention, and Invention. I am announcing my three words at the end of 2023 because I want to begin the reflection process now. It’s a time to see how far I have come instead of lamenting how far I still have to go. It’s a process of tapping into how much I appreciate everyone and everything in life and continuing to serve others to the best of my ability.  

Once I do that, I can identify my intentions more precisely and then outline what I can do to be more intentional about achieving my goals on a daily and weekly basis. Last year, with my team and clients’ help, I brought several innovations to Peernovation. This year, I want to challenge myself to invent as well as innovate. “Invention is the creation of something new, while innovation is the process of improving or finding new uses for existing creations.” It’s a lofty goal for next year, but with everyone’s help, we’ll find a way.

Your Three Words

As a CEO, you have lots of options. Pick three words that build on one another, three that may be unrelated but serve as pillars for what will guide you for the coming year, three words that form a sentence, or consider another option that works best for you. One idea would be to lend your meaning and values to the words Chief-Executive-Officer. Consider how you define “Chief” from a leadership perspective, how you carry yourself as an “Executive” as a model for your direct reports and associates, and the responsibility you have to your stakeholders as an “Officer” of the company. Food for thought and action as you begin the new year.


My final CEOWORLD Magazine article of 2023 is designed to serve as a bridge to 2024. My three words to the team at CEOWORLD are: Thank you all! While the calendar indicates a new year, it’s just a new day. Once you identify the three words you will use to guide you, whether today or any other day, it will be your day to be reflective, intentional, and inventive.

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.

Written by Leo Bottary.

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