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Every year since late 2010 I have picked a word for the New Year—as a sort of beacon to guide me through the coming 12 months. The word is usually based on what I’ve experienced in the past year, as well as what I am looking to be, do, feel and stand for in the next.

2011 was discipline. The next year was leap, and 2013 was refine.

2014’s word is “own.”

Continuing to own my value, worth and expertise.

Owning my principles, values, boundaries and policies.

Owning my true authenticity and everything that organically makes me, me.

This new word came a little late for me this year. Just a week ago I thought to myself that a word still hadn’t showed up. As soon as I recognized that, it slipped right into my consciousness.

It’s a word that feels very empowering to me, and just right.

It occurred to me that so much of the internal and external struggle in life occurs because we often worry more about pleasing others above ourselves.

And that’s not meant to say we are to be selfish.

It means that we all have our own personal set of values, our own boundaries, policies and principles. And yet it is so easy to say “well… I’ll make an exception… this time.” Or “well, I don’t want them to get mad at me, so I’ll say yes to doing this thing even though that twinge in my stomach is telling me it’s just not right.”

It makes me uncomfortable. I don’t agree with it. It’s a major inconvenience to me. I gave them an inch but they are taking a mile.

I’d argue that it’s pretty tough to build a highly successful business–or heck, a successful life—if we’re consistently feeling out of integrity with ourselves, or allowing ourselves to feel bitter, taken advantage of, or out of alignment with our core values… and then beating ourselves up for it.

Do not misunderstand—it’s not about being inflexible, closed-minded or a hardass. Be kind, be fair, approach all situations with a pure and loving heart—but OWN what it is you intrinsically believe and hold up as true for you.

These are agreements with ourselves that ultimately negatively impact our happiness, when we decide to break them in our day-to-day life.

That’s the truth I’ll own in 2014. What’s yours? Share with me in the comments below, ok?