I’m an unapologetic bookworm and a word geek. When I write I consider it painting with words. I genuinely delight in thinking about (and over thinking about) the meaning, implication and impact of words. For me, writing is very much a blend of form and function.
Much to my bemusement, I recently learned from a colleague that I have a word that is my word. Something I use regularly and I’m inferring I may even overuse (ha!).
Oh how I love that word!
In the work context I use it regularly to talk about the evolution of a creative project. My teams have no doubt received emails with requests like “Please send me the next iteration when it is ready.” Or, in a meeting I may have offered guidance like, “Let’s iterate on the design. I’m excited for how we can push it even further!” Is iteration (or iterate) a buzzword? I’m really asking – I’m not sure. I frankly don’t care though because I really do love it that much.
First off, I simply like how it feels to say. There is motion to the word. I know it is not an onomatopoeia but the word geek in me wants to argue the case for how it could be. When I say it, I hear the sounds and rhythm of movement and growth.
Moreover, I love the depth in those nine letters. An iteration is a new version, an update, forward progress, and continuous improvement. Iteration also represents resolve to keep pushing. It is a promise that there will be more versions to come, which represent an enhanced version of the last. One version becomes the starting point for the next version to come.
When my colleague called me out for my love of this word I realized how my love for the word is because all that it means to me and how it reflects all I hope to be.
Across my lifetime I want to be an iteration.
I want to take the version of me today and consistently figure out how to keep pushing for growth. It isn’t about a lack of contentment with who I am today but rather it is recognizing that the me of today is setting the me of tomorrow up for success.
Sometimes the future success or end goal is ambiguous or blurry. That’s okay! Seeing yourself in an iterative and evolving manner means you are committed to being the best version of yourself today because you know it will poise you for success tomorrow.
I also love seeing myself in an iterative manner because it means no experience is wasted and failure is repurposed for good. Rather than settling into a place of discouragement it is an opportunity to step into a posture of growth. Setbacks become launching pads for what’s next.
You may not feel warm and fuzzy about the word iteration but I do sincerely hope you can join me in a commitment to evolve over your lifetime. I ask that you stand firm in a commitment to use adversity as a prompt to do the next right thing, rather than being crippled by mistakes and perceived failures.