2011 is a prime number

As usual, a recent message from Chris Brogan got me thinking, this time by way of his Human Business Works newsletter. The topic, appropriately enough, was on preparing for 2011.

Things SheTech intends to do in 2011Many people make resolutions (“I’ll go to the gym, lose weight, eat less, swear less, spend less, etc.”) that pretty much fly out the window by mid-February at the latest (just ask your favorite trainer how long his or her clients actually stick with the plan). Along with Lent, it generally involves some sort of martyrdom-like sacrifice which always looks and feels daunting if not outright impossible… so we’re pretty much setting ourselves up for failure. Like Lent, however, you can choose to give something instead of giving up something. It feels better, so it works better.

Chris suggested something different as well, which was to set three targets/goals/key words for yourself which you could work all year. Write them out, post them somewhere, refer to them often.

Great idea!

So I started thinking about all the… well, all the thinking that I’ve been doing the last couple of months while SheTech and Company goes through its rebranding and upgrade efforts. Much of this thinking involves not only the company but a great deal of personal reflection as well. Many things have come clear for me this year, including where both my real strengths and weaknesses are. For example, I’m much more a tactician than a strategist, and only really internalized the concept when I worked with people who eat, drink and breathe strategy (that’s why Andy Scherer is part of the team!). On the other hand, you tell me what your strategy is, and I’ll help you get it done; I’ll make it work, help you operationalize it, or find someone who can.

Inspired by Chris’ suggestion about the three things to do this year, I came up with mine:

  • Reclaim
  • Rewrite
  • Renew

The first one is pretty personal, and has to do with reclaiming skills and abilities I thought I had lost along the way. The second one is both for myself and the people around me, which is to rewrite how we respond to things that happen to us, and so rewriting our futures in the process. Finally, for self, friends, company and clients, renewing a commitment to serve in everything we do, and to make our work a positive contribution. It also means helping clients renew their enthusiasm for what they do, and helping renew their audiences’ enthusiasm as well. It can be great fun if we approach it that way!

So, what does the fact that 2011 is a prime number have to do with anything?

Numbers don’t speak to everyone; in fact many people don’t care (and that’s totally fine!). Prime numbers have always fascinated me, both the small ones such as the ones we live with every day (like days and years) and the theoretical large ones like Marsenne Primes. They’re cool for a number of reasons (and these are the ones I can actually articulate):

  1. They don’t follow a pattern. You can’t map the first ten or thousand or ten thousand and predict what the rest will be; they must all be calculated.
  2. They’re mysterious. There is no such thing as an even number that is also a prime, with the exception of 2; every prime number is an odd number but not every odd number is a prime. Fun, huh?
  3. They’re full of energy. The inherent oddness in them makes them “unstable”, so to speak, and full of lively potential. Increase the value of any one of them by 1 (one!) and it is instantly shifted into another category, that of “even numbers”.

So what?

So, 2011 is a prime number year, which gives it unpredictability, mystery, energy and potential.

What a great time to be alive!

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