Name Your Year (2024): Arena

Last Updated on January 4, 2024 by Alex Birkett

My friend Joe Martin is a smart guy.

I look up to him when it comes to designing a fulfilling life, and also when it comes to acoustic Kanye West covers.

One of the coolest things he does is name his year in advance. It sets the intent for your actions and is a quick heuristic for decision making.

For example, your year’s theme could be “connect,” and that could mean striving to build your professional network or to deepen the existing relationships in your life.

I realize I forgot to write my post for last year, but I named the year “King,” which sounds a bit grandiose, but want I wanted to invoke was a sense of equanimity, maturity, and leadership, all threaded by a strong reliance on my principles and integrity. An aspiration to a mature masculine archetype (a la King, Warrior, Magician, Lover).

It’s weird how naming your year works out, certainly some form of manifestation. Because what I needed most in 2023 was that type of energy and decision making.

It was a hard year, actually. Business was rocky, but we ended up growing and in a very advantageous position coming into 2024. I moved to NYC and that was a massive transition that certainly took a lot of equanimity. Other stuff too — too personal to dive into. Anyway, King energy served me well.

This year, the word is Arena.

What “Arena” Means to Me

Bit of a history buff here, and most people know the Teddy Roosevelt “man in the arena” speech.

Don’t really care if it’s cringe, the quote inspires me.

What it means is action, faith over fear, and a willingness to put myself out there.

Tactically, it means getting on stage (or on podcasts) and giving our agency a voice and a presence. It also means exiting the digital matrix and immersing myself into New York City – culturally, socially, professionally, etc.

It means never wandering too far away from the weeds, despite what some business gurus tell you. I strive to lead from the front, not from a distance perch.

It also literally means I want to compete in jiu jitsu this year.

A common thread has formed through my past few year’s intentions – commit, king, and now arena.

Arena is the embodiment of “it’s showtime,” “fuck it, let’s do it live,” and a trust in oneself and one’s skills.

It’s a fun reminder to get off the sidelines, stop critiquing / analyzing, and get in there and build something.