My Word of The Year

My daughter, Kayla, and I were visiting on a recent trip to New York at Junior’s restaurant.

I love that place. If you go to New York, you have to see a Broadway show and if it is warm you need to sit at Junior’s Restaurant on their lanai. I bet you think lanai is my word of the year, but no that is not it.

While we were enjoying our loaded potato pancakes and corn beef sandwiches, Kayla mentioned her boss, Robert Hartwell, at the Broadway Collective had an amazing opportunity to partner with HGTV. If you don’t know him, I can assure you that Robert is an innovator and a trailblazer.

In 2020, Robert wrote that he had a goal to receive an unprecedented agreement related to his dreams and work.

Unprecedented: something that is not following a previously set example. Something never done or known before.

I sat with that word as though I had never heard it before. People say unprecedented a lot, especially on the news when referring to deals or one company buying another. But this time, it resonated with me straight to my core.

They say this word is used when something striking happens. Something that has never happened before. Something amazing.


At that moment I made this my word and later I even wrote it down in my journal in bold letters.


I meditated on this word differently though. While I still dream and plan of doing things that are unprecedented, I also reminded myself that I have already achieved many things that are unprecedented. Our city’s first community-wide comprehensive book festival is one perfect example.


Self-publishing a BEAUTIFUL series of 5 illustrated books in six months during a pandemic is another.


Buying my own commercial building to house all of our businesses has never been done before in my family. I am the first.


And now, my dream of taking the Kayla series to Broadway is something no one has done to my knowledge. My dream is to create a show for children that will teach compassion, empathy, coping skills, and the power of a growth mindset to children from all over the world. A show with a little Black girl as the lead.


I have meditated on this word ever since. I wrote it down too and have held on to it the way one might hold on to a little nugget of gold they found on a walk in the Rockies.

No one said dreams are easy. Dreams rarely are. But as obstacles have come my way, I repeat to myself, “This dream is not supposed to be easy, but it belongs to you. You are doing something unprecedented.”

When I say these words out loud or in my head, I am instantly reminded not only of the power of my vision but also of the importance of this story.

What is your word this year? I would love to hear it and share your words of focus with others. Just like with Robert’s story, you never know the impact your journey will have on someone else. His comment is helping to lay the groundwork for an upcoming year that I predict will be filled with striking circumstances. Things that have never happened before. Things that are amazing.

Unprecedented is my word of the year.

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 16 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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