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FYI’s One-Word Challenge

What started out as a personal challenge many years ago has grown into a self-improvement initiative for all of FYI called The One-Word Challenge.


For FYI Executive Director Nikki Stefanow, a challenge by a coworker based on the book One Word by Jon Gordon, was the impetus.


“I was challenged at least 10 years ago at a previous job to pick a word of guidance and direction to focus on and come back to for the year,” Nikki said. “I was encouraged to think and pray about it, then pick one.”


Over the years, she has chosen words like transformation, discipline, focus and balance.


“It’s not a New Year’s resolution. It’s a word you choose to focus on that helps you develop into the best you you can be,” Nikki said. “As you commit to doing it, you realize God is growing you. I’ve continued to do that for 10-12 years, and encouraged others to do it as well. But I never really asked them what their word was.”


So she thought: What if she asked all of FYI to do it and then ask them to make it known to the team.


“This year, I wanted to do it so we can work even closer as a team,” Nikki said. “I think it is really important that we understand what is important to each other. The cool thing is we’re seeing each other growing in those chosen goals, and it also helps us to hold each other accountable.”


The staff’s enthusiastic response led her to extend the idea further.


“That led me to think about a word for FYI overall: perseverance,” she said. “When we put that word out on our sign outside of our office, we are challenging the community to do this as well. What’s important to them? Where does God want them to go?”


The word is certainly relevant. Nikki explained why.


“No.1 is because of what we’ve come out of in 2020, and No. 2 is that looking at all our words as a family, it seems a natural choice.”


It won’t erase the hard times to come, however.


“I believe it’s still going to be a tough year, and we’re still going to have to overcome a lot of things,” she said. “We are moving in the right direction, and I know God is coming through, no doubt. But I see the toll that 2020 has taken on our staff, our clients, our area and our nation. So it seems to me that ‘perseverance’ is a relative word for everybody.”


With all staff members choosing a word, FYI will now do a weekly video series on FYI’s Facebook page as staff and volunteers explain why they chose their “one word,” starting with today’s video by Fairborn Parenting Network Coordinator Anna Kennedy.






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