Kicking off 2023: Two words (of purpose), and a song

David O'Hagan
4 min readMar 5


It’s already March. Time flies!

(Check out this fascinating concept and visualization by Maximilian Kiener to see why it does feel like time is going by faster every year.)

The world is spectacular. And the world is chaotic.

Which perspective are you embracing this year?

There is a whole lot of beauty out there. And from chaos comes opportunity. All the more reason to live with purpose and focus and drive.

This is my seventh edition of this ‘kicking off’ series. Let’s go!

Two words

My two words for 2023: love anyway

Girl singing with ‘love anyway’ on her top
Photo credit: Dave O’Hagan

I saw the two-word statement ‘love anyway’ recently on the shirt of a woman on the worship team at a church in South Florida.

I smiled a little at first upon noticing it. Nice saying, I thought.

But then I reread it. And then I paused.

The band (obviously) kept going. Their voices and sounds kept filling the darkened room.

And then I read it once again. The world seemed to pause around me as the words sank in.

Looking up to her face, I realize she probably wasn’t thinking about the two words on her shirt at that moment.

But I was suddenly transfixed on those two words.

I read it again. And my mind spun.

You’ve read those two words now too. Perhaps they didn’t move you like they did me in that moment.

(Perhaps you’re not even reading this sentence since you’ve already scrolled on ;))

If you’re still with me, let me elaborate a bit on why the two words stopped me like they did.

Remember that chaos in the world today? A lot of that chaos comes from the fact that love isn’t in abundant supply right now. It’s being dwarfed by other emotions and outward expressions.

Love can be powerful and dreamy and wonderful. Some people are all-in on it, and certainly many others not so much.

But, when we move toward love, we can’t help but move away from other things. Things like criticism, envy, hate, and pain.

The truth is, our minds can really only focus on one thing at a time.

When we’re thinking about how we can help another person, or bring joy to someone, or just make someone else smile — it’s considerably more difficult to be negative.

And even if you’re drinking my love-filled Kool-Aid so far, granted there are a whole lot of people out there right now that are choosing not to love.

And that’s where the anyway bit comes in.

I’ll definitely admit that it’s harder to love someone when they’re not lovable, or they don’t love back.

But have you tried recently to love anyway?

Love anyway

Have you pushed past the resistance, and avoided thinking “I tried and they’re not worth it”?

Have you fought the urge to scoff, to turn your back, or to walk away in disgust, and love them anyway?

Because it’s right in these moments — when you’ve been spurned, or ridiculed, or laughed at — where you take the high road and still love anyway, that wonderful happens. It’s here when other people actually pause. It’s here where your love can actually make a difference.

If you go on dismissing, criticizing, and hating, the world will feed off of that. But if you go on loving anyway, then you’ve opened up a fragrant opportunity to change the perspective of a person.

And it’s here that your small commitment to love anyway can begin to change the world, and dampen the chaos.

And what is even more fabulous, is that your gesture of love, may just spark a desire in another person. And their gesture of love may just do the same for one other person.

It’s the snowball effect that can actually change the world. You may not think you can do much on your own. But when one hundred thousand of your friends love anyway, really good things happen.

Are you ready to give it a go?

A song

My song for 2023: This Is The New Year, by Glee cast

I had a very powerful song lined up for this year. But I decided to lighten the mood a little, and chose this Glee version of This Is The New Year.

I really liked Glee in the beginning, then lost interest somewhere along with the way. But then picked it up again recently and watched it through to the end, thoroughly enjoying it.

It’s wonderful to see kids exploring creativity and opportunity.

Young minds are ripe to explore, to test, and to not see failure as a terrible thing.

So I encourage you to bravely look at the world with a beginner’s mind, and love anyway.

Kicking off: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017



David O'Hagan

On a mission to find: innovators, status quo crushers, culture builders, hungry creatives, and warm sandy beaches