REFLECTION: A fresh new year. A blank slate of days stretching forward. How best to use your time and your energy?
January, for many, is a time of resolve. We create highly ambitious, jam-packed action lists of goals. In the end, we lose our focus or beat ourselves up as our super-human promises fall by the wayside.
The way I think about this practice has shifted over time. I have come to understand that HOW WE ARE in this world (our mindset – our character) is every bit as important as WHAT WE DO. And so, in recent years I’ve chosen to set one strong intention for being and not to create an exhaustive laundry list of resolutions for doing. Sure, I still make plans and set goals, but HOW I approach the demands of each day gets top billing.
Over the years, Celebration, Impact, and Presence are a few of the intentions that have taken their turn as guiding lights. For 2011, I aspire to a year of Exploration.
What does Exploring mean? In my mind, it’s about being open to new ideas and possibilities. Staying curious about people, situations and problems. Deepening learning, skills, and relationships. Experimenting with new and creative approaches. Finding ways to make what I do in life and business ever more engaging, relevant and useful.
Rest assured I am not trying to convince you of the merit of my chosen intention for 2011. I am inviting you to create your own.
ACTION: As the new year unfolds and its demands set your wheels in motion, how about giving some serious thought to a way of being and responding that inspires your very best? What phrase captures your intention for the year ahead? What word speaks to you?
It could be anything. Accountability? Bravery? Compassion? Determination? Excellence? Those are just a few offerings from the front end of the alphabet.
Name your intention and express it. Tell others about it. (I’ll happily be the recipient of your news!) Post your intention in visible places at work and at home. Choose an image that represents what you envision, and turn it into a screen saver for your computer. Write your intention at the top of every list you make. Remind yourself of your intention as you pour your first cup of coffee of the day.
As the challenges of the year unfold, ask yourself how would a person intent on (your word here) respond?
Keep that intention alive. Watch it spring to life, color your experience, and work its magic in the days ahead.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK: A few thoughts on intention from American writer Robert Brault:
Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.
If you aren’t sure who you are, you might as well work on who you want to be.
There are people who live their whole lives on the default settings, never realizing you can customize.
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: To jumpstart your thinking about intentions, take a run through this starter list of virtues.