The clock is ticking. If you haven’t already done so, I hope you’re making time to map out your intention(s) for 2015.
As the saying goes, fail to plan and you can plan to fail.
I think of intention as the bigger space surrounding all I plan to accomplish. As I move into the New Year, I typically have a long list of goals and objectives. These are the decided upon “doing” aspects of my work and life.
Intention, however, is quite different.
Intention represents how I want to go about accomplishing those goals and objectives. Intention is the being aspect of this how. In other words, whom do I have to be in order to get where I want to go?
There are some practical steps that I find help me crystallize my intention and my goals and objectives for the upcoming year.
These steps require a little reflective quiet time. If you don’t want to spend 2015 feeling like a hamster running the treadmill, I suggest you give yourself permission to take that time.
Choose A Word for the Year
This is a practice that I started some years ago after our son Michael passed away. I decided that I would would move from sorrow to a place of joy, so joy became my word for the year.
Trust me, it’s very powerful to determine a word, one single word, that you will lean upon when things start to get a little murky. An interesting thing happens when you become more intentional about your life via one specific word.
We become what we think about. We construct meaning from the words in our mind; we can choose our words and ideas.
When I chose the word “joy,” for example, I found myself becoming more aware of it. If I noticed joy around me, I appreciated it more. Best of all, when I felt myself move into places of sorrow or remorse, I could look for opportunities for joy even in those moments. During that same year, I also found myself much more intentional about how I could create joy for others.
Over the years, I have used other words like abundance, prosperity, peace, focus, and forgiveness. The “focus” word was what moved me through the final year of my dissertation. That year, I was very intentional in what I committed to and how I spent my time and energy. The word helped me make better choices, and I completed my dissertation on schedule.
I hope you’ll give this simple recommendation a try and watch what happens.
Define Specific Financial Goals
If you’re in business, you simply must be intentional about your financial goals. In working with entrepreneurs, I find it amazing that few have very specific financial goals for the upcoming year. If you’re just barely making ends meet, it may be time to up the game. You don’t want to do business as usual if business as usual isn’t getting you where you need to be financially.
Look at the details of your business to determine the focus areas that will help you meet your financial goals. Examine your products and services. Are you spending too much time on things that are working against your goals? What is your pricing structure? Where do you need to make changes?
Answer these questions, set a clear intention for your financial goals, and adjust things accordingly. Do so, and I can assure you, you will have a far more profitable business in 2015.
Develop a Business/Life Strategy for 2015.
A financial business plan is vital. However, you want to make sure you have a clear strategy attached to that plan or it’s virtually useless. You don’t want to be one of those business owners who is so busy working in the business that you have little time to focus on the business. This means you have to make time to develop your strategy for the year.
When I’m working with clients through this strategic process, we typically consider at least one major growth initiative and one major efficiency initiative. We then back into specific goals and objectives that will get the results they’re after. At the end of these strategic sessions, they walk away with a very intentional road map that allows them to see exactly what they need to do month-by-month to achieve the desired level of growth and/or efficiency.
One more thing. An effective business strategy should also closely align with your personal intentions.
I love this level of work with clients because it helps them crystallize their business approach over the next year and how that approach should meld with a meaningful and balanced life. This doesn’t mean that the road map won’t change as the business evolves. The purpose of this level of clarity is to allow you to appropriately respond to changing environments.
Without a strategy, it’s easy to get off track and lose site of your intention for the business and your life over the next year. Failure to plan at all results in nothing more than knee-jerk reactive responses.
Setting clear intentions for 2015 will give you the opportunity to be creatively responsive to the business and to produce more profitable results.
I hope you’ll give yourself the necessary space to be intentional in 2015. Intention is the difference between having a business that is burdensome and having a business that is electric and alive with opportunity.