3 ways you can be more intentional in life and career
What’s your word of the year?
What’s the one word that encompasses your business goals, professional growth, and personal dreams?
At Elevated Insights, our one word was not chosen lightly nor without much brain-picking.
As a small business that’s been honored to be selected as one of the fastest-growing companies in Colorado Springs for the second year in a row, we are always on the lookout for signs of burnout in our staff, an overworked team, and new projects that may shift us away from our business goals.
The word ‘intentional’ highlights our goal to continue growing yet the word also provides space to become even more specific in choosing new clients and projects. It acts as a compass as we pour into our employees and community.
To become intentional in personal and business goals, here are three ways to keep on course.
1. Become Action-Oriented
A mark of successful people is to create strategic goals. Yes, there are some who claim setting goals sets yourself up for failure; however, you are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t set both personal and work goals.
Don’t just verbalize that you want to leave the office right at 5 p.m. or manage your time better, write them down and be specific. What do you mean when you say “lead meetings better”? According to a 2008 research study by Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California, you are 40 percent more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. Better yet, write down your goals and send weekly progress reports to your friends (or coworkers, boss, etc.) and you’ll bump that success rate to over 75 percent.
Once you’ve set your goals, go after them with unbridled focus. Break them down into actionable checklists and set yourself up for success.
At my work, we set our goals by placing our quarterly plans on one page that outlines objectives, goals, strategies, and measures. Inspired by One Page Solutions, this action plan provides an easy, quick way for me to check if I’m on track with my objectives and provides a benchmark of success for my yearly goals.
You can set a goal to be more intentional, but without action it’ll simply collect dust in your mental shelves.
2. Stop Pursuing Work-Life Balance
Yes, you read that right. A lifetime work-life balance is the unicorn that people spend years pursuing when in reality, they are seeking a utopian world. This isn’t meant to be critical, but instead let’s usher in a whole new wave of smart workers.
In their book The One Thing, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan says, “Knowing when to pursue the middle and when to pursue the extremes is in essence the true beginning of wisdom.” They continue to say that the magic, the creative inspiration, the goal success rarely happens in the middle – it usually happens in the extremes, the edge of sanity.
When we push ourselves in the sharp corners of our life, we are refined by fire and can achieve success. However, often we don’t know how to manage ourselves in the extreme without getting burned.
While I’m not advocating burnout, don’t be afraid to walk into the extreme – just don’t set up home there. Soon, you’ll swing over to the other side and pour into your personal life. In a few days, weeks, or months, you’ll jump over to focus more on work and repeat this pattern cultivating each block of your life.
As Keller and Papasan say, when you only live in the middle, you will never make an “extraordinary time commitment to anything.” Marinate on that phrase. What does that mean for you?
At Elevated Insights, our workload often comes in waves. For a few consecutive months last year, our team was working long hours, pouring into projects seemingly night and day. However, the work soon ebbed and the heavy load of projects wrapped up, and we are now resting, organizing, and preparing for the next bout of crazy. We are learning to be intentional in our hours so we can take a step closer to creating a healthy life in all seasons.
3. Start Saying No…So You Can Say Yes
If you want to be intentional in your work and personal life, you must say ‘no’. Not barter, compromise, or blur the lines…but saying ‘no’ and sticking to it.
We live in a culture where we don’t ever want to miss out on anything, so much so that we miss out on the spice and richness of life. We overload every corner of our lives until we explode with deadlines, social engagements, personal commitments, health goals, and the list goes on and on. We like to think we have it under control, yet each ‘yes’ leaks toxic waste into our life.
When you say ‘no’ to a new project, client, or event, you are aligning yourself to your goals and dreams. You actively become intentional in your everyday decisions.
If you say ‘yes’ to every offer, you start working on projects you find are boring or completely off course of the direction the business should be taking. And once you start down that road, it’s a hard, muddy rut to get out of. You shortchange yourself, our business, coworkers, and family as you fill your time with mediocre matters instead of the projects or events that will launch you into success.
Saying ‘no’ births a sense of loss; when you say ‘yes’ you gain a deeper clarity to priorities and the people and tasks that truly matter.
As you start a new business, go after your personal goals, or set professional objectives, use these three tips to become intentional. How will you make each decision with purpose and clarity? Let me know!