Do you ever feel that your career and life are beyond your control? That there are outside forces at work that moves you from uncertainty to even more uncertainty? That The Universe is having a hearty chuckle at the shenanigans, you are dodging in work and life?
Yeah, me too.
It seems that there are days where I feel absolutely at the whim of whatever is playing out in front of me. I feel like I have no control over what is happening in my work and life. I started to feel frustrated and helpless. I began to get irritated and think, why does this happen to me?
And that’s when it hits me.
It is me. I have let go of the reigns of my life and left it to chance, not by choice.
Intention guides every goal we have, a conversation we enter into, a meeting we hold, and each relationship we build. Everything.
And especially how we show up in our leadership role.
I have discovered with my clients that uncertainty about the future is usually rooted in the past. We are, after all, creatures of habit. We tend to wake up each morning and perform the same routine.
Check your phone.
Maybe you have a morning run or yoga in there.
The point is that the brain is efficient, and when you find ways of doing things that work for you, the mind says, “Great! This will make a lovely habit,” and gets to work at making it become one. The more it happens, the more it becomes unconscious, and at some point, you’re not even aware of what you’re doing or why. It’s automatic.
It means that you are working from and focusing on your past. The problem is that if what you are currently experiencing in your leadership role isn’t what you want, then the solution isn’t in the past; it’s in the future.
So how do you make the shift to future-facing? I’m glad you asked! It starts with Intention.
Intention is defined as a thing intended, an aim, or a plan.
Every time you set an intention for showing up in your leadership role, you focus on the future and what you want instead of what you don’t. When you make this your new habit, you create influence and generate momentum, which feels so much better than the rut you may be experiencing.
So let’s start your new “intention” habit!
Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate Intention in your leadership and start getting the results you deserve.
- Intention for you as a leader. Ask yourself the question, “When I am showing up ideally as a leader, I am…” Finish this sentence with as many things as you can think of that resonate with what you want. For example, you might say I am… empowering others, listening deeply, developing future leaders. Whatever you think of are the guideposts that lead you toward showing up as the leader you want to be.
- Intention for a 30, 60, or 90-day sprint. Whether you own a business or work for an organization, there is always more than one thing to juggle. You have competing priorities with team members, clients, projects, departments, not to mention your personal life. Set an intention for a specific period to know what you want to accomplish within that time. It could be that you want to meet with your team members one on one each month, or perhaps it’s an intention of being finished by 5 pm and transitioning to your family for 30 days. When you do this, you create an opportunity to try something, and it’s not permanent, it’s not forever, and you can see what actually happens instead of speculating what you think will happen.
- Intention for your week. I am an advocate of planning your week in advance. Ideally, you plan for the next week at the end of the prior week so that you know exactly what you’re getting into when you return on Monday. At the very least, plan your week out on Monday so you know what is ahead of you. What is your Intention for this week? If it were an ideal outcome, what would make you feel best to have accomplished this week? This means you have a guide to focus on the right things for you.
- Intention for your day. This Intention is identical to the Intention for the week except that you are breaking it down to focus on just your day and what you ideally want to accomplish. Now, it doesn’t mean this will happen exactly as you want, but it increases your odds of getting the outcome you want. Pick 3 things that you can easily do within the time you have allotted within your day. They can be small things, but pick those that specifically move you toward the Intention you have set.
- Intention for your interactions. Although this came last, it is certainly not the least. This is an overarching Intention. How do you want to “be” when interacting with others? How do you want to come across as a leader? What attributes and characteristics do you want to embody? Is it having patience? Being a good listener? Being supportive? Think of who you want to be, how you want to act, and what you want to achieve before you pick up the phone, hop on zoom, run a meeting, or even have a conversation.
Be curious and open and discover how you can create thoughtful Intentions throughout your leadership and life. But also remember that just like knowledge, Intention must have action behind it. Otherwise, it’s just a wish. Oh, and speaking of wishes, here’s wishing you the clarity you deserve in your leadership and life!
Be good to yourself.