I love bubble wrap. It’s no secret. And I appear to have passed this love onto my son. He actually joked about loving the bubble wrap more than the gift wrapped in it!
What is it about bubble wrap that is so satisfying? I think it’s because it gives us a moment to just BE, to allow the messy tangle of thoughts we carry in our heads slide onto the sidelines for a joyful moment or two. It’s a gateway to being PRESENT and truly IN THE MOMENT.
So, what does all this have to do with a secret for your best year ever? Well, I’ve been reflecting on what made 2018 a great year for me personally. It was my first full year in business for myself and it was filled with myriad accomplishments, a few disappointments, a lot of learning and oodles of personal growth. I invested non-stop in my personal development, achieved new designations and certifications, met and built relationships with many wonderful people and organizations, designed and delivered multiple leadership development workshops with amazing reviews, built up my personal coaching practice, presented keynotes and webinars, and learned what I really enjoy and what I need to outsource. And I LOVED my year! The whole ride – the ups and the downs, the ebbs and the flows. What made all the difference for me? I believe it was intentionality.
"Intentionality is a state of mind that draws a person's attention (and consequently experience and actions) toward a specified purpose (Bird, 1988).”
We all hear about how New Year’s goals and resolutions don’t actually work – and I would agree. They are only a starting point. Why is that? Goals are aspirational. They don’t achieve themselves! You need clarity, specifics and accountability to take action and reflect on your learning. And if you want a sense of well-being to go with your sense of accomplishment, then you also need another ingredient: intentionality.
Now, I am no slack historically in the slay-your-goals department, and can rhyme off the acronym for SMART goals like nobody’s business. I get stuff done and am known for my speed and output. What was different for me this past year was that I more frequently chose the state of mind I wanted to be in. I was more intentional. I set my intentions daily (in my journal, on my vision board) to be PRESENT, to be curious, to slow down, focus and be a reflective learner. And as a result, my achievements were more satisfying, and not achieved breathlessly or with the sense of overwhelm I used to carry with me. Intentionality was the differentiator.
Back to the bubble wrap. Think about the state of your mind when you are popping those little air bubbles. Or when you’re gazing out the car window on a long road trip, wondering about what those cows actually think about. Whatever it is for you, think about a scenario where your mind naturally becomes grounded in the present moment, and is perhaps a bit more curious and open to what’s in front of you. A bit more joyful or playful. Catch it! Bottle it! Then you can learn to apply this state of mind when you want to “draw your attention toward a specified purpose.” In other words, choose intentionality if you want to accomplish your goals without breathlessness and overwhelm.
Here are some questions I invite you to consider as you think about the year ahead:
1. Intentionality – How do you want to be? How can you bring that state of mind you pictured above into your day-to-day? How do you want to experience life and work this year? How do you want others to experience you? What do you want more of? Less of?
2. Goals –What would make the coming year both successful AND satisfying?
3. Measurement - How will you know when you’ve achieved your goals? What will it look like, feel like? How will you measure success and satisfaction levels?
4. Plan - How can you break your goal down into manageable chunks and reverse engineer your action plan from that the ultimate outcome you have in mind?
5. Follow Through – How will you keep yourself accountable? When will you reflect on your progress and your learning? How often? Where will you track how you’re doing and what you’ve accomplished? Who or what do you need to help you?
Wishing you a satisfying and successful year ahead!