Allow me to let you in on a little secret. The beginning of anything new – new job, new romance, new year, new you – is less about goals and more about intentions. This is a lesson I learned recently following a rich, two-day retreat lead by three wise women: Daphne Eck, Melissa Kopplin, and Abra Poindexter.
As I continue to bask in the far-reaching and honeyed glow of this experience, I consider its impact not only on my marriage and my personal life, but also my professional and community life. Finding satisfaction in these varied areas requires me to be intentional on a singular focus, with the understanding that an intention lasts much longer than a goal.
Once you reach a goal, your work is done. You obviously have the opportunity to create a new goal, but it isn’t always required. And it is far too easy to allow that goal to fade away and be replaced by bland distractions.
When you enter into uncharted waters with an intention, however, the experience is vastly different. The intention is purposely more vague to allow for greater impact. Here’s an example.
One of my intentions for 2016 is to be more present and mindful wherever I may be – to avoid distractions and fully immerse myself in my surroundings. To accomplish this requires a lot of effort: tucking away my iPhone, allowing myself time between meetings and appointments (and between home and work) to reset my mindset and truly prepare for what I have to do next. Self-care and continual reflection are a big part, too.
These steps, I am certain, will spill over into other areas of my life, producing positive and long-lasting results.
If, however, I only created my intention as a goal, it might sound something like this: “One of my goals this year is to not be so busy.” The inherit challenge with such language: it is far too limiting. It leaves me no direction, no roadmap on where I should be or what I should be doing.
As we, the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council, look to 2016, my hope is that by December we found a similar purpose. Not that we met our goals, but that we established our intentions and kept them close year-round.
Goals are a great place to start, but true change comes from intentions. Being open to where you are now and where you will be next will only open new, exciting doors of opportunity. Get ready.
Editor’s note: Previously written for the Greater Omaha Young Professionals in January 2016.