Intentions: By choosing 3 words and not choosing many others, I create themes or intentions for my year. This is more engaging to my mind than goals. As I share this with clients, I hear curiosity and great interest, so I’m sharing it all in more depth here. Perhaps it will be an example of what you might experiment with.
This is about intentions, ways of being or guiding principles, not resolutions. It’s about deciding and staying focused on what matters. It’s practical because it directly relates to your management of time, energy and attention. It’s useful each day to make decisions. And it’s helpful because it pulls you out of the weeds of daily ‘stuff to do’ so you actually make progress on whatever is most important to you.
Chris Brogan -3 words originator – writes about it here: “Pick any three words that will guide you in the choices you intend to make for the year. They should be words that let you challenge yourself as to motives and decisions. They should be words that help you guide your actions.”
Intentional Word #1 for 2016: Shine
We each have strengths, and when we focus on them and use them in daily life, we shine.
Presence is is our unique signature. You don’t have to be gregarious or charismatic. People often have said to me “Oh, I could tell that this project/issue/event had the “Sue West touch” to it. Or clients will say something very specific about how our work is helping to change their lives.
Use your strengths; that is presence. That is shining. What makes you shine? What do people say about you?
Shine also came to me because of sunshine. One of our closest, dearest friends passed away December 31st suddenly after a short illness. He was 77, and we had a beautiful mixture of friendship, older brotherly love as well as caring, paternal protection at times. He, with his great big personality, helped me 11 years ago to come out of my shell shock after some big life changes. I believe he saw my “shine” and encouraged me over the years to show more of that. We called each other ‘family.’ He knew who he was, what he stood for and you knew it. As he began his path towards the “continuation of his life,” as one of his daughters beautifully said, she wrote about his energy and how in the sunlight of the day, she could feel his warmth shining on her face.
So ‘shine’ is also to honor his memory, along with the people who teach us what our unique light is before we can see it for ourselves. They may also teach us about how to share our light more with others.
Intentional Word #2 for 2016: Energy
Where do I want or need to put my energy? As we move through the years, I’ve noticed for me and for clients that we begin to focus less on ‘time’ management and more on ‘attention’ and ‘energy’ management.
This is about curating and directing my energy towards what matters in my life, at work and at home.
It’s about noticing my physical, mental and emotional energy levels. Paying attention to intuition because it is often ahead of the mind/brain/intellectual understanding.
It is also about keeping my mind engaged with things that matter. Because I am curious, intelligent and enjoy thinking about things, this keeps me engaged in right now.
Energy is also knowing what not to place as much time into and what to let go of because it drains more than it is worth. A reset or redirection. True at home. True at work. True for people, for issues, projects, things, thoughts … what else takes your energy?
Intentional Word #2 for 2016: Where
This is again from Chris Brogan in a recent and inspiring newsletter. “Start from where you are” is what he discussed. My interpretation: Don’t get stuck where you are by over complicating, over analyzing or over thinking. Start from where you are: What DO you know? What could help you try an experiment, dip a toe in it, or try out a ‘draft’ version of something.
If I get frustrated with a project or a situation, I know it’s time to step back and get perspective. I’m all wrapped up in the details, skittering around like a caterpillar with lots of legs, and not actually moving a centimeter …. when what I want to do is to jump like a frog.
Intentionally stop and pause. Where am I now? Is this where I want to be? Where do I want to be or get to? What could I do already with where I am now? What do I know already and where to next? It is that simple until it’s not. My intention is to get more consistent with asking this question so that I can move ahead. Let go of doing it perfectly the first time; instead, embrace practice, learning, and experimenting. The process is always useful learning, and sometimes I forget that. If you “Start from where you are,” more learning happens. And that fits in beautifully with both a strength and a value.
The first initials of my 3 words spell S E W. I did this on purpose. I knew I needed something like last year’s alliteration of the 3 words because it helped me to easily and often keep them present in my mind.
SEWing has been important to me as a creative and meditative hobby. I still use my school graduation gift of a sewing machine from my grandmother, and this reminds me of her when I use it. When my life was in turmoil, sewing was a reflective retreat. And as I worked on creating a new chapter, suddenly, I had no time to sew; I was learning all kinds of new hobbies and meeting new people though. And for the past few years, I have wanted creativity in my life in various ways, so sewing fits in again, but differently from other times.
What has also been fascinating to me [from my 2015 and prior words] is that these 3 words will show up this coming year in ways I’m not expecting. And that’s the engaging, curious, trusting part of all of this.
What will your 3 words be … or if you don’t use 3 words, how do you set intentions for your year?
If you’re not clear on what matters in your life, you might be having some challenges with clutter and/or time and to do management. That’s pretty common actually. Call or email me to talk about a roadmap to clarity on this or you can start with the clutter/time management side of things, until you’re ready to figure out what matters. Working from either end of the question works just fine; whatever suits you.