The legendary Dr. Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People changed how many people approached their personal and professional lives. I know it changed mine. Recently, I had my youngest son read the teenager’s version by Sean Covey with the expectation that it will help him be on top of his game at a young age. My hopes for him is that he will learn, at 13, what it took me a long time to learn, how to not only plan my work but, through deliberate effort, make that work a reality. One of the habits, Begin with the End in Mind, focuses on the fact that an individual must put effort and forethought into where they want to go before they begin to move. This type of deliberate effort and intentionality can bring about very successful outcomes in every area of lives, our professional life included.
It has been my experience that many people are surprised, shocked and even dismayed sometimes at where they ‘find’ themselves professionally. This has been especially true in our present economy when professionals are forced to take stock of their circumstances due to the loss of employment. There are some harsh realities to be faced. How did they get to where they are when their intent was something else when they entered the workforce? That’s a good question. Just like many people have planned parties, vacations, weddings and the like, we must do the same in every area of our lives, things should not be left to chance where and when avoidable. Instead we can be intentional about our efforts and direction. Most of the time if the plans are made and some snags are encountered along the way it’s a lot better than chance outcomes. Suffice it to say there could be many different reasons for the lack of planning and direction. That can’t be our focus here. I will emphasize that regardless to the reason; you can now determine to be more purposeful and intentional from this point on.
Where do you see yourself five or ten years from now? In a managerial role, owning your own business or having completed one or two academic degrees? Do it on purpose. There is almost nothing more exciting for me than to celebrate with a client, family member or friend who has achieve goals that we worked on together and they attained! Establish the end and begin the work. Purposeful and intentional action and effort will be the difference in one’s success. Having a goal or end result does several things; 1) give you a fixed target to toward which to gear your efforts, 2) helps eliminate options making your path clear and 3) when reached is a signal for celebration and the setting of new goals! I remember someone referring to people who are not intentional in how they life as ‘wandering generalities’. Wow! With an intentional stance in life a person can embrace everything that it takes to be or do what they have set their mind to. That could mean a lot of things like setting a rigorous schedule of activities, saving a certain amount of money over a period of time, or taking the classes they need to complete a certification. It depends on what outcomes are expected. Also they will be able to push away what doesn’t fit. And that’s okay. Be intentional in some ways makes one more narrow – at least in focus. In many cases that has proven to be the best way to be the BEST.
With the target and goals in mind, you and I can then move on to do what it takes on purpose. Intentionally. It will yield results closer to our expectations than a surprise! People often use the term ‘living by design’. It’s magical but not mystical. Like creating a building. The plans are laid so specifically that a picture of it can be hung with the caption that says ‘COMING SOON’. And then the work begins. Try it. It works.
Our lives don’t have to be nebulous and haphazard. Let’s live with clarity of purpose and effort in order to realize the benefit at the end.
About the Author:
Janice Coleman is a motivating communicator specializing in Preparing People to Perform through keynote presentations, customized training programs, and coaching. Janice has the capacity to deliver an action-provoking message to a variety of audiences. She has a vast professional background which affords her powerful in depth understanding of how to help others to become what they have been designed to be. If you are seeking to have a turnaround in your personal or professional world, Janice is the right speaker for you.
Click the following link to learn more about: Janice Coleman
Making Life Happen on Purpose
Being intentional about our lives takes discipline. Each of us has the opportunity to see the outcomes we desire one step at a time. Putting our deliberate efforts into play on a continual basis will lend to seeing the outcomes more often than not.
Here are the simple steps to being more intentional with our life and our outcome:
1. As Stephen Covey wrote, start with the end in mind. Know what you want professionally and paint the picture as clearly as you can. We can be the architect of our lives. Put up your own ‘Coming Soon!’ sign.
2. Be keenly aware of the realistic steps we need to take to get the desired results. It seems cliché. But the more I do it the easier it gets — write it down. Keep the goals and the steps in front of you. Take ownership for your outcomes.
3. Be very focused. You can even be obsessive a little bit. Or maybe fanatical to a degree. That can be scary to some people you know but it shows an over-the-top commitment. This will also give
you the courage to stay away from things that don’t fit and be okay about it.