Down With Goals – Set an Intention-Direction Instead!

This time of year is traditionally a time for setting goals, especially in the business world.  There’s plenty of evidence that people who set goals are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t set any at all.

And yet this doesn’t account for the numerous people who seem to get where they want to be without setting any goals, like Rosemary Harris, award-winning actress, who said “I’ve only ever paid attention to what was in front of me, making decisions according to the opportunities available and what I would most like doing.”

And Louise L. Hay, who has never set a goal in her life, and laughs when asked about it.  She did something very similar, simply knowing where she was going based on where she was at, at the time of decision-making.

So this year I invite you to set an intention-direction, or ID.

Your ID is the general direction in which you would like to go this year in your business.  It’s an intention because it’s got a focus, and it’s a direction because when you are running a business, you need to keep it pointed down the road you want it to take.  Otherwise it’s only too easy to get lost in numerous cul-de-sacs, dead ends and going round and round roundabouts.

So just what is an intention? Well, I think of it as a focused statement with blurry edges.

That may sound a bit odd, but let’ s compare it to a goal.

A goal is pointed, and you will either reach it or not. If it’ s a goal, according to the SMART mnemonic, it will be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.  There is no room for anything other than reaching exactly what you said you would do, or better.  If you don’t attain the goal, you have failed.  No two ways about it.

There’s nothing wrong with goals.  They can be brilliant motivators.  But just as often I see them as demotivators, when you don’t achieve them.  It’s just too easy to fall into self-blame (‘I just didn’t think positively enough, that’ s why it didn’t happen’), or fault-finding (‘If only that other company hadn’t pinched those clients, I would have been much better off), or shame (‘I feel really embarrassed; I said I was going to make that goal, and I’ m still miles away from it. How could I do that?’).

An intention, combined with a direction, gives a general path down which to go.

For example, this year my intention is to provide as many people as possible with opportunities to become more at ease with the idea of death as a natural part of life. My direction is to offer my Before I Go workbook for sale, and also several courses based on that workbook to individuals, groups and organisations.

There’s no deadline, no numbers, no specifics. Goal enthusiasts will throw their hands over their heads here!

With goals there are often measurable steps to be taken, so you can see how you are progressing.  With intentions, yes, you check in from time to time to see how you are doing, but you also

allow space for movement and change.

This means that events that have occurred which might affect your intention get an airing; you are able to adapt your intention to fit in with these without feeling guilty that you are changing your goal, instead of achieving it; and perhaps most importantly, there is space and time for miracles and magic to show up.  With a tightly focused goal, there is little space for this.

So this year, have a think about how having an ID (intention-direction) might benefit your business. Ask yourself the following:

  • What intentions do I have for my business this year?
  • Where do I want my business to be going this year? (Your direction)
  • What is the aspect of it I am most passionate about and would like to be doing more?
  • How willing am I to show up in each situation, trusting that I will be guided to the next best step for me? (measure this on a scale of 1-10; if if your answer is less than 8, then recheck whether you really are doing something you are passionate about!)

If you want help with any of this, then take the opportunity of a free Spirit in Business Strategy Session, by completing this form here.

 

Where Does Your Wisdom Come From?

When things are not working, when you’re trying hard, when life just seems to deliver you one setback after another, what do you do?Well, hopefully, you soften and listen to your own wisdom, wild or otherwise!

But where does it come from? What exactly is your wisdom?  And can it really be wild?

Yesterday, after being in the meditation sanctuary early in the morning, someone else who had been there approached me.

“Excuse me, I noticed you scribbling in your notebook in the meditation. What were you writing?”

I was surprised, but delighted to be asked. “It’s wisdom words that come from a different place than my personality,” I replied, “I sort of hear them often in meditation, and so I thought  it would be a good idea to write them down. It sets me up for the day; sometimes problems get resolved; other times I gain an insight that allows movement in a situation. I never know what will happen.”

She looked bemused. “Try it,” I encouraged her. “Just get very still inside and see what happens.”

Afterwards I reflected on where this had come from in my own life, and how I’d written about it in my soon to be published book, Gifted By Grief. Here’s an extract:

For many years, since I’d moved through the grief about not being able to have children with Philip, I’d had access to the ‘still, small voice within.’ I’d been introduced to this back in 2003, when I was exploring my psychic abilities. Out walking one day, I’d been railing against not having a family of my own, and out of the blue came the words, ‘You were not meant to have children this time round. Your path is purely a spiritual one.’ The words were so clear, I almost looked round to see who had spoken. They brought with them immense relief, peace, and a relaxing into what my life actually was in that moment. I wasn’t shocked, just intrigued. Over time, and with practice, this ‘voice’ spoke many, many wise words – most often when I sat down with a pen and paper in hand.
Your wisdom also comes from another place than your personality, or your mind. It might indeed be wise to say it comes from ‘beyond’.Do you hear it in the form of words? Or do you see images, feel sensations, or sense knowings?

How often do you pay attention to it, or act on its advice? If you’re in a pickle of some kind, I can guarantee this will be the one thing that will get you out of it, for it’s only when we quieten down enough to realize that who we are really IS the wisdom itself, and not the bodymind personality, that access is gained to this source.

Try it next time you’re needing to solve a problem, change a situation or just want some clarity. Stop whatever you’re doing and soften. Ask for insights. Wait. Discover what is wanting to be found. 

Why Letting Go Is Essential For Your Business Success

SAM_0822It’s a lot easier to fully move on to a next stage in your life or business if you’ve taken the time to acknowledge what’s gone before. Actually, it’s essential because you can’t go forward properly until you’ve fully accepted where you are right now.

So please be kind to yourselves as you reflect on the following questions!

Preparation:

Allocate a time in your diary to attend to this exercise; allow at least an hour or so of uninterrupted time. Get your last year’s diary so you can easily remember what’s happened.

Now answer the questions below.

Reflection:

  1. What did you accomplish in the course of the last year? (this can be huge things you feel inordinately proud of, or just tiny things but in their own way, equally important)
  2. What did you learn in general? What business lessons did you learn?
  3. Did you have any dreams that came true?
  4. Did you have any disappointments? If so, what did you learn from them?
  5. How did you limit yourself? How can you stop that in the future?
  6. Did you have any areas that felt out of balance? (eg how many days did you take off from your work? Or did you need to actually work more, or in a more focused way?)

Your business figures

This is important because it is a factual measure of where you have been, where you are now and therefore helps you in where you want to go. So often I’ve heard people be disappointed in themselves until they look at their figures and see that they have actually made progress.

A: What was your gross profit?  (that’s the total amount of money that came in to your business)

B: What were your total expenses?

C: And your net profit? (that’s A – B)

(Keep these figures, because you want to be able to compare them to next years).

Notice how you feel about this section. If you don’t know your figures, you will probably have to find them out for your tax return anyway, so you might as well do it now. But set up a system if you haven’t already got one, for monitoring this on a month by month basis. It makes it really easy when you come to do these questions!

When you write the figures down, you’re likely to feel ecstatic, pleasantly surprised, disappointed, embarrassed – or maybe some other emotion. Just check in and see how you feel. Remember they are only indicators of what’s been going on factually – they are NOT who you really are, NOT a measure of your self-worth, NOT set in stone. These figures can change, and will as you learn more, apply what you’re learning, and grow within yourself.  Plus, that’s just what your lovely ego thinks – and the real you knows a lot better than that!  So listen to your own wild wisdom if your reaction to your figures is less than you’d like it to be.  In other words – be kind to yourself!

Marketing

  1. Find out, if you don’t already know, what were your top-selling services or products. Set up a system to monitor this if you haven’t already done so.
  2. If you have a mailing list, by how much did it increase in 2014?
  3. If you do social media, what happened there? Did you make strategic decisions to increase or decrease your following? Why?
  4. What marketing actually worked for you? What was your most successful strategy?

Finally – what did you most love about your business in 2014?  And what did you hate the most?  And what are you most grateful for?

Now comes the creative bit – take a few moments to sit silently with the results of your questions.  Listen to your own wild wisdom about how it wants to express your gratitude for what you have received and given this past year.   It may be through colours, like mine; but you might rather sing your gratitude, paint it, sculpt it. You might want to dance it, cook with it, or sew something. Or you might want to knit, craft, or model something. This is your gift to yourself, expressing your own gratitude for everything that has happened this year, including all the things you weren’t so keen on, because they ALL have contributed to who you and your business are now. Wow!

Check out this link to get your 2015 Workbook from Leonie Dawson, so having let go of 2014 you can jump right into the next year in the most creative way possible!

The Wild Wise Woman Manifesto

A Wild Wise Woman is:

  • a woman of any age who has a passion which she wants to flaunt to the world
  • a woman who confidently engages with life, while allowing room to welcome ALL feelings
  • a woman who says what she thinks!

A Wild Wise Woman:

  • lavishes love upon herself and those whom she loves
  • knows the value of self-first versus selfishness
  • dares to drape her beautiful body in gorgeous colours, luxuriant fabrics and wacky accessories!
  • utterly loves her body with all it’s beauty and it’s challenges
  • loves to move her body (dancing, walking, hiking, running, swimming, making love)
  • can say ‘I love you’ to herself in the mirror and know it’s true
  • adopts intimacy as a playmate

A Wild Wise Woman:

  • finds solace in stillness and silence
  • is first and foremost married to herself
  • knows the source of life is who she really is
  • allows her natural sensual nature to flow through every aspect of her life, including her business
  • works in tandem with spirit, discerning no separation between them
  • dares to take risks based on her intuition
  • has creativity as her bedfellow, plays with it often and has it flowing through her business
  • plays at her work – has fun, enjoys what she does and inspires others to do the same
  • has plenty of time for naps, long weekends, creative breaks and freedom

A Wild Wise Woman also:

  • isn’t afraid to do business differently from the accepted wisdom
  • loves to learn, grow and change
  • values the light hiding in the darkness, and explores until she finds the switch
  • asks herself ‘Am I enjoying myself?’ and stops if the answer is no
  • knows when to let her own inner kid out to play and when to be an adult
  • isn’t afraid to express herself in any way she feels is full, blooming and nourishing
  • is heaven on earth made manifest
  • regularly strays from her comfort zone and finds new ways of expression

And she can complete this sentence: 

If you asked me what I came into this world to do I will tell you.

I came to….

What did I, Jane Duncan Rogers, come here to do?

To fully embrace life, love with all my heart, share it with others and basically reach out and hug everyone! Telling and sharing with them that THIS is what life is meant to be like.

I came to shout from the cliff tops:

“This!  This radiance, this brilliance!  You can have it too!  THIS is what life is – open  your heart and come and receive it now!”

Which quality of this manifesto is your favourite?

Leave your comment below

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Intend or Plan – what’s the best?

I spent last weekend in a glorious renovated Victorian hunting lodge way up in the uppermost part of Scotland, amongst the heather, lochs and the deer, celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday party. It was a time full of conversation, walking, fine food and wine, and simple, ordinary pleasure.  Here’s a pic:

Tim Slack Appreciating People croppedThe man I’m sitting next to is Tim Slack of Appreciating People . He told me about the idea of Commander’s Intent, a military term used to describe what a successful mission looks like, and it’s not about having a plan and sticking to it.  It’s about having an intention.

Commander’s Intent fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in enemy situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of Commander’s Intent is to empower subordinates and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed battlefield environment. Commander’s Intent empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. Commander’s Intent is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.

If we transpose the word ‘successful leader’ instead of commander’s intent, it reads

A successful leader fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of a successful leader is to empower others and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed environment. A successful leader empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. A successful leader is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.

You may not recognize yourself as a leader, especially if you are not employing others in your business. But you are – you are the leader of your own organization, even if it is just yourself you are leading. Remember Louise L. Hay, founder of Hay House Publishing, who was 88 just the other day.  She began by self-publishing her ‘Little Blue Book’ way back in the early seventies and running her first workshop for a handful of people in her living room.  She started leading herself, and slowly and steadily, step by step, employed others to help her get her message out to many more people.

So do you have an intention for your business, or do you have a plan?  Perhaps you have neither, of course. The only challenge with neither is that it is very easy to get distracted with tempting opportunities that may lead to you never completing anything, not following up with someone, or ending up wandering around with no sense of accomplishment or purpose. Not that that is bad, of course, but it may be somewhat dissatisfying.

But a plan according to Appreciating People is at the other end of the spectrum, and  too limiting. However, an intention allows for flexibility, clarity of purpose and simplicity.

Which falls in line with the blog post I wrote a while back about ID’s (intention-directions)

Finally, remember Eisenhower’s quote: ‘Plans are nothing, planning is everything’.

So I ask you today – what is your intention for your business over the next three years?  Remember, keep it simple, clear and flexible.

If you can say it one sentence all the better – it can always be padded out. Mine is to enable many more thousands of people to tap into their own Wild Wisdom and use it to affect their businesses and the lives of others in a positive manner – I have various ways I’m currently operating to do that, but in essence that is it.  What’s yours?