Are you just “going with the flow” or are you intentional about your success?
Intentionality as defined by Dictionary.com: done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult. Or,
- pertaining to an appearance, phenomenon, or representation in the mind; phenomenal; representational.
- pertaining to the capacity of the mind to refer to an existent or nonexistent object.
- pointing beyond itself, as consciousness or a sign.
Most people do not live their lives with intentionality. We just “go with the flow” as if that is a badge of honor. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of “go with the flow” to keep peace or harmony is a very fine idea but is it such a good idea when we are thinking of our career?
Do you really want the “flow” to be in control of your career? Who or what is the “flow” anyway? These are questions that you really need to think about in real live situations. For instance, if you are preparing for a big presentation that has huge implications for your career, your well-being or your financial health, are you going to leave that to “going with the flow”? I really hope not!
It may be surprising to you to learn that that is EXACTLY what you are doing if you are not being intentional about each and every aspect of your career. I spend quite a lot of time with my clients helping them to stay intentional in their day to day work life. The great thing about this is that intentionality bleeds over into their personal lives.
It really does not take any more energy to be intentional as it does to just go with the flow. It starts with the writing down of intentional and specific goals that we talked about last week. Then we need to be intentional with our actions and our language. But, you may ask, what does that mean? Let me ask you,
“How intentional are you in your language?” When speaking with your peers, your teammates or your superiors, do you speak to them in their preferred communication style or do you use what makes you comfortable? Each of us has a preferred way to receive information; either visually, auditorily or kinesthetically. Do you adjust your communications to the one preferred by the other person or people?
It is easier to get others to see/hear/feel our point of view if we are first presenting to them in their preferred intake mode. So, be more intentional in the words and tone you choose, and you will see far better results.
Another way of using intentionality of language is to be specific. In other words, we need to eliminate general and universal statements that include All, Every, Never. These are some of the most common pitfalls in language. When we use generalized or non-descriptive language we are just using “fluff” that is more like vague guesswork.
We fall into making assumptions when we accept generalized statements without question. This is the mark of a lazy communicator. The key is to break through that fog and recognize the “fluff” then ask questions to get to specificity. For instance, if someone says to you, “The whole world is going crazy.” Do you know exactly what she means? Why not ask, “The whole world?” And then keep asking questions until you get to the motivation for her to make such a statement.
In the same way that we can be more intentional in our language, we can also be more intentional in planning our careers and to achieving our desired outcomes. If you are intentional about your career, you will write your goals out in very clear terms. Then you will take action based on where you want to be in 3 – 5 years. The key is that you have that vision for the long-term and that you write down the 3 – 4 things that you can accomplish this year to move you toward that long-term person.
At the end of every year or the very beginning of a new year, I work with my clients to review the goals worksheet that they created last year, visualize where they want to be in 3 – 5 years again, then work through the process for the new year of choosing the top four goals. We use these top four goals and make a very detailed plan for achieving these goals this year. As you achieve one of these goals, you then pick the 5th goal on the list, make a detailed plan for achieving it and then add it to your list so that at all times you have your top four goals.
This process works very well because it keeps in your conscious mind the things that you should be focused on NOW and it allows your unconscious mind to assist you moving in the right direction. You see when we write these goals/plans down in specific terms, we are telling our brains that, “Hey, even if I’m busy doing these four things, you need to stay focused on making sure I am headed in this direction!” Now your conscious mind can be busy doing, and the brain can be busy being strategic! It works!
I hope you will begin to be more intentional in how you go about your life. You will be more content and less stressed because you have a direction! Have fun!
I would love to hear from you if you need any help in being more intentional!
About Connie Cwik
Connie Cwik has a career signature of being asked by senior corporate leaders such as Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Rick Wagoner to assume advisor-consultant roles with clients and executive teams. She was recruited by The Walt Disney Company to coach executives and worked jointly with their leadership to create career development plans for Disney’s Enterprise IT group (50 people). A recognized leader and mentor, Connie holds more than 20 years experience building relationships, developing teams, and coaching associates to success. Contact her at via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how Connie can coach your team to success!