Postcard from Asheville
I felt the hair rise on the back of my neck at a recent gathering when an acquaintance challenged, “Okay, Mr. Life Coach, what are your New Year’s resolutions for 2012?”
First, I hate being called a life coach. I consider myself a workshop trainer and consultant for leadership and communications skills. Second, I gave up New Year’s resolutions some time ago.
I used to be all about New Year’s resolutions. I would write a detailed “marketing plan” for myself at the first of every year that covered just about every aspect of my life. I gave this up, however, when I discovered the power of intentions.
Nationally-known author and lecturer Debbie Ford explains this power best when she writes: “Intent is to humans what software is to a computer. When installed into your
psyche, intent gives you access to new capabilities, which opens up new realities."
Over the next three months, we are going to explore intentions. This month, we’ll examine intention from 50,000 feet with a life plan, and next month we’ll zoom down to 5,000 feet to take a look at an annual plan. Finally in March, we’ll study intention from 500 feet with a daily plan.P.S. If you’d like more information on the power of intention, check out my latest special report: Determine Your Destiny: Be Your Best Through Intention.
Intention from 50,000 Feet: Your Life Plan
One of my dearest friends had cancer. (He is thankfully now in remission.) One night after a particularly difficult chemotherapy session, I asked him if he’d be ready when his time came. He didn’t hesitate: “I’ll be ready.”
He explained that he’d had a full life despite being only forty-five. He was proud of what he’d accomplished. Most importantly, he was proud of the wonderful, rich friendships he’d made along the way.
My friend has enjoyed a rewarding career in the arts, but that’s not what he’s most proud of. He lights up when he talks about his friends. He has collected a loyal, interesting, eclectic group of friends throughout the world.
They love my friend, and he loves them. He also loves sharing his friends. Attend one of his many parties, and you’re guaranteed to make a new friend or business acquaintance. He’ll tell you that making connections is his life’s purpose.
My friend is teaching me how to live an intentional life at 50,000 feet. I’ve learned I can become my best self and live my best life by focusing on what matters most; for me, nothing is more important than connection and contribution. I believe in this principle so much that I wrote a book on the subject: The Inspired Life: How Connection and Contribution Create Power, Passion, and Joy.
One way to view intention from 50,000 feet is to draft an internal purpose statement. In one of my workshops, Engineer Your Career, we develop external and internal purpose statements. An external purpose statement explains how the executive will be of service to the world, and the internal statement outlines how he or she intends to live his or her life.
In writing an internal purpose statement, the executive identifies his or her core values. These values are the guideposts that inform his or her life.
An internal purpose statement can be as simple as “I will live my life with integrity, compassion, passion, and joy” (or whatever your primary core values may be). Mine is: “Connection (to self, others, and God) and contribution will guide my life.” One of my clients wrote for hers: “I want to become the person that I want my daughter to grow up to be.” Isn’t that lovely?
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