As entrepreneurs and business professionals, our priorities can be externally influenced. If we are not intentional about our planning, we may begin to react to our environment rather than respond to it. Stopping to put out fires can lead us down a path of decreased productivity.
As leaders in our businesses and communities, we need to chart our course for growth. The best way to do that is by designing intentional living strategies to bring order and purpose to each day. So, what do I mean by “intentional living?” For me, that means, taking full responsibility for my thoughts, words, and actions. It also means, taking time to reflect on processes and make adjustments to keep me on the path to achieving my goals and objectives.
In his book, Make today Count, John Maxwell says, “The way you live your life today is preparing you for tomorrow. The question is … What are you preparing for?” Such a simple statement, yet it holds a profound concept.
How many people do you know just float through life, never really moving forward, just going with the flow? Many of my clients fall in that category. They come to me to guide them to solutions, and design strategies to help them grow their business. Success doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by planning and taking intentional actions.
Let me walk you through the first three phases in the process …
- Step 1 – Complete the wheel of life diagram. If you haven’t done this exercise, I’d highly encourage you to take five minutes to complete it. It is a simple pie chart that gives a visual of 8 categories in our lives, Career, Money, Health, Family/Friends, Romance/marriage, Personal Growth, and Fun/Recreation. This exercise gives a quick assessment of how harmonious your life is.
Identifying areas that are out of alignment is the starting point for creating a life strategy that impacts both personal and business goals and sets to outline a path to success.
- Step 2 – Identify your top 6 priorities, to identify what is truly important to you. You can say something is important, but when you look at your calendar and analyze how you spend your time, you will see what your “real” priorities are. You can use my top six priorities to create your own top six list:
- Choosing the right attitude/mindset/emotional vibration.
- Choosing to work on my priorities, and not fill my time with busy tasks.
- Scheduling time daily to think and plan for growth, both personal and professional.
- Being committed to following through on my obligations to others.
- Intentionally being generous with my time, and resources/showing gratitude to people who inspire me.
- Live out my values.
This powerful list will help determine how you spend your time moving forward. Just like the rudder on a ship, incorporating small changes in our daily habits will determine how productive we are each day. We must be mindful to make each day count.
- Step 3 – Create a life vision statement. Most people have created vision boards. It’s all fine and dandy to have photos of a new house, and a new car, or starting a family, but the vision statement is more than that. It is the essence of the life you would LOVE to live. Take time to reflect and ponder, where you are now and where you want to be.
Visualize all of the aspects of the life you want, imagine how it would feel, consider how you would dress, places you would go, how people would respond to you, opportunities that would be available to you. Our mind processes in pictures, so to really cement the vision into your subconscious, you need to be as vivid as possible. Boil it down to 2 – 3 short sentences so it is easy to recite and recall. Back it up with photos on your updated vision board.
Once, you have defined your ideal life, then look outside of yourself to create a mission statement. How do you want to contribute to the world around you? How will you share your talents? Who will you impact? Again, this should be boiled down to a few short bullet points. Easy to remember, but a vivid picture for your mind to process. Add these photos to your vision board for reinforcement.
As I’m sure you can imagine, there are many more intentional living strategies that I’ve outlined in this short article. Taking time to define your top six daily priorities, and creating a vision and mission statement will lay a foundation for future action. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start small, and as new routines become habits, continue to evaluate where you can elevate your life by incorporating additional strategies to design a life you truly LOVE!