“This is the year I’ll change my life. I’ll upgrade my career. I’ll get the raise I deserve. I’ll push for that promotion. This is it!”
You’ve thought it. You’ve dreamt about it. You wanted it. Now it’s time to act – learn how to set intentions in 3 simple steps, and make 2017 your year!
The life of an executive professional involves a lot of juggling, and it can be hard to remember to take time for yourself. Personal development isn’t self-help books and pity parties; it’s about prioritizing yourself and knowing what you need to move forward. By setting your intentions – taking the time to consider what you’d like to achieve, and how you plan to do it – you can create a road map for your own success, whatever that means to you.
Intention setting is more than jotting down your whims on your morning commute: “NOTE TO SELF: BE A BETTER PERSON.” It’s a process that can be used to help you clarify what you’d like to improve in your life, in all areas – relationships, family, personal skills, and of course, career. If you want to give your career a kick, consider setting your intentions in 2017.
Before We Begin
Tell your assistant to block out at least an hour in your calendar one night, and put all distractions aside. No phone calls. No emails. No Netflix. Just you, and your thoughts. If you’d like to draw on any resources to help you figure out your plan of attack, assemble them in advance – an old letter of recommendation from a former employer, plans and brainstorms you’ve had about your own career, passion projects or hobbies… any extra reminders of what drives you. (Optional: soothing Spotify playlists and a scented candle. But to each his own.)
Go analog, put pen to paper. Whether it’s a trusty Moleskein, or some markers and a large sheet of paper, the goal is to see all of your thoughts in one place. Express the thoughts as they come. Then, it’s time to get down to business. Let us show you how.
Step 1. Think about your career.
Consider all aspects of your career, in the broadest scope. Write down whatever words come to mind.
- Reflect on your successes, your failures.
- What made your successes possible?
- What contributed to your failures?
- What do you think of your performance in your current position?
- What would past employees and employers say about you?
- How does their view of you align or differ from your own view of yourself?
Step 2. Ask yourself: Where do you want to be?
Map out your journey to this point. (If the word “journey” feels too crunchy for you, just think of it as a visual resume.)
- If you could set the path for the future, what milestones would you include?
- Over the whole span of your professional working life, what trajectory has your career taken?
- What do you see for yourself in the future?
- Attending a large conference in your industry?
- Another promotion?
- Leadership of a different company?
- Starting your own business?
- What steps would you need to take to achieve each goal?
- Who could help you to take each step?
- What habits do you need to improve, or eliminate, to get where you want to go?
There are no right or wrong answers – the key here is to determine your vision for the future. Once you determine your own “needs,” you can start to formulate them into concrete goals. Look for patterns and recurring themes!
Step 3. Set your intentions!
You may be surprised at what comes to light. It’s now time to “set intentions.” Based on your findings, create statements that will guide the way to achieving goals – for this next year, and the next, and the rest of your career. Frame your wishes as statements, based on your findings:
|I am good in my field, but I want to be great.||To become great in my field, I will attend more industry conferences this year.|
|I am friendly to my employees, but I want to command more respect.||I will adjust my leadership skills this year.|
|I am happy at my company, but I want to push past my comfort zone.||I will look for a new position at another leading firm this year.|