Over the last few years, I've considered myself more of an author than a speaker. A few months ago, as I finished up my latest book on mental strength, I decided to become more intentional about my the speaking aspect of my career.

Like many nonfiction authors, I've been invited to a variety of speaking gigs. I was fortunate that meeting planners and CEOs learned about my work through interviews I've done or the articles and books I've written. But I'd never been intentional about the speaking aspect of my business. 

While I waited for my publisher to put the finishing touches on my book, I decided it was a great time to pay more attention to the speaking aspect of my business. And as soon as I become more intentional about my speaking career, my efforts paid off.

I received more invitations to speak in the month of September than I did in all of 2017. But that spike in speaking opportunities didn't happen by accident. I set goals and took action to make it happen.

Do you have career aspirations that you'd like to address "someday?" Getting more intentional about your goals will make it happen. 

How to Become More Intentional

It's easy to say you hope to earn more money or that you want to expand your business. But vague comments like that won't get you anywhere.

If you want to create change, you need to get specific. Identify a clear goal that you want to become more intentional about reaching. Then, follow these steps to turn your intention into action:

  1. Write down your goal. Seeing your goal in writing makes it real. So jot down your goal and store it in a place where you'll be able to look at it. Make it your computer wallpaper, hang it on the fridge, or tape it to your bathroom mirror.
  2. Identify short-term objectives. Break down a big goal into small objectives that are attached to a timeline, such as "I'm going to build a website in 30 days. Then, get to work.
  3. Track your progress. Whether you put a checkmark on the calendar each time you hit the gym or you create a chart that shows how much debt you've paid off, find a way to track your progress. You'll be more likely to stay motivated when you're tracking the progress you're making toward your goals.
  4. Keep the big picture in mind. When an opportunity presents itself to you, ask yourself if it will help you reach your goal. This can ensure that you're staying open to new opportunities that might not have been part of your original plan.

Be Intentional, But Stay Flexible

Becoming intentional does have a potential drawback. You run the risk of missing the opportunities right in front of your face because your head is down working on your goals.

I see this sort of thing in my therapy office all the time. People sometimes inadvertently sabotage themselves because they want to reach their goals according to the exact plan they set for themselves. 

I once worked with someone who became intentional about paying off his debt. He became obsessed with saving money every chance he could.

He cut corners in all the wrong places, however. To reduce his health insurance costs, he switched to a high deductible plan. A few months later, he developed a bad cough but he refused to go to the doctor because he didn't want to waste money.

By the time he sought treatment, he was so sick that he had to spend several days in the hospital on IV antibiotics. His doctor told him they likely could have treated his respiratory infection on an outpatient basis if he'd come in sooner.

So while it's important to be focused on your goal, it's equally important to look at the big picture. Don't become so intentional about your efforts that you inadvertently sabotage your chances of success.