Rushing from meeting to meeting, moving from task to task, entrepreneurs can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of distractions, thoughts, and emotions. This preoccupation can keep you from performing at your best, enjoying time with others, and keeping in touch with your passion and purpose.
Are you able to remain in the moment and be intentional about most of what you do, or do you usually have a distracting, noisy dialogue going on in your head? If you're an entrepreneur, it's most likely the latter.
That's why asking yourself this simple, four-word question prior to taking each next step throughout your day will change your life. No, I'm not being overly dramatic; I'm serious. I made this fifteen-second (or less) process a part of my life many years ago and the difference between me then and now is dramatic. Ready for it? Here you go:
What is my intent?
Yes, it's that simple, but it's also powerful to set your intentions for every segment of your day. It may be a project, a meeting or event, arriving safely at your destination, or engaging in a difficult conversation. A habit of intentions throughout your day will bring clarity to everything you do, and why you're doing it. Be very intentional about whatever is coming next in your day.
Here's what setting intentions will do for you.
Imagine driving to a coffee meeting. Instead of concentrating on what's ahead, your head is filled with noisy chatter about what you left behind. What am I forgetting? How am I going to catch up? Darn, I forgot to call so-and-so. I really need to get that PowerPoint done today.
These may be legitimate concerns, but what deserves 100 percent of your attention (beyond getting safely to your destination) is the prospect who is awaiting an engaging discussion.
By focusing your intentions on who you want to be during this meeting, and what you wish to achieve, you will program your subconscious to send gentle reminders throughout the meeting when you get off track. For instance, if you get caught up talking about yourself rather than listening to your prospect, you'll get a little internal nudge to bring you back to your original intent. If your mind drifts, your intent will pop into your head to help you shift gears quickly. Rather than leave the meeting only to realize that you monopolized the conversation, you'll leave fully aware of your prospect's needs. You will also have made a favorable impression on them, which certainly tips the scales in your favor.
The most important thing to consider when you give intent to the next part of your day is to consider your values and what's most important to you. This means going beyond money and getting things crossed off of your to-do list. Here are a few examples:
Meeting someone new.
I intend to show genuine interest in this person. I will listen intently, ask pertinent questions, and make a meaningful contribution to the conversation. I will remain present and focused and offer whatever information I am invited to offer in a concise, yet powerful, manner. I intend for the outcome of this meeting to be in the best interest of all concerned.
Having a difficult conversation:
I intend to remain calm and focused on the best possible outcome for all concerned. I will make room for a two-way dialogue and will keep the other person's feelings and interests in mind. I will set my boundaries yet remain compassionate and attentive. I choose to let go of any preconceived beliefs about this person, so the conversation will be truthful, fair, and balanced.
Getting a project done.
For the next two hours, I intend to remain focused and dedicated to the positive outcome of this project. I will block out any distractions, avoid temptations to procrastinate, and be receptive to new ideas and solutions.
Here are some things to remember when setting intentions.
Don't be rigid in your attachment to a specific outcome.
Wonderful things happen when we are flexible and open to new ideas and ways of doing things. Attachment results in a singular, rigid focus and does not allow for growth. Just intend for things to work out exactly as they are meant to and notice the new opportunities coming your way.
Consider your purpose, vision, and values.
Sure, you're in business to make money, but there's more to it than that. Remember your why. Keep your values in mind. Remember that when you have empathy, remain strong, and allow room for change, people will be drawn to you as a leader.
Set intentions throughout your day, no matter how small.
When I get into my car I set an intention to arrive at my destination safely and without incident. Prior to working with a client, I create an intention specifically with them in mind. When I set out to have a fun evening with friends I do it with the intent to let go of anything that causes preoccupation or stress. Fun is a serious business after all!
Doing this will not only get you in the habit of intention setting but enhances your opportunity to fully immerse in every life experience--because that's what life is all about.