Setting intentions for Q4

September is a great month to refocus and reset for the quarter ahead. Whether you enjoy goal setting or not, if you don’t know what you are aiming for then you can drift. I like to focus on “intention setting” rather than goal setting. The concept helps me to initially focus on the outcome rather than how I am going to get there. This also helps you look at the bigger picture too. 

Each New Year’s Eve I create an intentions board which is a visual reminder of the year ahead and what I want to achieve. The pictures are not necessarily specific, instead they have meaning and intention behind them. I find it useful to look at this picture regularly and talk through with my own coach my progress around these intentions. 

In this blog we will explore intention setting further, through a set of questions to get you thinking about your own intentions. Grab an hour in the diary away from the desk with a pen and paper and see what this brings for you.

What can you learn from this year so far?

Take a moment to reflect on this year so far. What have been your standout moments and why? Whether these moments are positive or setbacks, they give us clues as to what to change or continue to do. Here are some examples from others to get you thinking of yours:

  • “I am more strategic if I create a few hours a week of white space. This has helped me be more creative and create more long-term thinking for my business area.”
  • “I am more resilient than I realised. Despite multiple personal setbacks I have continued to be successful at work.”
  • “I can manage my finances well by budgeting more consciously.”
  • “I have stepped out and created time for new hobbies – this has had a knock-on effect for my overall sense of well-being.”
  • “I have been more honest with my team about my own vulnerabilities for example how I feel about the economic climate. This has created trust and a more open environment.”

What do you want to happen in the key areas of your life?

Without considering how you might make it happen, focus solely on the end outcome. Don’t worry too much about making it too specific at this stage, just write down or talk through what your ideas are. I find this stage in coaching others extremely powerful as people get clarity on what really matters to them. Saying it out loud gives it more energy than just thinking it. 

Instead of only focusing on work goals, consider the key aspects of your life you want to focus on so this is a holistic approach to planning. These might include:

  • Work/Career
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Self-Development
  • Relationships 

Here are some examples of intentions to get you started:

  • Achieving a promotion
  • Being honest about what you want next with your organisation and working to make it happen
  • Asking for new projects to enhance a certain skill
  • Influencing in a different way
  • Having a better work life balance
  • Studying for a new qualification
  • Spending more time with the family
  • Leaving work at work
  • Moving country or location
  • Visiting new places
  • Having a better relationship with certain people at work

What strengths do you naturally have that you can use?

Once we have identified some intentions for the quarter, focusing on the natural strengths you already have is useful, as we can use these to start to make things happen. For example, if one of your intentions is to network more externally, and your natural strengths are relationship building and creativity, then you can use both of these to optimise your impact in this area. Another example may be an intention to manage some poor performance in the team – if your natural strength is around courage as well as compassion, then combining the two to have some honest conversations may prove useful. 

What systems do you need to put in place to realise the intentions?

Create a system that works for you. This could be about creating time to regularly review them, through coaching for example, or a visual as I described earlier, or perhaps through a written document. Having a regular process to reflect will enable you to move towards your intentions as well as adjust along the way.

How will you celebrate success?

We often achieve great things and then simply move on to the next intention. I encourage everyone I work with to take a pause moment to celebrate. Celebration means different things for all of us – this could simply be acknowledging the work you put in, or it could be giving yourself a reward. Acknowledging our successes helps us push through the next set of intentions with even more confidence. 

I wonder what you have taken from this blog? If you would like to know more about how coaching and intention setting can support you and your team then please get in touch to arrange a no obligation initial consultation.

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