#ShowingUp with Anese Cavanaugh

Using Reflection & Intention to Create a Productive 2009

NOTE: This article is part of a bigger article released to DTE Community Members. You can access this full article and additional articles by registering in the box in the upper right hand corner of this page.

The end of the year provides us a great opportunity to reflect on the previous year, pull learning and have it support the next year.

Whether for myself or my clients, I find that the more reflective we can be at the end of the year, and the more intentional we can be going forward, the stronger our foundation for what’s next. Of course this isn't limited to just year to year reflection, this also can apply to project to project, client to client, event to event, etc.

In fact, we can take the big challenges, lost opportunities and fears of the previous year, pull the learning, and even convert them into "Best Practices and Intentions" to help create a powerful New Year.

Why is this important? It enables us to come from a place of growth and power, to build deeper relationships and to create better results moving forward. It puts us in a self-responsible and intentional mindset that creates results, vs. an unintentional mindset that regrets (or avoids) “failures” or mistakes, and waits for results.

Done individually, it honors ourselves and who we’ve been in our business, life and leadership the last year. Done with our team (or spouse/partner/etc.) it honors what we’ve done together, where we’ve grown, and what we’ll do next. It basically sets us up for greater success and yes, of course, greater engagement.

Here are some examples from the areas of business, life and leadership with possible Best Practices (BP) or mindset checks for each:

1. No matter how much time we have, we'll fill it. So best to be really intentional with how we use it. (“BP” Result: Monthly & Weekly Priority Checks individually and as team.)

2. Creating white space in our calendar is essential for keeping a clear, creative, healthy and engaged mind. (“BP” Result: Monthly “White Space” Blocks - offsite, out of my normal element.)

3. As easy as it can be to get pulled into trying to do it all, there is no substitute for taking a step back and engaging team and others for help. (“BP” Result: Ask questions - Am I engaging my team appropriately here? Who can do this better? Who would love to do this? Integrate into bi-monthly team meeting to discuss projects & processes.)

4. Taking care of our well-being is essential to our success and being able to be in full service of those around us. (“BP” Result: Clean eating, regular workouts and sleep are non-negotiable.)

5. Gratitude makes the world go round, no matter how scary, uncertain or stressful life gets. (“BP” Result: Challenging or frustrating situation, relationship, project or feedback? Ask: What am I grateful for in this situation? What is the gift?)

6. Matters of attitude, heart and spirit are contagious, so be responsible for impact and attitude. (“BP” Result: Honor the opportunity for practicing conscious engagement. Be aware of and response-able for impact, and do best to help things go right.)

7. Much is out of our control --- and much is not. No matter how challenging or uncertain a situation may be. No matter how much is out of our control, we do have the power to control how we show up, what we choose to do with information, and how we take care of ourselves. We can control how much we contribute to helping things go better or worse, how we see people, how we choose to engage (or not.) And we can control whether we hang back or whether we lead. (“BP” Result: Inquire - "Am I doing my part? Am I showing up at my best in this situation? Have I done everything I can?")

These are some of mine*, they’re also common themes I see with others. Can you see how pulling the high level learning and themes, and putting a “best practice/reminder” in place turns a challenging situation into a productive one moving forward? See one that fits you? Feel free to integrate it. Nothing here for you? Create your own in a way that resonates for you.

The bottom line is this: Who knows what’s going to happen in 2009 with the economy, our businesses, our relationships, etc., who knows? BUT, there’s an opportunity to contribute to helping things go right for ourselves and our organizations and it’s amazing what can happen when we fully engage and take the reigns.

Most people set New Year’s Resolutions at this time of year (and then are disappointed when they’re off track by 1/20.) Doing a “Reflection & Intention Session” sets you up for creating mindset and best practices that can actually stick because you have history and usually a visceral connection to them. Try it, and create your 2009…Imagine the possibilities.

*To access this full article which includes the formula for doing the "Reflection & Intention Session", please register in the box on the upper right hand corner of this page.