Some people like to set words for the year.
I’ve done it before. It can be a really useful way to keep your focus, something to come back to whenever you need a little reinforcement that you’re on the right path, or direction for decision-making.
I didn’t set myself any words this year.
Part of the reason is probably that I like a lot of words. Any friend or colleague of mine will tell you I’m actually not into narrowing stuff down too much – I like options. I understand the value of focus and specificity, but I prefer to achieve that in a different way.
I have been playing around with setting intentions, though.
I’ve been doing it monthly, mostly in conjunction with the New Moon. I typically use the astrology of the time for some direction, but not always. Really, it’s just another way to grab some focus, but it’s in a way that’s so much more aligned with how I operate. It’s not too narrow, it’s not too limiting, forcing me to commit to one thing for a whole year, it gives me something to concentrate on for one month at a time, and it provides the opportunity to pivot and evolve as the center shifts or seasons and energies ebb and flow. And what’s really cool is, so far, each monthly intention continues to build on the last in exciting and inspiring ways.
In December, my intention was to let go and trust. I spent most of the last year wading through muck – so much muck. I made some bad decisions, some big investments that didn’t see a return. I tried my best to learn from my missteps and refocus and move on. I listened to more bad advice and lost my voice. And then, I beat myself up for all of it. Like I said, muck.
And while I am supportive of a limited period of wallowing, that’s not a sustainable state to live in. So finally, it all came down to this time of the year that I love, with a beautiful focus on the present. Time to stop harping on the past, rehashing shit I can’t change, release and move forward. Let go and trust. As I meditated and reflected on this monthly intention, here’s what I came up with:
Let go and trust. Presence. Emphasize expansion.
There is more for you if you wallow there to be more. If you let go and trust, it’s there. Everything you can imagine can be your reality – if you release the expectations, stop the chase, detach.
Let go and trust.
The biggest thing I am judging is myself and where I’m at or where I’m not. That holds me back and only expands me negatively, in the directions I do not want to go.
Let it go and trust, and you’ll move forward.
Maybe it seems a little foofy to you, but it changed the course of my life and business pretty much instantly. I wrote “let go and trust” absolutely everywhere throughout the month. I wrote about it. I made social media posts about it. I told friends about it. I talked to my husband about it. It’s scribbled in every notebook and planner multiple times. And while it’s a huge challenge for me to do these very things, narrowing that focus for one single month made it much, much easier for me to do.
Come January, I was in a totally different spot, no longer mired in muck. That first intention was such a great place to start. Was I able to let everything go completely? No. Hell no. There were still some vulnerable moments of self-recrimination. But overall, yeah, I was feeling a lot more trusting of myself, which is a great place to jump off from when you’re ready for growth.
Turns out, this particular January was absolutely RIPE with get-it-done energy. Dream big, sure. But plan it, do it, get to work. I was so amped for it. Seriously, when you’ve been wading around up to your knees in a freaking bog for so long, as soon as you step out onto a dry shore and start walking again with no mud…you feel like you can run faster and farther and easier than ever before, anywhere you want to go. And indeed, that’s basically what it came down to for me. January’s intention?
Put it together, then add 20%.
My (slightly embarrassing) journal notes:
The reflecting and restoring and letting go has done its job. Things are clearer. The foundation is stronger. Now it’s time to build.
You’ve got unlimited resources to build this house – where house = life + business. Make it into your dream home, surrounded by your most engaging and energizing environment, with the doors always open to all the people who want to hang out. These views are gorgeous.
You have nothing to fear and nothing to lose in that 20%.
Do you have any idea how scary going for 20% more feels? Even making an ask is full of trepidation. And then what happens when you actually get it? Whatever the 20% more looks like, that part is scary too.
Because that broad stuff is big and scary, I even broke it down further.
And here’s where it gets fun. Practical application of intentions and dreams and affirmations can be tough, right? It’s great to have this stuff for focus, but you can’t just say stuff out into the world and expect it to happen. (Trust, I’ve been guilty of that in the past.) So, OK, how am I going to actually execute this super aligned intention for the month?
I thought about it some more, and my clarity was readily available right at the surface:
- Remember you’re not bothering anyone with more content in more places. They can opt out. (ie: REVOLUTIONARY.)
- So, more content in more places.
- Balance that indoor work with purposeful outdoor work. (ie: Online content creation and sharing is great, but real-life connection is equally as important.)
- And bring all of you to the outdoor work, no matter what or where or with who. People can opt out of that too. (ie: Quit censoring yourself and tying everything up with a neat little bow. Be who you are.)
- Block your time and block your distractions, with help and accountability if needed. (See: what to do when the distractions become too much.)
- Make a list at the beginning of each week:
- Non-negotiable tasks
- Non-negotiable content
- In-person meetings
A month later, and again, one intention built on another to significantly change my life and business. (And my attitude, which frankly, really needed to happen.) But there had to be hows.
There had to be action. And ultimately, that comes down to not all that much focus on the intention (or goal) itself, but rather, the systems and processes and parameters you put in place to make that intention a reality.
Every one of these bullet points for me had a root. I’m happy to go into more detail of those, if you’re interested, but I’ll do my best to summarize here: fear. So then, each actual step in my action plan had to address those fears in a tangible way. I made that clear, laid it out, executed, and look at me putting it together + adding 20%!
I’m publishing content on my website twice a week vs. the once I had been doing. I started a YouTube Channel and am publishing new videos once per week. I’ve all but quit social media, and I’m using it only in ways that actually feel good to me vs. trying to incorporate strategy that doesn’t fit with my business model. I’m back to setting meetings anywhere from two to five times per week to expand my network and build relationships in meaningful ways, personally and professionally. I’m making my list each week and each day, I’m blocking my time, and I’m using an app to help retrain myself through the distractions. And in every bit of it, I’m releasing the need for validation and likability. I’m settling into my groove, and that means what you see is what you get, direct, deep, a little woo (but not, like, WOO!!!), and overall, a whole lot less “what the internet tells me I should be” and a whole lot more actually me.
If they don’t like it, they can opt out.
I can hardly believe giving myself that permission has made such a change so quickly, but it has. And combining it with that focus on adding 20%? 2019 is in overdrive.
I met with one of the most inspiring and motivating women I know this week and told her about this intention, along with my processes for executing it. You know what she said?
Hey, make it 25.
Indeed. Make it 25. Why not?
What could possibly happen if we push for more of what we’re dreaming of?
If we ask more of ourselves? If we give ourselves permission to show up unafraid?
Yep, it starts out scary. I’m not saying I’m not scared of the unknown, of the things I’ve never done before, of failure. But still, having that intention, knowing where to direct your effort, and then laying out the day-to-day processes for that effort makes it a whole lot less scary. That’s how this stuff works. It’s not the goal, it’s what you do to make it a reality. And in a short period of time, it’s gotten me a hefty dose of progress from dream to actuality – plus 25%. You’ll get the same.
So, in the end, I still don’t have a word for the year. I’ve got several:
They can opt out.
And while those particular concepts and intentions and their applications may or may not apply to whatever you’re focusing on for the year (though they probably do in some way and you can totally steal them), I imagine that the intention -> action plan concept does. Either way, here’s the full takeaway:
Get aggressive, and do it your way.
If you feel this but it still sounds real scary? Schedule a call with me anytime to amp up your 20%.