Ever notice that when you’re trying to adapt, evolve, shift, or even rise up from the ashes, going back to the basics is the best place to begin? I found this to be true today. I had planned to work on my new book first thing this morning, but instead chose to take some time to be still, reflect, and record some important ideas and thoughts. What did I want to see up ahead in the midst of all this chaos, change, and uncertainty? With my dog Maggie at my feet, a cup of coffee and a journal at the ready, and a juicy pen in hand, I sat out on my back deck listening to the birds and allowed the ideas and possibilities to present themselves.
To be clear, I wasn’t just thinking about me and what my world is going to look like as the weeks, months, and even years unfold after “This” (The Great Cheese Moving, if you read last week’s post). I was thinking about you, too. I wondered…what you are going to need during these challenging times? And also when the storm has past? What steps could I take to help you move forward into some kind of “New Normal”?
This priceless reflection time today prompted me to go back and review the first few chapters of my book, The Intentional Networker. For those of you who have read my book, attended one of my events, or seen me present, you may recognize the Intentional Networker questions I share below. (Hint: they aren’t just about networking.) I use these frequently and find them to be invaluable. When I take the time to use them, I find my life, work and relationships are so much better, energizing, and meaningful. I hope, if you haven’t already found what I share below useful, you will consider thinking about them now during these unprecedented times. There is no going back to the way things once were. What will your future look like? Will you have some say in this? Or fall into default mode?
The Intentional Networker Basics
Know Who You Are and What You Believe In.
- Who are you ? Right now, in this phase of your life / career? And during these interesting times?
- What are your strengths, gifts, talents? What value do you bring to the world using these?
- How or where have you grown or changed in the last several years? Or in the last several weeks? Or even days?
- What have you experienced, learned, tried, or even endured that has made you stronger, wiser, more open, or just different?
- What are your current beliefs, philosophies, and priorities? What do you hold most dear today?
- Who do you most admire or see as role models – and why? These offer clues as to what you most admire in yourself. Yes! Isn’t that cool?
Know What You Want: Set Your Vision, Intentions, and Goals.
- What’s your Vision (a.k.a., the Big Picture)? Put another way, what will success or “great” look like for you in the coming weeks, months, years? In other words, what will make you look back and say, “Yeah! I got it right.” Sure, it may seem like dreaming and envisioning is senseless now, but try it anyway. Go big. Get creative. Dare to embrace possibilities.
- Break your Vision out into the various facets of your life: work, family, friends, home, creative pursuits, spirituality, health and fitness, community service, finances, etc.
- Do an inventory. Which of these facets are in good order? Which need some tweaking or attention to get to “great”? Or even just to “better”?
- What are your Intentions? In other words, what choices will you make (or what actions will you take) to support you Vision? You might prompt yourself here with the words “I intend to…” and follow that with a bulleted list. I use this exercise a lot – very powerful!
- What are your Goals? What measurable, time-bound action items, To Do’s, and tasks do you need to put on your list (and actually do) that will support your Vision and Intentions? This segment is often a revelation. Our To Do Lists tend to fill up with “junk projects”, busy work, and errands that don’t really support what we truly want.
Show Up in Alignment with Who You Are and What You Want.
- How do you need to “show up” in order to support your Vision and Intentions? It’s so interesting how often we think and talk about who are say we are, what we say we believe in, and what we say we want. Yet we don’t do much to support it. This dissonance erodes trust with ourselves and with those around us. We all do this. For example, I’d love to lose a few pounds, but I sure enjoy putting cream and sugar in my coffee! And chocolate and wine are keeping me sane right now. Dissonance City.
Focus on Quality over Quantity.
- How can you focus more on quality (rather than quantity) in everything you do? This can include the thoughts you think, activities you partake in, foods you eat, projects you take on, people you hang out with, TV shows and movies you watch, books you read, clothes you wear, items you buy, and so on. Even the words that come out of our mouths can be upgraded.
- What needs to be upgraded, fixed, released, removed, backed away from, delegated, or even banished because it no longer “works”? De-cluttering isn’t just about our closets!
If you take the time to consider these questions, you may find the experience to be both powerful and eye-opening. Not only will you begin to see new ways to Live, Work & Connect at a Higher Level(tm), you may also discover how much time, energy, and resources you’ve been spending, perhaps even squandering, on activities, projects, and pursuits that really aren’t that important. Perhaps they will also help you navigate what we’re going through as well as what’s around the corner, whatever that is.
Stay tuned! In addition to writing my next book, I’m developing small group coaching circles, workshops, and retreats – both virtual and live. I think you’ll find these interesting, comforting, and filled with potential. Meaningful and intentional conversations, connections, and communities are going to be more important to us than ever. Want to know more or just schedule a visit? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.