#WorkTrends Recap: How to Live with More Intention in 2018

Happy New Year! Looking ahead at 2018, our team is inspired to take a step back and double-check our intentions for our work.

In December, I talked to Paul Cummings on the #WorkTrends podcast, and I’m still thinking about the strategies and tips he shared for living a more intentional life.

If you have a big idea for 2018, or just want to reset your day, try out Paul’s tips.

Build Your Intention. Ask Yourself These Questions

Ask yourself: “What do I really want?”
The answer might be very simple. Paul says that when he asked himself this question years ago, the answer was “I want to leave it better than I found it.”

Then ask: “How?” and “Who?”
Paul wanted to improve the world around him by teaching, and he wanted to work with anyone who was seeking a more compelling journey.

And finally: “What will I do?”
It’s important that the “what” of Paul’s business didn’t come first. He started with his goals and his intentions, and then figured out how to make it happen and what nuts and bolts he needed to gather in order to build his business. In the end he landed on building a better learning management system, which led him to checking off all the boxes above.

Push Out Negative Influence

Paul shared an idea that I really love — inside every negative circumstance is the seed of something good. Instead of focusing on something bad, you just have to change the questions you ask about it. If you’re feeling stressed by a negative person at work, or bogged down by an overwhelming problem, ask yourself questions like “What can I do differently next time to make it better?” “What do I need to do less of to have more of what I want?” “What can I do to make this moment better?”

“You can’t imprison yourself in negative circumstances,” Paul says. “I think outlook has a lot to do with output.”

It’s important to keep your outlook clear and positive by limiting the impact of negative people. “Be careful about who you put in your circle. If you invite people who have a negative outlook then you’re going to get exposed to that.”

Amen! I’m a huge proponent of watching who’s around you and what energy they bring. Guard yourself against the negative and look for the windows of positivity and growth instead.

Start Every Day with Intention

Setting goals is the first step to building an intentional life. But instead of thinking about goal-setting as a one-time event, Paul explained that we have the chance to set mini-goals and set ourselves up for success every morning.

A morning routine is about getting disciplined. “I think the best way for people to get unstuck is to make sure they start every day with something that’s positive that can be repeated, that can be developed into a winning habit pattern for themselves,” he says.

“I think that goal-setting has been misunderstood for a long time. A goal is not a wish. It’s a commitment with a deadline. So many people talk about, ‘I know I should do that. I know I should do this,’ and they should, should, should, so they should all over themselves,” he says.

Instead, start your morning with statements like “I am” and “I will.”

“I will be the most enthusiastic person today.”
“I will be open-minded to ideas, and to conversations with other people.”
“I will operate today with self-discipline.”

Lose the Baggage

Looking ahead to a new year, I’m working on cutting ties to the baggage that brings me down. We all struggle with it, so I asked Paul how he leaves the bad stuff behind and moves forward.

His insight? “When you look back with regret, you look forward with worry and you destroy all your present moments.” Instead of fretting over the past, he’s learned to ask “What’s the lesson? How do I turn it into a stepping stone?” And instead of looking at the situation as baggage, he tries to turn it into an accelerant.

“I try to make it fuel for future fire.”

Embrace Every Day

Finally, Paul says he tries to embrace and use every single day. “I look at every day as if it’s the only one I have,” he says. He knows he can find promising minutes and moments in the day today — and tomorrow he’ll re-commit himself to embracing the day again.

At the end of the day he asks himself a few positive questions:
“What did I learn today?”
“What did I give today?”
“What impact do I want to have tomorrow, and how do I best achieve that?”

Thanks, Paul! I’m personally inspired to follow your advice to make 2018 my best year ever.

Stay tuned for more inspiration on the #WorkTrends podcast, every Wednesday:

#TChatHoliday: Sharing Warm Wishes, Community-Style!

The holidays are a perfect time to reflect upon the past year’s experiences, and look ahead to new opportunities — something the TalentCulture community does continuously.

But earlier this week, Kevin W. Grossman joined me for a brief hangout to compare notes about what it has meant to connect with all of you this year, what our holiday plans are, and best of all, why we’re so excited for 2014!

Of course, we’re not the only ones with ideas, plans and goodwill to share with the community. We’d love to hear from you, too!

Just leave a comment below — or post a tweet, photo or video from Vine or Instagram, and include the hashtag #TChatHoliday. As we roll into the New Year, we’ll curate and share your greetings, memories and aspirations for all to see.

THANK YOU for being part of our growing, thriving, continuous world of work conversation! We appreciate everyone who is helping us explore this new form of community building.

We hope that you enjoyed Hanukkah and Thanksgiving holidays. And we wish you a Merry Christmas, Heri za Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

Looking forward to our next #TChat on January 8 — but until then, make the most of this time to catch-up with those who matter most to you. Stay safe, and be merry!

Image credit: Kirkland’s

New Years Resolution For The "Over-Thinker"

My personal strategy is doing lots of evaluation on important things throughout the year to gauge what’s working and not working. These regular progress and results checks suggest a range of adjustments to make (along with their potential impacts). Afterward, I decide what to change.

Given this ongoing process, I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions; they seem too point-in-time to be effective. Handed the assignment of doing a December 31st TalentCulture post though, it’s a topic begging to be addressed.

Based on a recent panel discussion I attended of successful entrepreneurs, I think the perfect area for a 2011 New Year’s resolution is my penchant for systematic consideration, thought, and planning in business.

During the breakfast session, four entrepreneurs on the panel shared their strategies for innovation and planning. It was clear from hearing them that careful, systematic consideration about business decisions is WAY overrated.

How OVERRATED you may ask?

Here are some of their comments from my live tweets of the event:

THAT’S how overrated planning is according to these four.  Based on their track records, it’s hard to dispute what works for them.

Listening between the lines, four factors trigger their collective willingness to trade a lot less pondering for much more rapid implementation:

1.  An intuitive understanding of their businesses, customers, and markets

2.  Unwavering confidence in their abilities to sense, execute, succeed, recover (when they don’t succeed) amid opportunities that present themselves

3. A risk-embracing orientation

4. The flexibility start-ups can enjoy over bigger competitors

Looking at the list, I’m good at dissecting business situations, but my planning orientation comes from the need to anticipate multiple potential downsides (counter to #2) and risks (counter to #3) to minimize them. Having spent most of my career in a corporate setting, flexing ample resources is central to most business strategies (counter to #4).

So to challenge myself and develop my weaker skill sets, I’m entering 2011 with a new acronym emblazoned on my brain: BITP.

It stands for “Better Implementing Than Planning.”

Or “Pondering.”

Or both. You decide…RIGHT NOW!

I’m making 2011 the year of “Smart Immediacy” for me. If you’ve also been labeled an “over-thinker” in your career, I’d encourage you to join in.

The focus will be getting much better at quickly perceiving, evaluating, and deciding on opportunities to begin implementing on them much more rapidly and decisively. What will we do to improve?

  • Fully trust ourselves where we’ve already demonstrated success.
  • Limit the time allowed for planning for contingencies almost certain to never happen.
  • Look for opportunities to slice several steps from existing processes.
  • Embrace that decisions once made can be reversed if they don’t pan out as anticipated.

What do you think? Are you up for joining me on this new approach in 2011? Or if this is already your orientation, are you willing to share your guidance and suggestions?

Join in the year of “Smart Immediacy” starting RIGHT NOW!