What’s Your Intention?

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This is the time of year when we spend time thinking ahead—whether we do so professionally through the business planning process or personally by making New Year’s resolutions. Plans and resolutions both ask us to be clear about how we want to use our time and what we want to focus on. In my role leading the Practice Management team at Commonwealth, we often speak of setting SMART goals—those that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bounded. But there’s another dimension that correlates with goal setting—and that’s intention.

Exploring Your Intention

In the coaching world, the word intention is a big deal between client and coach. You may remember your own coach asking you about yours. Basically, intention is one’s determination to act in a certain way. Putting it in the context of setting and achieving goals, without intention, the process can be rather flat if all you do is tick items off a list or, worse, brag about the multimillion-dollar 401(k) client you just landed or your expensive marketing budget. But if you focus equally on the goal and how you want to behave while you go about achieving it, you’ve raised the bar for yourself!

When talking with a friend recently, I discovered (or rediscovered?) that a key component underlying intention is attitude. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the competition of life—competition for clients, recognition, approval, budget, staff, promotions, raises, airtime, and so on. What if we chose instead to simply assume that there is an abundance of opportunities to go around for everyone? How would that change our intention as we work on pursuing our goals? You might find that being intentional helps you frame your goals so that, when you achieve them, you’re proud of the way you went about it.

This brings me back to this time of year. Do you think someone designed the holidays on purpose? First, Thanksgiving helps us to see and be grateful for the abundance we enjoy. Then, New Year’s helps us plan ahead, with hope and intention about our design for the future.

Joni Youngwirth_2014 for webJoni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management

Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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