The Coach's Corner

Being intentional

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #31

I am not a huge fan of cold weather, and living in Colorado at this time of year makes it difficult to avoid snow, freezing temperatures and strong winds. Since I have no desire to hunker down for the next three months and live like a hermit, I have to be intentional about how I prepare to face the outdoors.

Every morning and evening my husband and I bundle up to get out for a walk with our dog. We are dressed for whatever weather might hit us, with my husband practically singing for joy in the frigid cold while I do my best to muster some appreciation for the beauty. Truthfully, I’m especially thankful for my hat, gloves, scarf, warm jacket and snow pants.

Aware that I cannot control the weather, I recognize I do have control over how I show up in that weather so that I can function and thrive, and even enjoy cross country skiing!

This theme of being intentional has been weaving its way through many coaching sessions already this year and I’d like to share a few with you!

THIS WEEK’S INSIGHT

That’s a lot of responsibility!

When Gina showed up this week, she breathed a deep sigh of relief as we began our conversation.

Do you know what I am realizing? It’s a lot of work to pay attention and listen when my boss asks me to do a specific task. But now that I’m actually paying attention, I’m getting it the first time around. It’s not that I didn’t care before, I simply wasn’t focusing.

For Michael, who is thriving in an elevated role in his org, he marveled at what happened when he chose to focus on what would make his work more challenging and meaningful.

Remember when I told you I was going to reflect on what I really wanted to do in this company? Well, I went out this week and researched what others in my field are doing and what they’re making. From there I crafted a plan for how I could add more value to my team and the org. And when I presented it to the SVP, I was rewarded with a six month plan to bring my initiative to reality.

This is the power of being intentional, doing something you want or plan to do.

One year ago, Toni worked on a mission statement to clarify how she approached her work and her life. When we met to launch this new year, we re-visited that mission statement to find that she nailed many of the objectives she set out to accomplish.

I recall feeling it was so bold to put out a mission statement, for me! And here we are seeing the results. Funny how leaning into what I know I do well gave me the confidence to act on those strengths. Wow! I can’t wait to put together this year’s mission statement!

When Jeff and I began our coaching journey, he doubted how being intentional with his time would make any difference in how he managed his daily life. But as his feelings of being overwhelmed with running a significant project started to consume his life and work, he decided to reconsider.

Being regimented reminded me of my college basketball days, and I didn’t want to go back there. But I remembered that even then, I knew how to manage myself. Now that I’m paying attention to the amount of work I need to assign, accomplish and ignore – I’m getting through my days without feeling like I’m behind the eight-ball.

There’s a lot of responsibility in being intentional. It doesn’t happen overnight, instead it begins with small and actionable steps.

THIS WEEK’S TOOL

Morning gratitude

Last year, I had the pleasure of being part of a workshop led by Dr. Amit Sood, founder and executive director of the Global Center for Resiliency and Wellbeing.

He shared a unique approach to dealing with uncertainty, wanting to be more intentional and building stronger relationships. “How do you start your day?” he asked as he offered a morning gratitude practice, and shared the advantages:

  • More positive emotions
  • Better attention
  • Greater intentionality
  • Feeling connected to others
  • Improved relationships

    As soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed, let your first thought be one of gratitude. Start with a few deep breaths and then think about five people in your life you’re grateful for. While breathing in slowly and deeply, bring the first person’s face in front of your closed eyes. Try to “see” this person as clearly as you can. Then send him or her silent gratitude while breathing out, again slowly and deeply. Repeat this exercise with five people. Avoid rushing through the experience. Relish the few seconds you spend remembering them. This practice will help you focus on what’s most important in your life and provide context to your day. At an opportune time, let your loved ones and friends know about your morning gratitude practice. Won’t it be nice for them to know that even if you are a thousand miles away, your first thought of the day is gratitude for them?
    ― Dr. Amit SoodThe Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living


My takeaway

I so appreciate Dr. Sood’s morning gratitude practice – which I embrace on a regular basis. It’s part of how I ignite intentionality in my life, especially when I’m feeling ‘blah.’

Looking at this coming year, being intentional encourages me to be more realistic about my next steps. This involves paying attention to detail, focusing on what I want to work on and showing up ready to dive in. For better or for worse.

In sharing the photo of how I choose to experience snow with a smile, let me repeat that’s because I’m prepared for the weather. I have so much empathy for those of you who can’t stand the cold – and I would never push you outside. But if you’re thinking about it…I’m here to say it is possible.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Thank you, Arthur Ashe.

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