Why We Should Focus On Intentions Rather Than Goals

Leo Babauta at Zen Habits makes the case that we should focus on intentions rather than goals to achieve what we want.

intentionAs you might know, I experimented with giving up goals after being very focused on goals for years. It was liberating, and it turns out, you don’t just do nothing if you don’t have a goal. You get up and focus on what you care about. Read more here. Instead, I’ve found it useful to focus less on the destination (goal) and instead focus on what your intention for each activity is. If you’re going to write something … instead of worrying about what the book will be like when you’re done, focus on why you want to write in the first place. If you are doing something out of love or to help others , for example, then you are freed from it needing to turn out a certain way (a goal) and instead can let it turn out however it turns out. I’ve found this way of working and living to be freeing and less prone to anxiety or procrastination.”

It is true that most of the literature is about setting goals and not necessarily about setting intentions. Personally I am still very much into goals. I am aware this approach requires a lot of personal discipline and is sometimes excessively straining. I certainly need to consider setting strong intentions instead!


Why, Intead of Staying Caterpillars, We Can All Become Butterflies

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly” – Buckminster Fuller, Author, Designer and Inventor

At the same time, unless there is an unfortunate accident, it is the inevitable destiny of the caterpillar to become a butterfly.

Many people are like caterpillars crawling around in life. Not many know they can become a butterfly. Many will stay caterpillars.

But when one knows it is possible to become a butterfly, unless of an unfortunate accident, they will become a butterfly. In their own way.

Let’s tell more people-caterpillars they have the capacity to become a butterfly.


What are the purposes of us to be in business – my own 10 purposes

Dear entrepreneurs, why on earth are we developing businesses?

businessLet’s start with 8 purposes to be in business (video) given out by Robin Sharma:

  1. Fulfill client dreams (market – 3 top dreams of customers)
  2. Remove Client Frustrations
  3. Refuel their joy
  4. Distribute Value (10x value obsession)
  5. Total Craft Mastery (TCM) (seeing work as your craft)
  6. Build a team of Picassos
  7. Scale a beautiful life for you and your loved ones
  8. To serve humanity and create a legacy

Most of these are worthy and I do certainly adhere to most although they might be a bit influenced by Robin Sharma’s coaching a focus. There seem to be some missing, in particular:

  • regarding the ability to choose one’s path (freedom) and to discover and explore new things and interests that come up as a result of my activity
  • the fact that the team is not only a team of gifted individuals, but also can deliver something great as a team

So, here’s my personal take on the 10 purposes to be in business:

  1. Fulfill client dreams and refuel their joy
  2. Remove Client Frustrations
  3. Distribute Value (10x value obsession)
  4. Personal Total Craft Mastery (seeing work as your craft)
  5. Build a team of worthwhile individuals that can express their talents (Picassos)
  6. Build a team that can achieve incredible things working as a team and expand one’s capabilities with that support
  7. Be free to choose your development path
  8. Be able to explore new untrodden avenues
  9. Scale a beautiful life for you and your loved ones
  10. To serve humanity and create a legacy

Any other purpose to be in business?


How to Deal With Life’s Key Decision

Even the most career driven and ambitious among us eventually come to a decision point, do we follow the norm and risk living lives filled with decisions made by others, or do we take responsibility for ourselves, to become fully engaged with the process of defining what matters and focusing on what’s in our control?” writes Valeria Maltoni in her blog.

decisionThis powerful question is at the core of our lives. Some of us take this decision early, some late, but we always take it. Most of us star their adult life on the path more or less chosen for them by their family, and then by the organization that has welcomed us, but at some stage we all ask ourselves the question and resolve it. It might be at retirement only, but the question is always there lurking in the dark.

This is life’s key decision point and it is a critical question to consider (and not to escape from). The way to deal with it is to face this question, because escaping from it may lead to depression, sadness and fear. This crisis will happen sooner or later so better anticipate it as much as possible.

Look at the question in the eye: “Do I want to keep following the norm and a life filled with decisions from others, or do I want to choose my own and take responsibility for myself?”. Scary, and necessary.


Why Benevolence is So Important in Today’s World

Benevolence means being well meaning and showing kindness. It is an older word that became a bit disused. The concept however, I believe, is becoming very important in today’s world.

benevolenceWe are always wondering what are the motives behind the actions of people. In particular in the daily office world, this question is always lurking behind in our minds. And this is becoming increasingly so.

However we know that some people, and some actions, are only motivated by goodwill and kindness that does not seek anything specific in return. We struggle sometimes to recognize this fact in particular in today’s fast paced environment full of unknown motives.

Showing and recognizing benevolence is an essential element of goodwill and credibility. It is important sometimes to do some actions without seeking any advantage, just for the pleasure of helping, supporting, creating stuff.

How much benevolence do you demonstrate on a day-to-day basis?


How to Overcome The Link Between Job and Identity

In the Industrial Age, job title was very much one’s social identity, in particular related to the position in pyramidal organization charts. In many countries like France, the studies (university, degree) and grade achievements was also very much one’s identity. It is still the case at various levels.

job and identityHowever, this easy-to-relate identify definition will disappear in the Collaborative Age as the importance of conventional organizations will progressively disappear, and as we will be increasingly on our own without a fixed ‘job’, or at least only with temporary ones.

This situation creates a lot of stress on personal identity. It is thus a high barrier for those that hesitate to jump out of traditional organizations; or, those who get retrenched or lose their job and have to reinvent themselves. It is possibly one of the biggest stressors in society today.

One needs to realize how defining oneself in terms of job title and university degree is limiting. In particular after a few years’ experience, our personal identity is much more complex and full; and it involves both personal and professional elements. We need definitely to find other ways of expressing our complete identity. It could be through our own creations or on social media.

Transforming the way we express our identity is a mandatory skill for the Collaborative Age.


How to Overcome The Problem of the Flawless Record

Our society seeks the Flawless Record. Our resumes have to be flawless and have no holes, and in general we are suspicious of people with any hint of controversy. However as Seth Godin reminds us, this is a paradox. Success only comes from creating things that are criticized.

flawless_resumeBeing criticized means that we try to move things forward. It means we have tried something new, something disruptive. As Seth Godin reminds us “If your goal is to be universally liked and respected and understood, then, it must mean your goal is to not do something that matters.

I would like to add that it is great to be criticized and controversial as long as there is no integrity issue related to the matter (although sometimes adversaries might appeal to put our integrity, so that it is sometimes difficult to discern).

Flawless is not an objective. Consistent and courageous is. We need to choose – and maybe not make it through the usual filtering criteria of the Industrial Age!


Why There is No Apparent Logic to be Expected From Human Behavior

While each of us (or most of us) do behave according to a certain inner logic, to a casual external observer it will often seem as if our actions defy any kind of logic.

An irrational behavior with a possible internal rationality

In the excellent book ‘Spy the Lie: How to spot deception the CIA way‘, the authors explain that: “There’s only a casual relationship between human behavior and logic. And we’ve found that to absolutely be the case.

Human behavior doesn’t always conform to what seems sensible to us, and that what seems sensible to us isn’t necessarily valuable in evaluating how a person thinks or acts.

This makes any kind of judgment on people’s behavior difficult. As explained in the book in certain situations, suspension of judgment is required. That is the case for example during coaching, or during interviews to determine trustworthiness.


What the Greatest Problem in Communication Is

The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished” —variously attributed to Georges Bernard Shaw or Daniel W. Davenport (who knows?).

communicationThis is certainly an eternal truth and should hang as a reminder on all change managers desks and on the walls of all of those in charge of organizational transformation.

Communication needs to overflow, it is always too easy to convince oneself that it has been accomplished and stop communicating.

As a useful rule of thumb, repeat until people feed back that they have heard enough.


What Happiness Is Actually About

I can’t resist to share a quote that moved me from Om Swami’s blog, itself a quote from the author Will Durant.

Will DurantMany years I sought happiness. […] I perceived that if I will do as well as I can the tasks for which life has made me, I shall find fulfillment, and a quiet lane of happiness for many years. Gladly I surrender myself to nature’s imperative of love and parentage, trusting to her ancient wisdom, and knowing that, as Dante learned when he entered Paradise, “La sua volontade è nostra pace — in her will and service is our peace

Om Swami concludes: “Each one of us has a certain purpose. It can’t be and is not the same for everyone. Sometimes, we keep battling for a different life, hoping that we’ll have a life of our dreams by clearing all the hurdles in our present life.

The truth is, if Nature has given you a certain strength, talent, capability, whether you like it or not, it’ll put it to maximum use. No matter where you go or what you do, it’ll pull you back into your natural play field where you add the greatest value to its functioning and apparatus.”

Thus we’ve been warned and gently guided to find our happiness.


How Failure is where Success Likes to Hide in Plain Sight

I like very much that quote: “Failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Everything you want out of life is in that huge, bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out” writes Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) in the excellent book ‘How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life‘.

gold panningIf we try new things and get out of our comfort zone we’ll be confronted by failure more than once. It is tough psychologically and practically to overcome failure. Still we always need to dig further to discover what is worth saving, or what nugget of success lies there in the rubbles.

Scott Adams concludes, “Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value.”. Do you have the discipline to do that?


Why You Should Have a Success System Rather Than Success Goals

Scott Adams in the excellent book ‘How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life‘ is strongly against setting goals. He advocates rather develop a system for success and stick to it – and be ready to capture opportunities when they pop up at the right time.

systems not goalsThe main reason according to him is the conservation of personal energy: “Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous pre-success failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out. Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do. The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn. The systems people are feeling good every time they apply their system. That’s a big difference in terms of maintaining your personal energy in the right direction

I find this viewpoint very interesting and challenging. Establishing a system that works consistently and reliably allows to avoid focusing on challenging goals that might never be reached, and allows to focus on a daily routine that will bear fruit. Hence for 2016 I have decided to focus my effort more on setting up a system than setting goals. And you?