If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable - Lucius Annaeus Seneca.
Growth and development happen in 2-key ways:
1. By accident; while you can’t fluke development as it is based upon realisations, rather than an events or happenings, "by accident" means you do have to wait for something to happen outside of yourself in order to gain new and different understandings. This is then extrinsic growth and development.
2. By intention; when you have a strong intention to focus on your growth and development, backed up by pragmatic foundations to support the actions required, the chances are high that development will happen intrinsically. That is, to intend to open yourself up to new realisations, and to commit to embodying them as understandings, and own them as forward-thinking universal expressions.
In our experience sustainable, incremental, intentional growth requires foundations that will support you and provide the right climate for your ongoing growth and achievement. In other words, an amazing year requires intentionality, which in turn creates intrinsic drive and motivation, that ultimately become will.
2021 is over, so how are you going to set yourself up for growth and development in 2022?
Here are some of our top life tested recommendations to set yourself up for 2022:
1. Set your Highest Intentions for 2022 over the holiday break
Set time aside to sit down and consider – what is ultimately important to you? What’s clamoring to be heard deep within you?
What are you moved to do and express in the world? These answers can be as grand or as relative as you like, so long as they are real.
You might intend to be financially free, you might intend to self-realise, you might intend to leave your career and start what you have always wanted to start. You might simply intend to develop your fitness and health. The only criteria here are that it’s real, it’s emotionally compelling for you, and it’s a priority, not just a preference.
Priority means that you have 2-3 ultimate intentions at the most. Anything more and you are signaling that you aren’t clear on your priorities and are starting to enter the realm of preferences.
How do you know if what you have selected is an emotionally compelling priority? By asking the question – “would I be willing to suffer for this? Suffer the difficulty of what it takes to have it?” If not, it isn’t of ultimate importance to you, it’s just a preference.
Note: at this point you don’t need to know exactly how you are going to achieve your ultimate intentions. You just need to decide on what they are, and let those intentions be your guiding compass point on what to say YES to and what to say NO to i.e. what to focus on and prioritise in your life.
Which brings up the next point…
2. Invest in the mindset and skill set that your highest intentions require
Knowing what’s of ultimate importance to you is rather useless without having the skills and mindset to make them real in your life. So, if your intentions for growth and development come true, what skills and mindset would you need to maintain them? If you want them to come true, what skills and mindset will you need to make it so?
Identify the critical priority skills and then ask yourself how are you going to develop those in 2022?
A word of advice from a professional coach – get professional coaching. It’s more expensive than trying to figure it out yourself in the short term yes, but in the long run, the wasted time, and the consequences of amateurishly training them yourself, are far more expensive.
3. If they are not already on your agenda – Add Communication and Interpersonal skills to your list
We live in an interpersonal, interdependent world. Try as you might, it’s impossible to escape from your fellow human beings. It’s also nigh impossible to get anything significant achieved by yourself. Unless you plan on retiring to the wilderness, building your own cabin with your bare hands and living off the land – your business, your project, your enterprise, your success will inevitably involve customers, suppliers, coworkers, an audience – other people.
We are social beings, and all of our greatest accomplishments as a race have been achieved by working together. Your ability then to work well with others, to capture the hearts and minds of your fellow human beings, to communicate your message and your vision clearly and galvanise others around it – all depends on your interpersonal and communication skills.
These are skills you literally use every day, probably a thousand times a day. This means even small improvements in these skills will impact your life in a thousand different ways a day. That’s doing a lot with a little – the very definition of mastery.
4. Read in your area of intention religiously
Read twenty books in a key area (e.g. coaching, leadership, wealth creation, etc.) and you are going to know all of the knowledge at the leading edge of that field. When knowledge intersects with skill and mindset you have expertise.
Decide which areas of reading is most relevant for your intentions and your circumstances in life right now. Jot down your top three areas, pick one and just go download the top-rated books in that area. Read one area at a time for economies of reading before you move on. Twenty may seem like a lot but with thirty minutes of reading per day, you will have expert knowledge on that subject nailed down by the end of the year. Increase it to an hour of reading and you will be done in less six months maybe less.
5. Join groups that support your intentions. Don’t rely on your own knowledge and motivation
Let’s be realistic, you aren’t going to be motivated to pursue your goals every single day, and you aren’t going to figure everything out on your own. Your motivation will fail you at some point, and you are probably going to make some super silly totally avoidable mistakes. It’s part of being human. Factor this into your yearly planning by joining some like minded support groups. The more regular the groups get together, the more open and sharing, the more accessible the better. At The Coaching Room we have monthly practice groups where a whole community of people interested in NLP and/or Coaching get together to practice and learn more about the skills. What community can you join?
The point is to be surrounded by like-minded people with whom you can leverage ideas, inspiration, and be supported in your motivation. Just knowing that there are others walking the same path, tackling the same problems whom you can access regularly will help you stay on track. And just being around like-minded people will keep your intentions focused in the front of your mind because they will constantly be a topic of conversation.
6. Get a mentor/Coach who embody your intentions and will give you the honest feedback you need
Get a coach/mentor who will show you your blind spots and help you make developmental changes to the way you show up in your whole life.
These can be paid/unpaid realities, and either is fine. I have had 10+ people who have coached/mentored me throughout my journey from a budding coach to Managing Partner. You probably have some key individuals in your sphere whom you could ask to be mentored/coached by.
Whether it’s informal unpaid or formal or paid, the key variable is finding people who walk the talk and embody the skills, attitude, and capabilities you want to embody and who can guide you.
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
8. Commit to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in very specific areas
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone into your discomfort zone is one of the most fruitful things you can do. Are you going to be uncomfortable? make mistakes? seem silly? screw up? Yes. That’s the point. The fastest way to make something become part of what’s easy and comfortable for you – is to get experience doing it. Become familiar with it, make it your friend. When the difficult, is easy and comfortable for you, success will be easy and inevitable.
Always aim to be leaning into your discomfort in the key areas that are pivotal for your intentions. You don’t need a coach to do this, but doing it in tandem with a coach will yield incredible results over time.
9. Abandon the notion that triumph and transformation comes from heroic effort
Heroic efforts are great. But by definition, they are the exception, not the norm. Most of the time (and I do mean MOST of the time) it simply comes down to being intentional, setting yourself up with simple, pragmatic, sometimes mundane support structures, and FOLLOWING THROUGH on those decisions.
If you have followed these steps, committed to them, locked yourself in, then you are free to be as heroic or ordinary as you like because you have made the sensible, realistic, sometimes boring but totally healthy decisions that in the long run facilitate consistent growth and achievement.
A final word on self actualisation and setting intentions
There will no doubt be an array of posts, blogs, and quotes out in the coming days and weeks around the importance of setting goals and outcomes in your life. Some will reference Anthony Robbins' old adage, that the 5% of people who set goals that makeup 95% of the most successful people on the planet…
At The Coaching Room, we take a very different approach to goals. Firstly, we call them intentions.
Paradoxically, and controversially, the purpose of setting an intention is not to necessarily achieve an outcome, but to enjoy the process of exploring your potential through engaging in differentiation.
Potential exists only at this moment, so you can only actualise your potential now. Now is the only outcome that matters, because it’s all that exists.
To march in pursuit of endless goals is to march toward your death, for death is the ultimate outcome…
Merry festive season from everyone at The Coaching Room, we wish you the very best in the New Year. Hope to see you 'In The Room'.