I find this title to be audacious. Could I really shed some light on this topic for you? I’m fascinated by the volume of emails I’ve received in the past few weeks, assuring me that if I follow their plan, I’ll be successful. All of those promises fell flat with me this year, preferring my new approach to accomplishing goals that feels more enjoyable and results in far more successes than I’ve experienced in the past. I’ve decided to kick off 2016 by sharing this approach with you, hence, the audacious title.
The traditional way to measure success is to set goals, plan accordingly, and at the end of the day, you’ve either achieved your goals… or not (oops). It is a very black and white process – you are either successful or you failed. Given that life is more of an art than an exact science, most outcomes don’t follow a specific plan (and, I’m speaking to my fellow “control freak” friends out there: Yes, it IS annoying!).
Of course, a few of us have embraced failure knowing that the more we “fail,” the more we are stretching and growing. But, what if we could stretch, think big and accomplish our hopes and dreams while being successful? How would it feel to have one success after the next?
Important clarification: success does not mean lack of struggle. As Mark Manson wrote, “What is the pain that you are willing to sustain?” Because if you want the benefits of something, you also have to want the costs, he writes in a recent article called, “You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question.” via Quartz. However, we do have choice over how we experience struggle.
I am enjoying far more success in my life by shifting from over-planning to living with focused intention. It’s like pointing your finger in the direction you want to go, seeing the possible steps to get there, and then allowing your focused intention to unfold.
A quick note about this word, “allowing.” Let’s face it, it is not very comfortable to “allow” something to happen. What does that even mean, anyway? Taking action to make something happen – now that’s more like it! However, when you allow something to unfold with focused intention and corresponding action, then you see additional opportunities and creative ways to accomplish what you want because you are no longer limited to just one plan.
Whatever impact you wish to make this year, living with focused intention gives you far more freedom and enjoyment in the process, the road, the journey, that nebulous space between where you are now, and where you want to go. It also gives you more opportunities for success as many possibilities will get you to where you want to go.