Friday, May 6, 2016

Defined Intentions -- Clarity and Efficiency (and Respect)

In a recent post, I discussed life on a calendar. One of the key insights from the approach was “Intensified Focus.” 

Read further to learn how this not only translates to increased clarity and efficiency.  
Perhaps surprisingly, it cultivates respect.

While not entirely necessary, it might be beneficial to read the previous post -- 
 Life on a Calendar - 3 Valuable Insights -- before you proceed further.   

Let’s begin. 

I have been fortunate to have a lot of incredible mentors.  Throughout my life, I have sought them out in every sphere of interest I embody: music, business, food, love, writing, finance, sex, teaching, health, life philosophy, spirituality, morality, etc.

I cannot stress the value of this practice enough.  Of the countless gifts I have received throughout my life, it is their shared advice and methodologies that I cherish most.  Some of these gifts are now ~23 years old, and I continue to draw influence from them. 

My first boss when I was working in healthcare left a huge impact on me.  He was a highly energized, engaging, dynamic leader -- exceptionally critical in his thinking, but able to retain his decency and work with people at all levels of skill/expertise/experience/age within our organization -- a capacity people often lose with increased power, intellect and status on a hierarchy. 

(I should note that the two of us never got enough time together, 
and I would jump at an opportunity to work with him again.)

I learned much from him, but most importantly, he taught me to have defined intentions.  

I learned this lesson with regard to his and I’s meetings.  

Like most lessons, it had universal application.

Our organization had a small leadership team, with everyone overseeing multiple projects.  There was not little time, but NO time, to waste if we were going to be successful.

If I was asking for time -- his time, others from the leadership team, even my own management team -- I was obliged to make good use of it down to the last second.  Each moment requested should be thoughtfully defined so as to make the most of it.

I had a professor who shared the same lesson but with regard to writing:

“Each and every word in your composition must take your reader one step forward towards your objective.  Understand that people value their time and they could be doing any number of other things than reviewing your work.  If they choose to give you a piece of their time, be respectful.  The best way to show your respect is to be as efficient and effective as you possibly can as you deliver the value you have to offer.”


Defined intentions has the obvious benefits of increased clarity and efficiency, but 
perhaps it goes further, demonstrating respect.

Defined Intentions:
What is it that I am doing. (or wish to be doing!)   

This should be defined at the macro and micro levels:
--I work as an insurance agent because I enjoy providing valuable products and services, and advising people on how best to build and protect their financial livelihood.  
--I work as a teacher because I am gifted with breaking concepts into component parts that are digestible, allowing students to develop in a given field.
--I hope to someday be able to speak a second language, so I can comfortably travel to other parts of the world and communicate with local people.

Using the above macro(s), one can establish micros.

--As an insurance agent, it is necessary to know my client’s financial picture, all of the options available to them, how they might best be moved to making correct financial choices, etc.
--As a teacher, it is necessary to know my students, their individual approaches to understanding material, how I can move an entire classroom forward each day, etc.
--As one who aspires to learn a second language, I must choose a language, expose myself to native speakers, develop a vocabulary, practice communicating, etc.  

Defining the macro allows you to clearly see all of the micros required to reach an objective.  
Now, we can become efficient.

With what I intend to do defined, I can map how.

Micros can be translated into daily, digestible projects.  Let’s use the second language aspirant, as our example:
Second Language:
7am -- I read the news in Spanish while I have my morning coffee.
8am -- I listen to a popular Spanish podcast during my morning commute.
12:30pm -- I review my vocabulary bank using flashcards, or a mobile application.
10:30pm -- I take an online quiz to review grammatical principles.

All of the outlined pieces above are required steps for mastering a language -- Reading and Listening Comprehension, Vocabulary Development and Grammatical Structure Understanding.  

But now, they are no longer poorly defined projects to stumble into by chance.  They are active, defined and scheduled pieces to pursue each day.

I stated that defined intentions are not only about clarity and efficiency.  

Respect is validated in the process. 

Time is one of our most precious gifts in this life.  Choosing wisely how we use it is of immense importance.

Stating your purpose, defining the necessary steps to accomplish it and organizing your approach, demonstrates respect of that resource:
For others - if it is in regard to a project for another person
For yourself - if it is a personal objective

Both are of equal importance.

$.50 Philosophy

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