Why You Should Invest In Intentional Growth to Create a “Whole Life” Plan
The school of thought that professional success means sacrificing a healthy personal life, or vice versa, is woefully outdated. Women aspiring for positions in leadership may think “having it all” seems like an elusive abstract concept, not a real possibility. Numerous variables evoke concerns about what used to be called “work-life balance” (a hotly-debated term recently), when planning to start or grow families, rescheduling vacations and ignoring all personal interests in the name of climbing that corporate ladder.
What if you could find, embrace and thrive at the intersection of all your ambitions? By investing in your intentional growth on a personal and professional level, you can actually “have it all,” you just need an effective “Whole Life” plan to get started.
Assess Your Goals
Take the time to truly determine what fulfillment looks like to you. Whether it’s financial freedom, a beach house or the flexibility to coach your daughter’s soccer team, a clear path to your version of success isn’t possible without first identifying what success looks like to you.
Put pen to paper to plan your path to achieving your goals. What is your timeline for each goal? Are you willing to sacrifice a professional goal for a personal goal along the way? Which goals most excite you at this moment? Understanding your motivations and what you are willing to do to accomplish your goals will help you avoid stagnation and avoid a number of difficult decisions down the road.
Identify Your Boundaries
Boundaries in this context are the activities or values you will not sacrifice when working toward your goals. Is it your morning routine, sleep, exercise, family time, certain projects, work trips, networking or other parts of your life that are fulfilling? We all have limits and need different things to recharge. Ignoring those needs, those boundaries, is a clear path to burnout.
Learn to say no to anything that is not actively helping you achieve your goals, remembering to frame your “no” as a “not right now.” For example, “I’m concentrating on this goal right now. I’m happy to recommend someone else. Please keep me in mind in the future.”
An example of setting boundaries in my book, Mila decided that dinner time with her family is non-negotiable, because she believes it is the fabric of maintaining a strong connection with her husband while keeping apprised of her children. To make that commitment, Mila does not schedule evening meetings with her clients, prospects or colleagues. To keep working towards her goals without compromising that boundary, Mila holds many breakfast meetings, building a habit of waking up at 5 am before the family stirs for her self-care time, then feeding her son and dropping him at school before leaving for her breakfast meetings.
Develop and Strengthen Relationships
The relationships in your personal and professional life thrive best when nurtured. Devote time to pursue, develop and strengthen all your relationships by becoming an active listener, investing in others and honoring commitments. Find creative ways to maintain relationships, such as how my friend in San Diego’s best friend moved to Seattle, yet they still share a morning run, virtually. Every morning they hop on a call together while they are doing their morning run. They catch up on life, on family, on career - and still get in the ever-important daily workout. How great is that?
Weave It All Together
To formulate the action plan of the BUSINESS OF YOU, ask yourself what do you need to have done in three months, six months, nine months and 12 months. After you identify the time frame for everything you want to accomplish in both your life and your career, your personal development plan will help you stay on track. Be reasonable and be honest about what is achievable. I am here to support you on your journey, and don’t forget, you have a personal board of advisors to whom you can turn for guidance. I truly believe in the power of running your career like a CEO would run a business.
I picked up a new way of setting goals during my time with iPEC. As women, we like to achieve greatness – which can lead us to set lofty goals. I like to control the chaos that results from unrealistic goals. iPEC’s AIM-SMART process helps us be specific so that we are realistic (with a bit of stretch) and reach our goals.
Here is the concept:
A – Acceptable. What is the minimum amount of work you can accomplish to meet the goal?
I – Ideal. What is the maximum you can accomplish to meet the goal?
M – Middle. What is a realistic amount of work you can accomplish to meet your goal?
Then add in the SMART principles:
Specific – what is the first step to reaching your goal?
Measurable – for that specific step, how will you measure success?
Achievable – is that first step possible?
Reasonable – how reasonable is it that you will be able to take that first step at this time?
Time – what is your due date for that first step?
As you work through each of your goals, you can use this exercise to create a manageable, integrated life plan.