As a leader, you’re probably used to setting three big things:
In our current climate where we don’t have a clear sense of what the future holds, it might take a bit of time before you’re able to fully adjust and share your vision. Since things are changing each day, you’re probably functioning with a fair amount of agility, shifting priorities and revising goals as you get new information. Don’t forget that there’s a team out there waiting for direction, so you’ll likely need to communicate more frequently than you normally would if you expect them to continue moving in the same direction.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to add one more thing to your list that’s just for you: An intention.
If you’ve ever practiced yoga, then you know that most practices begin with an invitation to set an intention. It’s usually a quality you want to focus on cultivating over the course of the practice. It provides a helpful anchor to return to when you notice your mind wandering. It also serves as a reminder for how you’d like to show up when you find yourself in challenging poses.
It’s also a great practice for leaders. I’ve made a habit of setting an intention for my week on Sunday night and revisiting it each morning. It changes based on what I anticipate as my challenges, and it serves to remind me of how I want to show up or what I want to bring with me into the situations I encounter. (Given how rapidly things are shifting, you might want to try starting each DAY with an intention rather than waiting to do it weekly.)
I like to keep it simple, boiling it down to a simple phrase or one or two words that can serve as a reminder.
If you’re a leader watching deadlines slip and profits drop as your workforce adapts to working remotely, maybe your intention is patience – so you don’t create additional stress in a system that’s already riddled with it. Or maybe it’s optimism – and you’re going to challenge yourself to look for silver linings in each seeming setback you encounter today.
If you’re a parent dealing with the added challenge of working from home while also trying to occupy or teach your children, maybe your intention is compassion – for yourself and for your children, who are also adjusting to a new world. Or maybe it’s the phrase, “progress, not perfection” to remind you that it’s just going to be messy for while.
Don’t worry about it being deep or fancy. It just needs to be something that works for you.
So: What’s your intention today?
My words today are grace and humor. So I’ll leave you with this:
Stay well. Do good. Be kind.