A Coach’s New Year’s Intentions

It’s a new year, and with the changing calendar we have the opportunity to reflect upon our intentions for the work we do. Whether you are a coach or a client, looking at how we engage with our relationships, with others and with ourselves in a new, fresh way can reap outcomes beyond what we anticipate.

The Top 3 New Year’s Intentions I offer are a start. I invite you to set aside some time on your own to reflect and discover what’s most important for you. For now…here’s my Top 3 list:

New Year’s Intention #1:  Listen Attentively.

Keen, attentive listening to what is – what our body is telling us, what our inner spirit is telling us, what we’ve heard in the past – is core to the work that we do. Quiet your mind and be attentive, not only to what you explicitly hear, but also to what you hear within the space where your thoughts exist. There are new insights to discover and to learn that form in that space: next to, underneath, and above what is actually being said or heard. Suggestions for reflection are:

  • What am I hearing?
  • What keeps coming up for me?
  • What am I pretending not to hear?
  • What resonates for me?

New Year’s Intention #2:  Follow Generously.

Be generous with yourself and others with what you discover, and be open to the “newness” that may emerge. Practice following new discoveries with a beginner’s mind, one that is curious and playful, and eschews judgment or expectation. What you notice and what comes up for you may feel awkward, like a child learning how to ride a bicycle – wobbly and unsure. Allow yourself to be open to the newness and be in a place of reflection and consideration of what might show up for you. Suggestions for reflection are:

  • What am I noticing?
  • What is here that is new?
  • What possibilities do I see?
  • What am I open to showing up for me?

New Year’s Intention #3:  Act Boldly.

We live in choice and taking action in a bold, new way can change everything. Perhaps fear of an unknown outcome has held you back from taking action in the past. If you weren’t afraid of the outcome, what might you have done? Listen attentively to what your spirit, body, emotions and mind are telling you. Take a bold step to overcome barriers that may have held you back in the past. Take steps to silence the voice – within yourself or others – that may be telling you that you “can’t”. Find a pace that feels right for you and make your way towards the shifts you’d like to achieve in your life. Suggestions for reflection are:

  • How important is this for me?
  • What does bold action look like for me?
  • If I had a choice, what would I do?
  • If I achieve this, what will I have?
  • How will I know that I reached my goal?

One final thought:  I purposely talk about New Year’s intentions rather than resolutions. For me, resolutions tend to be chores that we impose on ourselves, something outside ourselves, perhaps showing up as a bulleted list taped to our refrigerator.  Intentions, however, come alive in our consciousness and become plans for discovery and growth. What are your intentions for 2011?

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The song goes something like, “God didn’t make the little green apples…” Well, it turns out, he did…and not just the green ones, but the red ones, and the pink ones, and even more from where they came from…

I recently learned that if you ate a different type of apple every day, it would take you three decades to taste every variety. That’s a lot of apples!  My supermarket experience offers me only a limited variety of apples – possibly three or four different types over the seasons. Apparently, the greater apple-world has apples that go beyond the sweet and tart of which we’ve become accustomed. There are ones that are spicy, ones that have a chocolate-finish after eating them, ones that taste like pears – the list goes on and on. I’m anxious to find these other types and taste them! I hear there’s a farm somewhere in Vermont that has them.  I’ll be checking it out.

This new variety-of-apples-awareness-thing got me thinking about myself, the variety of people I interact with every day – at work, at home, or otherwise – and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

The results of an MBTI assessment help us understand our preferences in how we gain energy, take in information, make decisions and orient ourselves in the world. I use MBTI when working with individuals and teams and find, for the most part, the information about individuals’ and teams’ dominant preference type is received well and with enthusiasm. The conversations around the self-discoveries of strengths and blind-spots generate spirited exchange and, often, surprise and laughter. I encourage continuing the conversation to keep the information alive and use it to explore new ways of thinking and engaging in relationships.  Most participants leave the workshops wanting to share their MBTI experience with their significant others and have them take the assessment, too!

We, of the MBTI-world, know that there’s more, much more to it, a depth of variety that is often the key to the richness in each of us.

As we dig deeper into MBTI and unpack its potential, the tool provides a roadmap to full and whole human development. We are not solely defined by our dominant or preferred functioning. Each of us has access to ALL the types within the MBTI dichotomies. In fact, we not only have access to them, they inherently live within us below the surface. Our opportunity is to be open to new experiences, stretching ourselves to try new ways of thinking and being that will develop the types that are waiting to emerge and thrive. Imagine the possibility if each of us were to fully access and taste the abundance and variety of agile living, doing, being and relating that is right there for the taking!

The questions are – What potential do you want to explore and develop within yourself, your team, and your relationships? What is untapped? Where are you open to stretch and grow?

You and I have what it takes to continue to grow and develop in abundant and bountiful ways. What it will take is to be fully open to opportunities that will allow us to shift out of our comfortable, well-practiced ways of being, tapping into all the type preferences that are within our reach and “tasting” something new.

Will it take three decades? Hopefully, a lifetime!

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