Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weekly Visioning

Hey y’all,

So, I have a confession to make... I have been intentionally putting off updating this blog. You see, last month, I decided that I wanted to take it in a different direction; I want it to be less of a glorified journal and more of a series of thoughtful articles analyzing what I am learning through my various adventures, activities, and projects. (This decision was admittedly connected to the shocking discovery that people other than my mom actually read this, which made me rather self-conscious of my self-absorbed blatherings.)

However, constructing a meaningful analysis of the themes throughout my life and work adds a couple layers of complexity to writing an entry. First, I have to actually analyze (which is to say, stop and think about) what I am doing and why it matters. Then, I have to craft those thoughts into a vaguely interesting article. No pressure. But, I have finally overcome my resistance, and I believe I have something vaguely resembling a meaningful topic. Here it goes...

Recently, my friend Gabriel introduced me to “weekly visioning,” a tool that allows one to focus one’s energy for the week and that connects vision and intention with specific goals and tasks. I have found this tool very helpful in several ways.

First, it has contributed significantly to my comfort and peace of mind. I can sit down for a half an hour or so at the beginning of my week and decide, from the vast array of things that could be done, what goals I am going to focus my energy on. A series of questions allows me to gather and organize my thoughts such that I can determine a guiding intention for my week and specific, achievable goals that help manifest that intention.

Having an overall, guiding intention for the week focuses my energy on one or two things. This allows me to both focus intently on what I have chosen and safely set aside my manifold other (wonderful and important) intentions for another time. I feel much more relaxed when I can acknowledge that, though many things are important to me and will be given energy in their turn, I need not attend to all my burdens all the time. To my delight, I am finding that by not overwhelming myself, I am actually more productive.

Having four to six concrete, realistic goals allows me to see steady progress. I feel like I am “on it,” which is empowering and energizing.

Having stated intentions and goals allows me to act with intentionality. I can read my list of goals daily, and I can look at my intention to remind myself why those goals are important to me. I can be conscious about my actions, deciding whether or not they are in alignment with my intention and goals. If not, I can then consciously decide whether or not it would serve me to act differently. It is very clear whether or not I am in accountability with my goals, which helps me to remain accountable to myself (and to Gabriel, who helps me stay accountable with myself).

The most powerful question (for me) asks me to “Imagine this week as the best, most exciting, engaging, effective, and transformative week of your life. What does it look like?” I think the really beautiful thing about this question is that it doesn’t ask, “What do you think is realistically possible this week, given all of the many constraints, obligations, uncertainties, doubts and fears of life?” No. It asks how this week could be most meaningful, and then challenges me to make it happen. Transformative, indeed.

I even modified the questions a bit and envisioned my year, which was a really beautiful and powerful experience for me. I now have my vision and goals for this year hanging on my wall so that I might daily challenge myself to make 2012 the best, most exciting, engaging, effective, and transformative year of my life.