Date: April 17, 2022
Written by Denise Marks, LeaderImpact Global
“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution.” - Aristotle
For weeks now, from a window near the desk where I work, I’ve watched a house being built. It’s a beehive of activity that seems almost chaotic. There have been carpenters and painters, plumbers and electricians, trucks moving dirt or delivering supplies. Each set of workers is busy and intense and their tasks don’t always seem to relate to each other. But as the days have passed it’s become obvious that the pieces are fitting together. They are following a plan. All the work is inter-related and by design. Intended to form one complete, impressive structure…a whole house.
I’m struck by how much my life feels like the building site outside my window. A multitude of people and activities come in and out and often they don’t seem to be inter-related at all. But when I’m honest, each piece does affect the others. What I want, deep down, is to be building something coherent. A sum greater than its parts. And I also know instinctively that it won’t happen by chance.
Here at LeaderImpact we talk a lot about the inter-related facets of a leader. We refer to it as The Integrated Life. It's the idea that bringing together the personal, professional and spiritual areas of life creates a stronger leader. Developing each of these areas, in turn, makes a leader's overall impact even greater.
This all sounds well and good, but a truly integrated life will likely first be an intentional life. Intentional is defined as , "done by design, not accidental" and it's a concept as appropriate to the growth of a leader as to the building of a house.
A life that truly develops personally, professionally and spiritually is not happenstance. It will take a lifetime of hard work and intentionality. It would definitely be easier to live an integrated life if there was a “one size fits all" formula. However, our lives are usually more like chaotic building sites and often full of the unexpected. But there are a few practical steps that can help you, as a leader, be more intentional.
Determine the design.
To begin constructing an integrated life you need to first determine what is most important to you? These are your values. Knowing what we value most in life is the best first step toward an intentional life. The LeaderImpact tool "Foundations" is designed to help you determine and prioritize your values. Importantly, it does this in the context of personal, professional and spiritual development and in a group setting where discussion with peers helps clarify what you truly value most.
Set some goals.
We hear a great deal about the importance of goal-setting. The difference is now you are being "intentional" about having an integrated life. This means making goals in each area... personal, professional and spiritual. You may find that you are more practiced at setting professional goals than perhaps personal or spiritual ones. Start by keeping the basics in mind
● Don't set too many.
● Set both long-term and short term goals
● Consider using the SMART pattern (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound)
To keep an integrated life in your sights you may want to regularly ask these questions:
● How will a goal in one area of life affect a goal in another?
● Do my goals complement or contradict the values I’ve identified?
Remember that these goals will be your motivation to be intentional.
Evaluate your progress.
Regardless of the planning method you prefer to use (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) you should periodically check your plans against your goals in EACH of the three areas. Look for encouraging trends in short periods (like a day) or longer periods (across a month). Be alert to gaps or disconnects. Honest assessment will encourage continued intentionality.
Finally, don't go it alone.
The best way to stay intentional about growing personally, professionally and spiritually for greater impact is to find others who desire the same and "build " together. They can encourage, challenge and help. A LeaderImpact group is an excellent place to find other leaders who want to be intentional.
Your leadership can produce greater impact. Your life can be a more integrated “whole”. But it won’t be accidental…it must be intentional.
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