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Creating the New Year with Intention

As we embark on another new year of life, I find myself experiencing a mixture of emotions about      2010.  I’m excited about the possibilities of this New Year and inspired by the energy of creation that exists at this special time.  Similar to last week, there is a magical quality to this first week of the New Year that I always appreciate.

At the same time, especially given the nature of 2009 and all of the unexpected twists and turns last year took for me personally, so many people around me, and in the world, I find myself feeling a sense of trepidation about setting new goals and jumping right back into the mix of life and work.

As it relates to New Year’s “resolutions,” most people I know and have worked with over the years, including myself, have a somewhat funny or disempowered relationship to goal setting for the New Year.  Whether you’re someone who spends lots of time and energy creating your New Year’s intentions or you decided years ago that you wouldn’t bother (since in years past by mid-January most of them have gone off the rails or out of your mind anyway); I don’t know too many people who are genuinely inspired, motivated, or empowered by their New Year’s resolutions in a sustainable and real way.  How about you? Here are some of the main reasons I think we aren’t authentically inspired by our goals or empowered to make them happen:

  • Our “goals” are often about fixing what we think is wrong with us
  • Once we set them, we feel a sense of pressure to make them happen
  • We worry that we won’t accomplish or achieve what we want, and then we’ll feel like failures
  • We don’t get the kind of support we really want and need
  • We forget that our intentions are designed to support us, not stress us out
  • We get too focused on the outcome and forget about the experience
  • We allow competition and scarcity take over

For these and other reasons many us either don’t set powerful intentions for the New Year or we do so out of fear in a way that creates more stress in our lives.  One of the best things we can do to shift our perspective about this and create an empowering relationship to our process of setting goals for 2010 is to understand some key distinctions – intentions, goals, and actions.

Intentions – Our intentions are states of being and authentic desires.  In other words, we may have an intention to be peaceful, grateful, joyous, loving, successful, healthy, wealthy, or more.  Our intentions are our high ideals and are usually at the root of our motivation for any of our specific goals.  Most of us don’t really want goals like a new relationship, more money, or a fit body simply for the sake of those things themselves – we want them (or others) because of what we believe we will experience by having them in our life.  By starting with our intentions, we get right to the source of what we truly want.  Intentions are the core and the magic of all of our goals and desires.

Goals – Effective and powerful goals are ones that are specific and measurable.  We want to be able to track our progress and know for sure if we are reaching our goals or not.  This doesn’t have to be a competition (with others or ourselves) and doesn’t have to be filled with stress, pressure, shame, or guilt (which is sadly how we often relate to our results).  Having our goals as specific and measurable just makes them clear and more likely to manifest.  And, the paradox we have to always remember when setting and working on our goals is that we can’t be attached to the outcome – which will make us crazy and take us off course with our real intentions.  Our goals simply take our intentions and focus them on tangible outcomes in the world.

Actions – Creating action-oriented practices that support us to manifesting our goals and intentions is an essential daily, weekly, and monthly process of our success and fulfillment.  Coming up with action plans that inspire us, connect to the goals we’re working on, and fulfill our intentions is vital to all of this.  This is where the rubber meets the road, and is often the place where things break down for us.  The breakdown with actions usually has more to do with a lack of support and accountability (which then allows us to let life take over and lose our focus) than it does with any “failure” or “weakness” on our part.  Having practices that support us and help us take the baby steps needed to manifest our goals and intentions is such an important piece of puzzle.

Here is an example of how this could look in a specific area of life.  Let’s say you have a desire to make more money (which is a very common one that many of us have, especially this year).  Start with your intention.  For example, “My intention is to experience a real sense of abundance, peace, and freedom with money and to easily manifest income.”  Then create a specific measurable result-oriented goal.  “I will generate $100,000 by 12/31/2010.”  The next step is to come up with a few related actions/practices.  “I will read three or more books this year on manifesting money. I will set up two or more meetings per month to talk to people about new money-making ideas. I will make a plan each month for specific things I can do professionally to increase my income.”

The final piece of the process is creating some kind of regular accountability and support structure for this.  You can hire a coach, join a mastermind group, create a success/ accountability partnership with a friend, and more.  Having someone or a group of people you make commitments to and whom you empower to hold you accountable, will make all the difference in the world.

Have fun with this.  Don’t take it or yourself too seriously…it’s just life, you’re allowed to make mistakes, screw things up, and fall down (which we all do and always will).  Be kind to yourself in this process and in this New Year.  And, when we remember that our intentions (those states of being and authentic desires) are what we are truly after (not the specific outcomes or actions), it can allow us to take the pressure off of ourselves, have more fun, and trust that things will manifest as they are meant to – especially if we open up and let them show up!

What are your intentions for 2010?  How can you create empowering support and accountability for your goals and actions in this new year? Share your thoughts, action ideas, insights, and more on my blog here.


Mike Robbins empowers individuals, teams, and organizations to be more productive, appreciative, and successful through his keynotes, seminars, writing, and consulting. He is the author of the audio program, The Power of Appreciation, a contributing author of Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul, the author of the best selling book, Focus on the Good Stuff (Hardcover, Jossey-Bass/Wiley) and the forthcoming book, Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Hardcover, Jossey-Bass/Wiley, April 2009).

Mike has been featured in Forbes, on the Oprah and Friends radio network, and on ABC News. He is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), NSA’s highest earned designation. Mike lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Michelle and their daughter Samantha.

Learn more about Mike and sign up for his free newsletter at http://www.Mike-Robbins.com

(Reprinted with Permission © Copyright 2008 Mike Robbins)


37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul

1. Are you living a life that is running crosswire to the grain of your soul?
2. Are you taking notes on what you hear yourself say?
3. Are you welcoming the largeness of life?
4. From whom, where or what do you take your clues about living?
5. Have you decided to care for your authentic selfhood?
6. Have you embraced what you dislike or find shameful about yourself?
7. Have you met the darkness within yourself?
8. How are you dishonoring your created nature?
9. How much dissolving and shaking of ego must you endure before you discover your deep identity?
10. If you’ve never been there, how can you take others there?
11. What are you honoring the nature of?
12. What birthright gifts have you been dragged away from?
13. What contains the energy needed to catapult you out of this rut?
14. What darkness is descending upon you?
15. What distorts your true self?
16. What do people hear when they listen to your life speak?
17. What does your life intend to do with you?
18. What ecosystem was the seed of your true self planted in?
19. What expectations are you precariously surrounded by?
20. What gap are you laboring to close?
21. What has taken you years to admit to yourself?
22. What is a sign that you have violated your own nature?
23. What is forcing you to live in a way that is untrue to who you are?
24. What is preventing you from living out your full self in the world?
25. What makes you go on full alert?
26. What precious wilderness do you seek?
27. What selfhood do you stand in?
28. What shadowy parts of your life are you withholding?
29. What situations cause you to mask your truth?
30. What text are you unconsciously writing?
31. What truth do you need to be attending to?
32. What vital clues to your identity are you missing?
33. Where do you need to plant the seeds of movement?
34. Where have you misread your own reality
35. Who are you meant to be?
36. Who will ask you honest, open questions to help you clarify your truth?
37. With whom are you regularly speaking about your own darkness?

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Scott Ginsberg, aka “The Nametag Guy,” is the author of seven books, an award-winning blogger and the creator of NametagTV.com. He’s the only person in the world who wears a nametag 24-7 and teaches businesspeople worldwide about approachability. For more info about books, speaking engagements, customized online training programs or to Rent Scott’s Brain for a one-on-one coaching session, call 314/256-1800 or email scott@hellomynameisscott.com.


Writing the Peace Treaty

by Rain Fordyce

“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?” – Abraham Lincoln

I was having a beautiful peaceful day. There was sunshine and I was happy. Then it happened, while in the middle of my spiritual practice, I uncovered a battle going on behind the scenes and beneath my very nose.
We all have inner turmoil which is why “You are your own worst enemy” is such a famous quote. Negative self-talk is a battle. You might recognize this battle. It’s when we complain about the way we look, eat, clean, exercise, speak, and how we see ourselves. However it’s the battle going on behind the negative talk that surprised me. It’s the voice of our negative self talk.  These are our core-belief battles and they are stopping you from moving forward, toward your dreams. There is an adult on one side of the battle line, and a small innocent child on the other. You better sit down, because I need to tell you something you may not be aware of. The child is winning.  You can’t tell the child to go away and if you try to fight her she will continue to win simply because she doesn’t play fair. There is only one way to stop the battle and as Abraham Lincoln said in the quote above, we had to become friends.

It was while I was trying to create more abundance and wealth in my life, when I came face to face with the child that created the life I had been living. The core-belief I discovered was being spoken in a five year old child’s voice and she was telling me that money ruined good people and that money would ruin me, my marriage and family if I had too much of it. And for the first time this child, as I listened to her intently, gave me her proof. Through her eyes I saw and heard my parents fighting terribly about money. I felt her fear and confusion. Since she did not understand the complexities of the world, marriage and having adult responsibilities, she made a childish judgment that had been running my life ever sense. “Money is bad. Money makes people who love each other, angry and fight. Money makes you hate people you love.”

You might be saying to yourself that this sounds rather childish, and you would be right. Since most core-beliefs are created by 2-10 year old children, they tend to sound rather immature, ridiculous and completely illogical. A core-belief is born from an innocent mind, and then becomes reinforced into truth by as little as one or two repetitions of a similar incident. Later, as you grow up and understand the world more clearly, your inner child will seek out and find events and situations to validate the original core-belief. She does this to protect you because she never wants you to feel as scared and hurt, as she did, ever again.
This particular belief about money is one of the easiest to validate as it is so widespread. Does the quote “Money is the root of all evil,” sound familiar to you? These thoughts, which became core-beliefs, did a wonderful job of serving us when we were little, by making simple sense of a complex world, protecting us from suffering and even bringing us more joy. Now the same core-beliefs are creating the exact life that our inner child believes to be protecting us from. Breaking down these beliefs are a powerful way to continue to grow up and empower our inner adult.
Fully attentive to my child’s voice, as though for the first time I felt such love for this small, sweet and innocent child and yet as an adult I felt ready to allow abundance into my life. I wanted to feel the joy of accepting money for the work I do, while acknowledging the value of having money to support my community, and most importantly support my family. I needed to connect the child and the adult in a way where both could be valued and acknowledged. I needed a win-win situation. Immediately, the quote from Abraham Lincoln popped into my head, which came to me in a newsletter just days before. It was though the universe was trying to tell me something. I was inspired to write down a way to create peace.
In that moment the peace treaty was born.

So I took a piece of paper and at the top of the page I wrote:
“A Peace Treaty with my Money-Hating Self.” I drew a line down the middle of the page and titled one side Why I Love Her and the other side Why I Don’t Need Her In Charge Anymore.
I began listing what I loved about this sweet five year old child who had protected me from the evils of money. I also listed what I had learned about never having a lot of money in my life. For we never hold onto what we believe to be negative behaviors if there is no benefit. For each item I had listed on the left, I wrote why I was okay without her in charge, why she could trust me, and why she could let go, on the right.
What became evident right away was a feeling of gratitude that filled my heart. I was so glad I walked the journey I did, and that I was growing into someone new with the knowledge I had gained. I realized how many times this small child had tried to stop me from living the life I wanted, so sure she was right in protecting me from getting hurt, as only a child in survival-mode knows how.
It was a beautiful experience to write the peace treaty with this sweet and innocent, strong-willed child. My heart opened and I felt free. I then wrote an affirmation in my adult voice to let this child know she was safe and she no longer had to protect me for I was ready to be the adult in charge.
After sharing my experience with others, I soon realized this was a powerful tool for everyone to use. I felt compelled to use the peace treaty for my other old beliefs I had lying around. I realized there were many children in my past who were stopping me from moving forward in other areas of my life.
It’s time to stop the inner-battle we have going on inside. It’s time we created peace inside ourselves and create our own peace treaty. We all deserve peace. For it is through peace that we will find the freedom we have been searching for.

Copyright 2008 by Rain Fordyce



Inspiration Ethics – The Value of Integrity

Mark A. Sturgell, CBC

Integrity – Noun; Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code; the state of being unimpaired; soundness; the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

The date is January 16, 2009. The day after US Airways Flight 1549 pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of Danville, CA, maneuvered his crowded passenger jet over New York City and ditched it in the Hudson River – successfully. All 155 passengers and crew are safe and miraculously escaped major injury – just bumps and bruises really. National media is abuzz with reports and first-hand interviews with passengers, now all safe, warm and dry, along with their rescuers and safety experts describing the ordeal. NBC dubbed the accident “Miracle on the Hudson”.

Pause now. Think about your values as if you had to list and describe them. What are your core values? If you are like most individuals and organizations Integrity shows up on your list of values. But what does it mean, this word, ‘integrity’ (perhaps the ultimate virtue)? What does it mean to you? How does your value for integrity show up for others daily? How is it you developed your integrity? How might you further develop this quality? Why does it matter?

For most of us, integrity means something like “doing what you say you will do”, or “how you act when no one is looking”. These are good tests of integrity, but don not really explain how one develops integrity. Structural integrity for a building is defined as “uncompromised ability to safely resist the required loads”. Structural integrity of a person could be defined as “uncompromised ability to appropriately resist challenges to virtue”. How do we develop this steadfast adherence to a strict moral code, this ‘sound’ response to difficult circumstances?

Like most things we do well, integrity comes from practice. In fact, the proper manner with which to refer to the quality of integrity as a human value would be “to practice integrity”. A person speaks and acts with integrity out of practice. Integrity is the result of preparation and choice, when one has lived long enough to have recognized one’s own innate capacity to act on whim, caprice or selfishness rather than deeply-held principle. Integrity comes from training and increases with the quality, length and adherence to the intent of that training. Integrity follows solid neural pathways, developed over time, that stimulate certain attitudes and habits, which produce seemingly instinctual right actions. But these actions are not based on animal instinct; right actions result from human desire and practice.

My favorite value-based definition of leadership is “authentic self-expression that adds value through relationships”. This includes relationships to both people and events. When self-expression begins to consistently add value over time, through every human encounter, through every decision and through every split-second reaction to events, then you have integrity.
Aspire to have integrity: practice discerning what is right, saying that you will do right, how and why you will do right, and doing so whether or not someone else is paying attention.

You can bet there are at least 154 people in this world who are thankful for the value Chesley Sullenberger has added through their brief relationships. What do “Sully” Sullenberger and Flight 1549 have to do with integrity? Sullenberger is reportedly an U.S. Air Force Academy grad who flew F-4 fighter planes in the 1970s while in the Air Force. He started flying commercial jets in the 1980s. “He is about performing that airplane to the exact precision to which it is made,” says the wife of her hero-husband. In addition to working for US Airways, he runs a safety consulting firm focused on the psychology of keeping airline crews functioning in the face of crisis. He has been an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board. I understand he is also certified to fly gliders – skills that surely helped land an Airbus A320 with both engines on fire in a controlled descent on a nearly frozen river rather than in the middle of a neighborhood of one of the world’s most densely populated cities.

Instinct didn’t take over for Sullenberger as he steered his jet toward those icy Hudson waters, practice kicked in – the practice of integrity. This is a man who decided earlier in life that safety and human lives were important enough to him that he would dedicate himself to preserving those ends. He trained, he studied, he learned day after day, year after year with those ends in mind. What once began as a pilot’s tenuous first flight, over the course of 40 years of practice became unconscious competence – the right attitudes, habits, decisions, actions and demeanor to save lives in a crisis.

Reflections to inspire personal growth in Integrity (with your learning partner)

How would your life be different if you were to practice integrity with greater intent and consistency? What can you do daily to increase your integrity? What is your personal code of ethics; what must you change to demonstrate them more fully? Find an accountability partner or hire a coach to help you practice integrity and take these actions:

* Integrity is the glue that binds your other virtues. What are your other core values? Why these?
* How do these values, together, define who you are, how you think and act, and how you are viewed by others?
* What words and behaviors do other people observe of you daily that demonstrate your values?
* What purpose would you have your life lead toward that you are willing to practice day after day, year after year, to be prepared for the chance event that may provide the ultimate test of your Integrity?
* What specific attitudes, habits and behaviors must you practice consistently to become the person of Integrity you aspire to be?
* Describe an experience or event when you were at your personal best and demonstrated Integrity.
* Describe a current situation in your life that, in your heart, you could apply the same level of Integrity as you did in your example above.
* Make plans to touch base with your learning partner in the next month about how you each are practicing Integrity. Hold each other accountable.

Mark A. Sturgell, CBC, is a Certified Business Coach and president of Performance Development Network. Mark coaches individuals, teams and organizations to achieve the measurable results they really want.Copyright 2009 Mark A. Sturgell. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and give author name credit.

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