Episode 7 Intentions vs Goals

7 | Intentions vs. Goals: Start with Purpose for Greater Impact

What if HOW you go about setting your goals can change the impact you have – even more than the goals themselves?

It’s that time of year for setting goals, to reflect on what you achieved – or didn’t achieve – in the past year and make resolutions and big goals for the coming year.

Yet most of us have it backwards when we go about setting goals. We start with our minds before we connect with our hearts.

In this episode of Chain of Learning you’ll discover what’s missing for most people in our goal-setting culture. If you really want to create a meaningful impact and be more likely to achieve your goals, you need to start first with your intentions.

In this episode of Chain of Learning you will learn:

✅ The difference between goals and intentions

✅ The importance of aligning actions in the direction of purpose

✅ About the Japanese concept of “kokorozashi” — a leader’s purpose, inner will, and enthusiasm

✅ How a focus only on achieving goals is problematic

✅ Why reflection is the beginning of learning and improvement

✅ A reflection exercise that will set you up for greater impact

✅ Why you must align with your intentions before setting goals

Tune in now to discover how you can set yourself up for success for 2024. 

Intention = Heart + Direction

Intention = Heart + Direction ®

意向 shikou — Japanese for ‘intention’ coming from symbols meaning heart and direction.

Leading with intention means connecting deeply with your purpose, with your values, with who you want to be, and how you want to lead your life, and ensuring that your behaviors and actions align in the direction with that purpose.

Five Step Intention and Goal Process

As you set your intentions and goals for the coming year, use the five-step process that I outlined in this podcast episode.

🌟 Start with Purpose: who do you want to be and the impact you want to have?

🌟 Reflect on Actions: how did you actually show up?

🌟 Analyze the Gap: what are the reasons for any gap between your actions and desired impact?

🌟 Identify Adjustments: what will you do differently to align with purpose?

🌟 Reflect on and Set Goals: how can you take the same process and determine what you want to achieve.

Reflection Questions to Ask Yourself

Consider these questions as you reflect on the year past and look forward to the future for the impact you want. These questions are the ones posed in the podcast episode plus a few others that will help you as you practice your hansei – or deeper self reflection. 

Reflect on these questions as a whole human being – your intentions and goals in this world and your personal life –  as well as specifically on your intentions and goals professionally.

1 – Start with Purpose

  • Who do you want to be?
  • What’s your purpose?
  • What’s most important to you? Go back to your why.
  • Why do you want to accelerate the rate of learning in your organization?
  • Why do you want to create a continuous improvement learning culture?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • What impact do you want to have as a transformational change leader in your organization, as a leader of your team, as an operational excellence coach?
  • How do you want to relate to others and how do you want others to relate to you or experience you?
  • Who do you want to be as a human in this world, as a parent, as a spouse, as a friend?
  • How do these personal and professional aspects of your purpose interconnect?

2 – Reflect on Actions

  • What actions in the past year did you take that aligned or didn’t align with your heart, your purpose?
  • How did your actions line up with this purpose?
  • How did you actually show up?
  • What were times that you were really aligned with your purpose?
  • What are some things that you did that weren’t always aligned? How did it feel for you? For others?
  • What was the actual impact of your actions on your team (or others in your life)?
  • Did your accomplishments, the achieving of your goals, feel good in the execution – the process of working towards the goals – not just the outcome?

3 – Analyze the Gap

  • What were some of the times that you found it harder to be in alignment with the impact you want or with your purpose, what are some times that were easier?
  • What is the gap that you need to close in your actions to be aligned with your intentions?

4 – Identify Adjustments

  • What specific actions do you need to take next year that are more aligned with who you want to be?
  • What can you do that will be more aligned with the impact you want (For your team? Your family? Your friends?)
  • What behaviors do you need to change or adjust?
  • What are you going to do when you’re in situations that trigger your habits that aren’t aligned with the impact you want?
  • What is working well? And how can you leverage these times to help you create other positive habits.
  • Examples: How will you foster greater learning, more problem solving and more [fill in the blank] with your team?

5 – Reflect on and Set Goals

Daily Intention and Reflection Journal

If you want support in aligning your actions with your purpose, I offer you the practice of conducting daily intention and reflection.

You can download my daily intention and reflection journal and learn more about the practice in this blog post I wrote about intentions and goals.

I challenge all the leaders in my workshops, group coaching, and trusted advisor programs to do this for at least a month. They – like you will be – are always amazed at how much this simple practice of setting daily intentions for practice and reflecting can have on shifting behavior, deepening learning, and accelerating desired impact.

And, most also find it initially a challenge but one that becomes an important habit.

 

You can download my daily intention and reflection journal and learn more about the practice in this blog post I wrote about intentions and goals.

Intention Calligraphy and 100-Year Calendar

In the episode, I reference the artwork of the triptych of the word “intention” in Japanese (shikou) that I finally had framed, as well as the 100-year calendar I got on my most recent Japan Study Trip.

Learn more about both in this short video I made at the same day I recorded this podcast episode!

Important links and additional resources

Listen Now

Listen now on your favorite podcast players such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Audible. You can also listen to the audio of this episode on YouTube.

Timestamps:

00:31: Intention for this episode
02:55: Typical New Year goal setting
03:27: Concept of intentions versus goals
04:27: Importance of intention in leadership
06:48: The difference and connection between goals and intentions
08:24: Discovery of Intention = Heart + Direction ®
09:52: Japanese concept of ‘kokorozashi’
12:00: The impact of focusing on goals only
14:21: The power of intention in navigating setbacks
15:09: The importance of connecting with your purpose
17:05: Reflection process for   determining intentions and  goals
19:27: Reflection exercise with questions
21:11: Steps for aligning actions with purpose
23:35: Identifying and aligning actions for the next year
26:06: Dealing with challenges, staying focused and moving forward
27:09: Balancing professional and personal goals
28:04: Legacy and the concept of intention
31:04: Importance of focusing on intentions before goals
31:38: Reflection on leadership with intention for the coming year and conclusion

Full Episode Transcript

Katie Anderson:
What if how you go about setting your goals can change the impact that you have and the probability that you will achieve the results that you want? Would you adjust your approach? Today I’m going to show you how so that you can welcome to chain of learning where the links of leadership and learning unite. This is your connection for actionable strategies and practices to empower you to build a people centered learning culture, get results and expand your impact so that you and your team can leave a lasting legacy. I’m your host and fellow learning enthusiast, Katie Anderson.

Katie Anderson:
We’re coming to the end of the year and it’s time to reflect on everything that we’ve achieved and accomplished and set goals for next year. As a leader and organizational lean or operational excellence practitioner, I am sure that like myself, you are already diving into your goal planning for next year. But before you get too far, I want to give you some tips and some questions that will help you be more effective in actually creating the impact that you want and make sure that next year is the best one yet for yourself, for your team and for your organization. I want this episode to be the catalyst to propel you into impact for the next year, to achieve your goals, to lead your organization to the learning culture you know is possible and for you to feel connected to purpose and build a legacy. So earlier this month, I was working with one of my clients to help him go through a reflection process, to help him get set up on a path towards success and greater impact in the coming year.

Katie Anderson:
So my client, Ian, is a transformational change leader at a large multinational company and in his role he’s charged with leading their lean leadership program where he’s coaching many of the executives, leading their strategy deployment process, and building a team of internal consultants and coaches who are building this capability for learning and organizational transformation. And while he’s seen a lot of success, in many ways, there have been a lot of setbacks too. And at times he’s felt frustrated about really how much impact he’s really having and for his team as well. And I’ve been working with him on this reflection process to really help him more deeply understand what happened last year, how they are working on achieving the goals he’d set out, but also to create some questions to help him identify his vision for the next year, the impact he really wants for himself and in the organization, and then the steps that he and his team members can make. And I realized that this process too could be helpful for you as you are going through your reflection process and thinking about your goals and your vision for what you want to achieve and accomplish and the impact you want to have next year.

Katie Anderson:
So in this episode, I really want to focus on how you can get into the new year and make it the one where you’re going to really accelerate that rate of learning in your organization and have real meaningful impact, that it’s aligned with your purpose and what you want to achieve. So let’s dive into this episode. I want to really focus on the difference in the connection between goals and intentions, and how starting with intention can really help you be more likely to achieve your goals. Plus, an added bonus, you will be likely be feeling more fulfilled and aligned with a sense of purpose. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I teach a lot about intentions versus goals, as well as the concepts of being versus doing and leading with the heart as well as the mind to create organizational transformation and impact.

Katie Anderson:
And you might have heard some of the recent podcast episodes where I talk about these concepts. Actually, when I was reflecting on the episodes that preceded this, most of the episodes talk about these concepts of how we’re showing up to really create impact and achieve goals. But I encourage you to go back and look at these past episodes, especially episode four, which was leading for Impact, the power of being overdoing, and episode five, which is my conversation with Eduardo Braceno, where we explore the performance paradox and how getting overly focused on outcomes actually impedes our actual performance and our success. But in this podcast chain of learning, we haven’t really explored one of the core concepts in how I show up and what’s so important for me, both personally and professionally. It’s the concept of intention.

Katie Anderson:
And I believe it is so powerful in supporting us to be more effective as leaders, as change agents, as humans, and in achieving our goals. And it’s foundational for how I teach and coach leaders like you, who want to develop high performing learning cultures and achieve results. So let’s explore these concepts of goals and intentions. We often use the words goals and intentions interchangeably, but they’re really distinct yet interconnected. So goals are more external, while an intention is internal.

Katie Anderson:
Goals are what you want to achieve. Intentions are who you want to be and the impact you want to have on others. And an important distinction is we don’t always have control over the external factors that influence whether or not we achieve the goals, but we always have control over how we show up in navigating those challenges and through the success and creating the impact that we want. So this is where the power of intention is so important as if this is what we can always control. We can control how we show up.

Katie Anderson:
We can’t always control whether or not we’re able to achieve those goals. So let’s talk a little bit more about goals. So I’d mentioned that they are more external, and they are what you want to achieve, or what you need to achieve, or what you’ve been assigned to achieve. Goals are tangible, they’re externally visible. They have a clear, defined endpoint, or a measurable achievement, a final destination.

Katie Anderson:
They’re usually determined more through using our minds. So goals are achieved by doing some analysis, some logical reasoning, and setting a goal, as you know, is about defining a clear outcome to be achieved and then creating a plan of how we’re going to get there. So you already know this about goals. It’s like, what’s that challenge you need to accomplish? What’s the target?

Katie Anderson:
What’s actually happening? What’s the gap between where we need to be and what’s actually happening? Do that root cause. And then we put some interventions, some countermeasures, some plans in place for how we’re going to close the gap and get there. Hopefully, through iteration, we’ll get there and finally succeed.

Katie Anderson:
But things don’t always go to plan. Our intentions, conversely, are connected with what’s important inside of us, our hearts, our values, our purpose. Intentions are how we live each and every day. They’re an expression of who we are as a person, and they’re often about our relationships, not only with ourselves, but with others. So it’s really this heart focused element.

Katie Anderson:
And intentions help us know how we’re showing up. And is that truly going to have the impact we want? I discovered a deeper meaning for the word intention when I moved to Japan nearly ten years ago. For those of you who are just learning about me, I lived in Japan for nearly two years with my family in 2015 and 16, and it was an incredible opportunity as a continuous improvement change leader who had been applying concepts of the Toyota production system and the Toyota way in different organizations, including healthcare, for many, many years. And I was thrilled by the opportunity to move there.

Katie Anderson:
Well, I showed up and didn’t have a business card. I had just started my consulting practice a year before, and like most people in the US, we don’t really give out business cards so much anymore. But in Japan, you exchange business cards as a ritual, with every single introduction as part of the ritual or the kata of meeting someone. So I knew I needed cards, but I didn’t even have a business logo. So I asked the business card company to put the word for intention in Japanese on my card, because for a long time, as I mentioned, I believe this concept of intention is very important.

Katie Anderson:
It’s like, how are we purposeful? How are we being proactive? How are we knowing what we’re doing and the reasons behind it? But when I learned of the richer meaning of the symbols that represent the word intention in Japanese, I just had this aha moment. I started exchanging my business cards, and japanese people who speak English would tell me, whoa, this is a very, very powerful word.

Katie Anderson:
And I asked them to explain more. I discovered that the symbols representing the Japanese word for intention, shiko, come from two sub symbols, the first coming of two other symbols, one meaning samurai and the other meaning heart or mind or spirit. So together, the strength of the heart and then a second symbol meaning direction, like a compass. And I came to see that intention equals heart plus direction. This has become such a phrase of mine, it’s such a concept of mine that I’ve actually even trademarked it.

Katie Anderson:
Intention equals heart plus direction. It’s actually all over my office and in calligraphy and on daruma dolls that I have all around me to remind me of the power of this word. So the part of heart actually comes from a word fully meaning kokorozashi. So this samurai plus the heart or the spirit, the spirit of your inner purpose. Kokorozashi is your sense of purpose.

Katie Anderson:
What motivates you, who you want to be. And in Japan, one’s kokorozashi is often used in a business setting, actually to represent a leader’s inner will and drive to achieve both personal and organizational purpose, as well as visions and goals. And it’s about your enthusiasm, this energy inside of you that comes forth to inspire and motivate others towards a greater purpose or vision as well. So there’s something very energetic, very heart connected about this concept of intention. What’s really important, too, is this other element of direction is that we need to take the actions that are aligned in the direction of our purpose to have the impact that we want.

Katie Anderson:
And so that is the real power here. And where I see a lot of challenges in the leaders that I work with, and, frankly, in the challenges for myself, is not that we don’t have this desire for impact and a real sense of purpose, about creating a learning organization, about inspiring and lifting others to be able to solve problems and be capable and confident. It’s that the actions that we take aren’t always aligned in that direction. And so this is something that’s so powerful to reflect on how much are your actions aligned with the impact that you want to have. So this connection and difference between intentions and goals matter because it impacts how you show up and how you experience or enjoy the results you’re striving for or trying to get your team to achieve as well.

Katie Anderson:
And a focus on goals alone and what you either accomplished or didn’t accomplish is problematic. Sometimes we find that we’re like, achieving goals kind of feels empty, like you’re just doing it to do it. And this is where we get caught in that doing trap. Maybe it’s not even sustainable because we focused on getting to the goal, but we didn’t create the capability to be able to continue to repeat the process or continue to problem solve. Maybe you’ve experienced that you’ve been burnout and stressed.

Katie Anderson:
And we talked about this in the last episode with Eduardo Briceño. Like this performance paradox where we’re focused on the goal so much and the doing that we kind of lose sight of that purpose and who we want to show up as and how we want to. You know, maybe you feel empty or kind of bad about how you impacted others in order to get, quote unquote there to achieve the goal. And so when we think about the importance of goals, if we only focus on the goals, the outcome, but not the being who we want to be and the impact we want to have in order to get to the goals, then we’re also really doing a disservice as well. So if you think about this at work for yourself as a leader or a continuous improvement change leader, sometimes you might find that you’re getting so focused on the business result that you’ve been tasked to achieve that you’re short changing the way you’re interacting with your team.

Katie Anderson:
And I see this a lot with the leaders I coach. So a focus on the goals or all the things they need to do or want to achieve sometimes create this environment where just focused on the doing. And, you know, you may want to be a leader who coaches and develops others to learn and grow, but maybe you’re ending up telling team members what to do, giving your answers. You’re in this trap where you feel under pressure, that you don’t have time to ask questions. And if you’re really trying to create this culture of learning, this high performing culture of continuous improvement, you have to intentionally show up with the leadership behaviors that cultivate the conditions that will lead to that outcome, will lead to that goal.

Katie Anderson:
And so this is that interrelationship too. We need to be able to pull on that drive of who do we want to be and leverage that to help us have the energy to move forward even in times of setbacks. So if you want to create an organization where everyone’s capable and confident to solve important problems, you have to get out of this doing trap. And the only way to do that is focusing on your intention instead of just the outcome or the goal. There’s an additional power of the concept of intention.

Katie Anderson:
So knowing who you want to be and the impact you want to have, your intentions also can give you the resilience in navigating setbacks and hard times that are inevitable along the path towards achieving goals. It will help give you that willpower and the strength to keep persevering to get to that final outcome. And ultimately, maybe you don’t ever get there, but that’s where you always have a choice in how you’re showing up. And I think about this so much where I saw the power of intention personally when my dad was living with ALS at the end of his life. And I’ll share about that a bit later in the podcast about how that’s really impacted me and really influenced how I think about why we want to lead with so much intention before we focus on the goals.

Katie Anderson:
But first, I want to talk a bit more about this concept of intention and why it is so important. So when we show up with intention, when we’re more proactive and not reactive, our team will likely show up and be more engaged. They will contribute to solving more problems, they’ll create more improvements. They’ll stick around in our organizations longer. They’re going to be happier in that true, genuine happiness and feeling like someone really cares about them as an investing in them.

Katie Anderson:
And this shows up the same way in our personal lives, too, about yourself as a parent, or growing and developing other people, or as a friend or as a spouse. But at work, how we get to this people centered learning culture, how we make these organizational culture shifts, is by making sure that our actions are really aligned with that purpose that we want to have. It’s not just about the doing and the achieving of external goals, but about embodying this true spirit of leadership for creating the conditions for learning, for improvement, for growth, and for success. So we have to focus on the being the leading with our intention to create cultures that are going to have those high performance and those outcomes that we want. And so this is the connection between intentions and goals.

Katie Anderson:
So as you are going through your reflection process for this year or this time, period. Whenever you’re listening, I encourage you to not only reflect on your goals, what you did or did not accomplish or your team did or did not accomplish, but reflect more deeply on your purpose, who you are and how you define yourself, the impact that you want to have and how you showed up even in the face of challenges or adversity or things going off course, as well as those times that you really were really aligned and you saw those successes as well. The level of reflection needed between goals and intentions is different. It’s a deeper, more inward focus when you look at your intentions than you might do about goals and external accomplishments. And you know how to do that already.

Katie Anderson:
I mean, this is what we’re all trained for and we’re great at. It’s like, how do you do some analysis on what did you expect to happen or what needed to happen, what actually happened? That’s the gap. Do some root cause analysis and now figure out what you need to adjust or what goals need to be accomplished next year or what’s your strategy and how the goals and the actions connect. What are these external accomplishments you need for your organization, for your team, or for yourself individually?

Katie Anderson:
But reflection on your intentions require you to go much more deeper inside, to be introspective and really kind of humble and kind to yourself and practice what the Japanese call Hansei. Hansei is a word for deeper self reflection, and it’s really going beyond the surface, but really inward into what was going on for you. Reflect on questions like, who do you want to be? What’s most important to you? What impact do you want to have, and how did you actually show up?

Katie Anderson:
And going through this reflection process will help you inform your leadership approach and give you insights, too. If the goals that you have for all the things you want and for your teams to accomplish are really aligned with real purpose and are they connected to the impact that you want to have? So this is the same process that I have been putting forward to some of my coaching clients, and I’ve been going through myself. And here’s what you can do right now, and I want to invite you to take some time for reflection in a different and deeper way. So I’m going to ask you a few questions.

Katie Anderson:
So if you’re able to grab a pen or notepad or anything else to take some notes right now, then hit pause and go do that, and you can listen through and reflect on these questions as we go through it. If you can’t right now, that’s fine. Keep listening, but then come back to this episode when you’re set up and have a space and time for some reflection and some writing about your answers to these questions, and go through this section again so I’ll be sure to note where these questions are in the show notes so you can come right back. Okay, so we’re going to get started and I want you to reflect on these things both as a whole human being, but really specifically as well as it relates to who you are as a leader and a continuous improvement change agent in your organization, trying to create this culture of continuous improvement as well. So first, take a step back and connect with purpose.

Katie Anderson:
This is the heart in the equation. Intention equals heart plus direction. And if you haven’t already done so, I recommend you also go back and listen to episode four, where I talk about an exercise of drawing about how you can explore your why, your purpose, and more through an exercise of drawing these things. But for right now, I want you to answer these questions in words. And of course, if drawing helps you, then go for it.

Katie Anderson:
Reflect on these questions. Who do you want to be? What’s your purpose? What’s most important to you? Go back to your why.

Katie Anderson:
Why do you want to accelerate the rate of learning in your organization? Why do you want to create a continuous improvement learning culture? Why is this important to you? What impact do you want to have as a transformational change leader in your organization, as a leader of your team, as an operational excellence coach? How do you want to relate to others and how do you want others to relate to you or experience you?

Katie Anderson:
You can also ask these questions to yourself more broadly. Who do you want to be as a human in this world, as a parent, as a spouse, as a friend? And how do these all interconnect together as well? So this is the first step to really connect with the heart and to the purpose. The second step is now to move into the direction and reflect on your actions.

Katie Anderson:
What actions in the past year did you take that aligned or didn’t align with that heart, that purpose? So here are some questions for you to reflect on as we go through right now, too. How did your actions line up with this purpose? How did you actually show up? What were times that you were really aligned with your purpose?

Katie Anderson:
What are some things that you did that weren’t always aligned? How did it feel for you? For others? What was the actual impact of your actions on your team? Did your accomplishments, the achieving of your goals feel good in the execution, not just the outcome?

Katie Anderson:
For an example of some of these questions, this is a common one in all the leadership seminars I give for executives and coaching with CI change leaders. If your purpose, for example, is to develop the conditions for learning and others, did you actually give space for learning? Did you ask questions? Get out of your office? Conversely, how often were you giving your answer?

Katie Anderson:
Or did you get stuck in meetings so you weren’t able to really connect with your team? What was the impact of all of this? So be kind to yourself and reflect on this. But this will really help you understand some opportunities for improvement and how you can further accelerate and align your actions to have the impact that you want. So this leads us to our third step, which is to now reflect on any gaps between the purpose of how you wanted to show up and the impact you wanted to have and how you then actually showed up in the impact that you observed.

Katie Anderson:
So reflect on what was going on for you. What were some of the times that you found it harder to be in alignment with that impact, that you wanted to be in alignment with your purpose? What are some times that were easier? This will help you understand how you can make adjustments and continue to improve for yourself as well. So the fourth step is then identify what adjustments do you need to make.

Katie Anderson:
And for those of you continuous improvement leaders, you will know this will sound very familiar. So, understanding the gap that you need to close and then what are the adjustments? This is that plan. Do, study, adjust, cycle. So right now we’re studying and adjusting how you can continue to get better.

Katie Anderson:
So identify what specific actions do you need to take next year that are more aligned with who you want to be, more aligned with, the impact that you want to have on your team. What are you going to do when you’re in situations that trigger you to maybe have some of those habits that aren’t aligned? How will you foster greater learning, more problem solving and more with your teams as well? Finally, for the fifth step, now that you’ve reflected on your intentions and the impact you want to have, you can move into reflecting on your goals and what you achieved and didn’t achieve and what goals you have for the next year. So now you will have a better picture on your motivation, of what’s really driving you, what’s connected to purpose, and also how you need to maybe align your goals, what you want to achieve externally with who you want to be, the leader you want to be, and the purpose for yourself and your team and your company.

Katie Anderson:
So a question for you is how is what you want to accomplish also aligned with who you want to be and the impact you want to have? I’ve been reflecting on these questions myself, as I always do. And it’s interesting, there’s always this constant tension between me as a high achiever and the things I want to accomplish and achieve, and then staying grounded, really, as someone who deeply believes in the power of intention. And I find that when I come back to purpose and the impact I want to make, it really helps me make better decisions, both in the moment, but in the bigger picture. And when I find myself not showing up in alignment, it gives me pause and it gives me space to think, okay, is this goal really that important to me?

Katie Anderson:
Is it truly aligned with the purpose I want to have? And also when there are challenges, even with this podcast, I had a goal. I wanted to create a podcast and create a container for us to learn and grow and develop together. Of course, there are external accomplishments that mean the first goal was to create the podcast, but there are other goals around growing the podcast. And what are those external metrics of success.

Katie Anderson:
But I have to remind myself that actually what’s most important to me is the intention behind it. It’s about how do I through this space here together with you listening to me, how do we create conversation, how do we create deeper learning? How is this really aligned with my purpose of connecting hearts and minds so that we can work together to make the world a better place. And so it reminds me not to worry so much about being perfect and just to keep moving forward and iterate. And my motto of when we say in learning, anything is possible.

Katie Anderson:
So when we stay more focused on the impact we want to have, it can keep us grounded and the achievements as well. And I think about this with like, if I look back on all the things that I’ve done this year, it’s been an incredible year with so many goals that I’ve achieved and some challenges, too, especially some things going on in my personal life or with my family. But it’s been a great year. There have been book awards, I’ve launched this podcast, I’ve keynoted stages around the world, Brazil, Canada, Europe, the US. And that’s all great, and it’s really inspiring for me, and it just makes me feel fulfilled.

Katie Anderson:
But really where I come back to is that it’s allowed me to fulfill my intention, which was inspiring, positive connection, and to create joy in learning with people around the world. And I’ve also had to make some hard choices. There are some things that I’ve wanted to do this year, but they weren’t necessarily aligned with my full intention of how I want to show up also in the totality of my life. For example, I chose not to go to a conference that I always love going to, but I wanted to be home for Halloween with my children, who are ages nine and twelve. And so I was really torn for a long time with this goal of achieving going to this conference and all these professional commitments.

Katie Anderson:
But I also realized that wasn’t in alignment with where I wanted to be as a parent. And so just connecting with your purpose as a whole human being and balancing out those professional and personal goals with the impact you want to be having can help you make choices that are really aligned with your real purpose and intention. So if we think about this concept of intention, this is where your legacy comes from. Your intention about the impact you make is about how you’ll be remembered. It’s not about what you did, but how you showed up.

Katie Anderson:
And I talked about my dad, who passed away of ALS exactly seven years ago at the time of this podcast release. And he had a motto for his whole life, today is a great day. He actually was disabled in a motorcycle accident when he was 22 years old. So I never knew him as a fully abled body person, but he never let that stop him. And there were some really, really hard times, of course, and he achieved a tremendous amount.

Katie Anderson:
He was an orthopedic surgeon and had all of these accomplishments. But his legacy is how he showed up with the intention to inspire joy and to live that each and every day is a great day. He used this as a way to lift himself up through those challenging times. This is that spirit inside of us. How does it help us bring ourselves forward, navigate through those challenges and through those setbacks?

Katie Anderson:
The sun was shining, perhaps, and he could feel it on his face, and he could experience the joy in that moment and then come forward and bring joy back into the world. And so that’s what also inspires me each and every day about how am I intentionally bringing joy into the world, intentionally bringing learning into this world, and inspiring positive connection, and that today is a great day. I recently also got a 100 year calendar on my most recent Japan study trip, and I have it framed in my office now. And it’s a calendar that represents the fact that we are all going to die sometime on one of the dates listed in this calendar. And that’s not to be morbid, but it’s to demonstrate that our days are limited and we don’t know when our day is going to be up.

Katie Anderson:
And it’s about how do we take advantage of each and every other day to make it a great day to show up with intention, to be connected with purpose and the leaders of this company in Japan use this calendar to talk with their employees at orientation and they have it all over the company as well to remind them that they are there to create the conditions in their business environment that allow people the opportunity to fulfill their intentions, to be lifted up into the goals that they want to achieve, the visions for their life they want to achieve, and how that they can work together to also be connected to fulfilling the purpose and the things that need to be achieved for the company as well. It’s this focus on intention about how we’re showing up as human beings that allow us to then be more empowered to work towards achieving those goals together. So when we show up in alignment with purpose, not only does it feel better for us and our teams, we have more resilience and we have more drive in achieving our goals, both personally and collectively. Focusing on intentions before goals helps you be a better leader. It gives you a connection to purpose and that inner will, that Kokorozashi to inspire and empower your teams to fulfill their dreams and to achieve the big goals that you need for your organization as well.

Katie Anderson:
When you connect on intention, you create a big impact on individuals and you create a company culture where everyone feels personally aligned and invested in achieving goals together. So reflect on the questions posed in this episode and share them with your team. Reflect together on intentions so that you can be more aligned and working together to achieve your goals. Who do you want to be and what impact do you want to have in the coming year? How will you lead with intention to create that impact and to achieve your goals?

Katie Anderson:
And how can you too make today a great day no matter the situation in front of you? Thanks for being a link in my chain of learning today. Be sure to follow or subscribe now to the podcast and share this episode with your friends and colleagues so that we can all strengthen our chain of learning together. I’ll see you next time.

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