Every year at the beginning of the year there are hundreds if not thousands of articles written on the importance of beginning the year with a plan, with goals, with direction. I am a huge proponent of living a pro-active life with intentionality and the first half of my life I did create wonderful plans, goals and had a clear sense of direction.
Now as I am entering the 2nd half of life, the way I used to operate does not entice me any longer. I still want to live a pro-active life and I am still intentional about the choices I make; however, what has changed is how I create that intentionality. I would like to share with you what I have discovered as a “holistic” way to create what I desire in life and work.
As I said, the first half of life I created beautiful linear business plans that made complete sense regarding the steps I needed to take to build my (gymnastics) business and support my direction. I followed the structure of a formal business plan, complete with market research, financials, organizational set-up and even an executive summary! If I needed to, I could have taken it to a bank for a small business loan and felt confident that it would get me what I wanted. It was a great exercise to go through each year and provided a structure for a well-organized plan. The business plan worked! My programs more than doubled in the first year, and grew every year for the 20 years I was involved.
Now, I am much more interested in a more flexible, open approach that allows me to build off what is currently showing up in my business. This approach is still pro-active and has direction. It also appeals to my creative side, which is showing up more and more in my 2nd half of life.
About 10 years ago, when I was in coaching school, I created a life manifesto. This manifesto had 8 statements that addressed how I want to show up in the world. I pulled this out 2 years ago to use as a sample in a course I was teaching at University of Wisconsin-Madison and was amazed at how much I had transformed myself to live out my Life Manifesto.
And so, I thought: if this type of intentionality works towards my life, what would it look like to create an Annual Manifesto instead of a business plan? I created a structure for my annual manifesto that included an annual theme, a perspective statement (what lens I want to view the year through; for example: abundance), a specific focus (health, growth, etc.) and my intentions.
To say it worked would literally be an understatement. The first year I not only manifested everything I wanted, but much more! The interesting thing is that it did not come to me the way I expected. In fact, my theme for the year was giving and it was through giving that I actually manifested all I wanted. Each year I look forward to discovering how my desires will actually manifest — it’s like being on a constant treasure hunt!
I have now taken both methods and combine my right-brain planning (manifestos and mindmaps) with my left-brain planning (linear plan with systems and structures) for a holistic view of the year. Try it! You may find that both sides of your brain will serve you much better together than using just one side.
If you have never created a manifesto, used a mind map or developed a business plan, set up a session or two with me and set some intentionality for the year!