“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.”
– Buddhist Proverb
We start with great ideas, the best intentions, but most of us have a difficult time going the distance. Do you want to lose ten pounds? Go to the gym three times a week? Spend more time with the kids?
What about your intentions for your business? Were you going to make 25 sales calls each week? Hire a new assistant? Increase profit by 20%? We have been talking about how important it is to set intentions for your business. How you need to have specific and measurable targets that drive your actions throughout the year. But if we keep getting distracted by the fire drills and interruptions that happen every day, those business intentions are likely to go the way of that gym membership.
What is it that stands in the way of us delivering on all those good intentions? We understand what we have to gain by sticking to the program, we know that the payoff could be huge, but we just keep dropping out the actions that will keep us moving toward the goal.
No matter whether you have set intentions for your business or your personal life, the key to delivering on them is a good existence system. Because if you can’t keep your intentions in existence, they will die.
What is an existence system? It is a tool or method you use to determine where your actions are going to occur in time. Everything we do, from getting out of bed in the morning, to landing the big contract that makes our year, occurs in time. If we schedule our actions into time, and into our calendars, we keep those actions in existence, and we have a much higher probability of success.
There are several types of existence systems, but the best is your calendar. Just as you schedule a dentist appointment and show up for it, you must schedule your business actions into your calendar and SHOW UP. Do you need to spend five hours a week in sales? Ten hours finishing a proposal? Twenty hours building a production system for your product? Make appointments for yourself to spend time on these tasks, and then show up for those appointments.
Your calendar then becomes a measurement for your future success, your tool for keeping your intentions alive. The first thing you need to do is make a list of all the actions that need to happen to deliver on your intention. Next, assign a specific amount of time to those actions. Finally, schedule all those hours into the calendar over the next week, month and year. You will begin to see the picture of your future success as you see how these tasks will unfold over time.
But what about interruptions? We hear this all the time. “I can’t just ignore my biggest client when he calls with a problem.” “My boss constantly runs into my office with emergency projects.” Yes, we all are plagued with interruptions that can derail our progress and throw our schedule off kilter. The solution is to schedule time in your calendar every day for interruptions. Maybe it’s an hour, maybe two. If the phone system dies and you need to deal with it right away, move up the hour for interruptions and reschedule your sales call for the open slot in the afternoon. When you schedule time for interruptions, you are less likely to drop out the time you had scheduled to accomplish important tasks.
When it comes time to show up for that sales activity, you should be focused on that and nothing else. It’s amazing how productive you can become when you allow yourself to focus on one task for an hour. Before you know it, you have made significant progress on your intention, just by having it scheduled in your calendar.
Visual displays may sound cheesy, but they go a long way toward keeping your intention in existence. Those fundraiser thermometers are a good example. With a quick glance, you can see how far you’ve come and how much more work you have to do. Set up a reward system along the way. After each key component of your intention is accomplished, reward yourself with a nice dinner or new handbag. Keep the incentives in place, even if you’re only playing against yourself.
This week, create an existence system that allows you to schedule all the actions that need to happen to deliver on your intentions.You may see that you need additional resources to get it all done.Making adjustments and being open to new possibilities is all part of keeping an intention alive.
If you would like support in building a system that will hold you accountable to your intentions, give us a call. We are experts at creating specific plans and systems for staying on the path to success. Because if you are going to win the game of business, you have to go the distance.
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