Welcome to 2024!
After inviting us to take some time to Reflect last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take some time this week to Project (the verb)!
Projecting at the beginning of a new year takes on lots of different forms and labels: image/vision boards, resolutions, goal setting, etc. The one thing I think all of these have in common, and the primary root of what I think it means to Project, is to focus with intention.
The beginning of a new year always feels like a natural time for us to engage in Projecting. There's just something about turning over that calendar page that draws us to make changes and adjustments in our lives. But often, our intentions turn out to be just that, only intentions. However, if we Project with a little more focus, we may discover our intentions can translate into more sustainable actions.
Focused Projection asks the question, What?
What do I want for this next year, or this next season of my life? Taking time to stop and actually put some thought into that question, even to the point of naming it or turning it into a vision board or a list of goals is actually very important. The more focus we can bring to our Projecting, the easier it will be for us to actually get specific about what it is we really want. A great tool for helping to focus more specifically on the "what" is to ask, "What would that actually look like?" For example, let's say what I want is to be more organized this next year. By asking myself, what would it actually look like for me to be more organized, I may come up with more specific things like, I want to have a planner that I regularly use to keep me on track and on task. Asking what our "what" actually would look like allows us to gain greater clarity on what it actually is we want! (What a wild sentence!)
Focused Projection asks the question, How?
For many people, "What" is as far as it goes, but if we lean into a more focused process of projecting it brings us to our second powerful question, "How will I get there?" This is where we take our ideas of what we want and we begin to break them down into concrete steps of movement that allow us to create a path to get there. For example, if what I want is to be more organized and what that actually looks like is for me to regularly use a planner, when I ask myself "How will I get there?", I discover I don't actually have a planner so I better go get one! And once I have it, I need to ask "How" again. How can I best use this planner in a way that makes it feel like a helpful tool, rather than a chore or just another thing I have to get done on my list? When I ask this question, I may discover that I don't like getting up any earlier than I have to, but I don't mind staying up a little later. So, if I plan to take some time in the evening before I go to bed to review my planner for the next day, some organizational strategies immediately present themselves (do I need to pack my lunch or do I have a lunch meeting tomorrow? What time and where do the kids need to be after school tomorrow, and how does that fit into my day? etc.). By asking myself the "How" questions, I move the "What" into more concrete steps!
Focused Projection asks the question, Who?
Once we've asked ourselves what we want, and how we are going to get there, perhaps the most powerful question then becomes "Who am I going to ask to help me stay on track with what I want and how I plan to get there?" This is where focused Projection pushes us to think strategically about who we have in the fabric of our relationships and who may be the best fit to help us keep moving forward. Back to our example of getting organized. Asking "Who" leads me to think about who I know and trust that would be willing to check in with me and ask me how I'm doing with taking time each evening to look at my planner for the next day. I can then approach them and extend an invitation to help support me in this Project! Asking "Who" after we've done the work of "What" and "How" creates a support network for us that makes our focused Projection even more sustainable.
Next week I want to share another word with you in this process of Focused Projection (Grace), but for now a few questions to ponder this week:
Have you taken time to identify what you want in this new year? Have you also taken the time to ask what that would actually look like in your life if it was happening? With your What in place, when could you create time to take the next step and ask yourself How you are going to get there? While you're at it, why not take some time and also ask yourself Who can help support you in taking the steps that were revealed from asking What and How?
Here's to spending some time on intentional, focused Projection this week!
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