Intentionality

Intentionality is a philosophical concept defined as “the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs.” – Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy

What does it mean to be intentional? Both in my daily comings and goings as well as an overall approach to life? How do I dig deeper to lead myself, and those entrusted to me, with greater awareness? How do I shape my personal, relational, spiritual, and physical goals in a way that pushes my boundaries?

These are all questions I’ve been grappling with as I set goals for the year ahead. What am I hoping to accomplish in 2020? How do they shape who I am today, who I will become, and how that impacts those around me? Existential much? You betcha.

As February unfolds I’ve been thinking and praying over the word* that will shape this year and intentionality has hit me over and over again. No matter what goal I set, no matter the topic, the theme presents itself. As I increase my self awareness the importance of being both conscientious and proactive comes to the forefront. And there’s no better word to summarize those two concepts than the word intentionality.

*A special thanks and shout out to Pastors Jeff Thompson and Ed Ollie for challenging me to pick a word to guide me through the year.

So what are some of the areas in which I want to put intentionality in action? Here’s a small sample:

– Relationships: more time with God, my family, and friends

– Waste: minimize use of plastics, compost. invest in reusable and refillable products, buy less, make more, switch to “the cup”

– Health: eat the rainbow, run weekly, strengthen my core, take daily vitamins, uphold the sabbath

– Finances: take control, make a budget and stick to it

And that’s just a handful! So where to begin?

To be intentional requires a magical mix of elements: awareness, attentiveness, and discipline. I hate that last one.

To be aware means constant re-education on the topic I’m unpacking. Whether that’s health, sustainable living, relationship building, or another area I’m looking to grow in, I have to be in-the-know, all the time. That can be exhausting but the alternative is going around blindly and becoming complacent. Awareness also includes doing a regular self inventory so I know where I stand in my quest for greatness. Just kidding – it’s not about ego – it’s about self accountability.

And that leads to attentiveness. This one’s tricky because I love “newness.” I’m like a magpie spotting a shiny object on the ground. “Ooh, ooh, forget my flight plan there’s something sparkly down there!” This includes the excitement of adding a new bit of decor to my home as well as the thrill of a new idea or endeavor. So remaining attentive to the goals I’ve set is crucial if I hope to stay on track. One of the ways to increase my focus is by having a plan which includes developing routines and checkpoints to keep me in line. If the goal is to eat a wider range of colorful foods, for example, than being impulsive will result in immediate failure. I need to make a weekly meal plan before I pick up groceries and that plan needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Recognize this as a S.M.A.R.T. goal? That’s because you’re of so clever!

Ugh. Discipline. Lack thereof leads to the demise of many goals and resolutions. Developing good habits starts with the painful realization that success requires having a plan (see above), focus, and a community to keep you on task. That can be a friend, family member, coworker, your cat, or as in this case, a blog post. Over the course of this year I will be sharing my goals and progress updates here each month. And I will be doing it with intentionality.

Do you have a word that’s guiding you through 2020? If so – what is it? Share below!

An Indie Biz: Planning 2012

As I sat musing about personal resolutions for 2012 this past weekend I couldn’t help but melt in Pierogi Picnic’s as well. Naturally, during this season of reflection, all of us our contemplating our dreams for the next year. But how do we keep these goals sorted while still retaining a passion for our creations?

Last year I compiled a set of questions for indie business owners to answer following the end of a fiscal year to help center their goals for the next twelve months. Keeping the 4 Ps in mind, product, presentation, passion, and plan, the queries below help to structure ideas and ambitions into bite-sized pieces. To help keep my own business resolutions focused, I’m going back to these questions to help me frame my thoughts for Pierogi Picnic in 2012.

1. Before anyone can take on the arduous task of planning 365 days of their future, one has to look back to see what worked and what didn’t in the recent past. What were your greatest successes of 2011? 

One of my hopes for 2011 was to really streamline the creation of items for the Pierogi Picnic Etsy shop. I was tired of making items in multiples, be it colors or sizes, only to find that the online audience was not receptive to that particular design. What I started to do instead was make ‘samples’ of new items, take photos in multiples, and then list the items as custom orders. A shift within the Etsy listing structure helped to enable this further by providing a ‘made to order’ field in which to categorize a listing. The result was fantastic! I was able to come up with basic designs like the “Green Girl” bathing suit, and then let the customers choose their hue via a color wheel. One of the biggest surprises was that many Pierogi Picnic shoppers chose a color I least expected – green! I wouldn’t have had the insight to make the swimwear in advance in this shade – so having the custom listings available proved beneficial to me and fans alike! Continue reading

Planning 2011: Goals, dreams, and putting things to paper

The key to making any indie business flourish is to have 4 Awesome Ps: Product, Presentation, Passion and a Plan. Without any of these you’ll find yourself stuck upside a wall and wondering why on earth your super cool crafted owl/octopus/fox screenprinted t-shirts aren’t selling. And since we’re still in the midst of celebrating the New Year – there’s no better time than the present to thing about P number 4: Plan.

I’ve been giving considerable thought to my New Year’s resolutions for Pierogi Picnic. Last year I came up with one specific goal and a flurry of hopes that I had considered early on. Some of those included scoring a wholesale account, building the PP website, getting more press, and hitting 300 sales on Etsy. While I have yet to get that account I was hoping for – I did make my other dreams come true. So now it’s time for me to ponder what is going to make 2011 stand out for my small biz. Will it be more craft fair participation, higher sales volumes, new creative endeavors, or getting into brick and mortars.

Before I sit down to pen these things out I have a list of questions that help guide my thought process: Continue reading