Clear. Consistent. Achievable.

Caroline and I recently attended a Greater Richmond Chamber's Exceptional Women’s Exchange conversation that showcased three exceptional women doing exceptional things right here in Richmond.  We were lucky to hear tons of leadership advice from women who have been there and are still doing it.  The panel consisted of Gail Johnson, President & CEO of Rainbow Station, Rita McClenny, President & CEO, Virginia Tourism Corporation and Sarah Paxton, Co-Owner, LaDifference.

While there were many great take-aways and pieces of advice shared by the panel – I found myself reflecting on one story in particular shared by Gail Johnson.  Each panelist was asked to share a picture that represented a piece of their personal story that contributed to their success.  She shared a picture of her accepting membership in the Rising 25 program co-sponsored by KPMG LLP, the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In order to be awarded a Rising 25, one of the criteria is being in business for 5 years.  She first became aware of the program when her business was under a year old.  To herself, she said, “I am going to be in this group.”  She never shared this intention with anyone, but over the years, when her lawyer, banker, and other business advisors told her she was moving too fast and growing too quickly, she pushed their resistance aside and quietly held this intention. 

While the research tells us that ‘publicly committing’ to a goal increases the chance of achieving it by roughly 80%, here was an intention that she didn’t share with anyone.  Huh, wonder what made this work?  Wonder why she achieved it while just holding it within herself? 

I don’t know the answer, there were probably lots of factors that contributed.  What I do take away from this story is that in the program’s simplicity there is clarity.  The criteria to make this list were clear, consistent and achievable.  Wonder what would happen if we set more goals that held those three characteristics – clear, consistent and achievable?  What if we pushed away the noise and the distractions and gave ourselves permission to focus on that which is clear, consistent and achievable?  Wonder where our intentions (spoken or unspoken) would lead us then?