Monthly Archives: December 2015

Measuring Impact

By Jae Ellard, Simple Intentions Founder

measure impactOne of our guiding principles at Simple Intentions is: Impact is measurable. For our clients, that means collecting feedback from participants about their experience – what did they learn, are they applying what they learned, and what can we do to improve our programs and services? For the Simple Intentions team, it means having clear goals and understanding what “success” means in all we choose to do.

It’s a habit for most people this time of year, both professionally and personally, to look forward into the coming year to dream and manifest what’s next and possible. As a company, we have some amazing things in store that you’ll being hearing about, including a new monthly podcast as well as an Intentional Leadership program.

But before we look ahead, we want to be in this moment, to acknowledge and celebrate our growth and impact this year. Here is Simple Intentions 2015 by the numbers:

  • 6,000+ people reached
  • 176 engagements
  • 30 countries
  • 5 multinational corporations
  • 90% of survey feedback positive on experience and content
  • 85% of clients continuing the work we started
  • 2 national columns (Mindful Magazine and Huffington Post)
  • 1 book launch: The 5 Truths About Work-Life Balance
  • 1 Manager Immersion 6-month program pilot
  • 2 certified Mindful Life consultants
  • 5 board advisors
  • 1 managing editor
  • 1 business manager
  • 1 accountant
  • 3 part-time vendors
  • New HQ in Kirkland, Washington
  • New satellite office in the United Kingdom (kick-off January 2016)

The support and encouragement from our clients and participants around the world has been incredible. We are moved and touched each day by your thank yous, encouragement and stories of how you’ve applied your new awareness skills. Please keep them coming and share with us on Facebook, Twitter or email.

The more we share stories of people living with awareness each day and how they do it, the more we can empower others who don’t know where to begin. We intend to keep the conversations going with you in 2016 and beyond.

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How to Improve Public Health? Be Your Word

By Jae Ellard, Simple Intentions Founder

[Note: This post originally appeared on Huffington Post.]

Be Your Word

In 2008, I founded Simple Intentions with the intention of helping people have conversations about topics that are difficult to talk about at work. Topics like balance, values and the choices we make that support or sabotage our desired outcomes.

That intention has evolved as a result of our team’s commitment to stop and reflect on what we learn from our customers and from our own journeys practicing what we teach. It was during one of these reflections that we developed a theory about how to improve public health around the world. That theory is: Be your word.

Our team belief is that if people are willing to say what they mean, then the collective impact could transform workplaces, communities, families, and the health of individuals everywhere.  We believe that a lot of modern-day stress stems from a lack of communication. Too often, we are not having conversations about our values and the boundaries we set (or don’t set) around how we live, honor or uphold our values. Sometimes these conversations are with friends, family and colleagues. Sometimes we avoid having these conversation with ourselves.

Or we might have the conversation, but it’s only half the conversation we need to have. Each day we encounter situations when we half-way express our needs and desires. We complain that we don’t feel heard. But how can others hear us if we’re not saying what we really mean?

In many cases, we half-way share because we fear being judged for what we think, feel or believe. We edit our expressions because we feel guilt or shame about a topic. Sometimes it’s just easier to not say what we really mean because then we don’t have to deal with the fall-out of disappointing or displeasing another person. So we half-way share.

The impact is many of us are experiencing a half-way existence with our colleagues at work, our friends and family at home. This way of living has become so common that full expression now feels radical and dramatic.

And what happens to the half of the conversation we withhold? It has to go somewhere, but where? We can’t help but believe it lives on in our bodies, contributing to stress, anxiety and depression.

The great news is that every single conversation you have with others offers you a choice to be your word, to say what you mean and embrace full expression. Even better is you have the same choice with the conversations in your head. What would it look like to have a full conversation with yourself?

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Habits Need Your Belief To Stick

By Kim Lowe, Simple Intentions Managing Editor

meditationWe’ve been talking a lot about habits lately at Simple Intentions. And not just because a new year is upon us and with it impending resolutions. Habits are also top of mind because our colleague, Sameer Bhangar, has been preparing to lead a Stop & See client workshop, and creating intentional habits is a core concept participants learn in that workshop.

During a practice run, Sameer challenged me to address a habit I’ve been struggling to keep for years: daily meditation. I’ve long understood the many benefits of meditation, and certainly experienced them during previous attempts at daily meditation. But for some reason, I can’t seem to sustain the habit. Intellectually, I know it’s good for me. But somewhere between my intellect and my actual behavior, breakdown occurs.

In practicing Stop & See with Sameer, I was reminded of the Habit Loop, popularized in The Power of Habit, which consists of a cue, a routine and a reward. In fact, I’ve considered this loop in the past, with attempts to attach meditation to existing routines such as immediately upon waking or after working out. Alas, I like to sleep, and I like to exercise, and my preference for sleeping a little longer or running another mile gradually squeezed out time for meditating.

This time, I realized I’d missed an essential element of habit forming. In focusing so much on the common pieces of the Habit Loop – cue, routine, reward – I overlooked an adjacent and critical element: Believing it’s possible for me to meditate every day.

The question came from Sameer: “Do you believe you can meditate every day?” Without skipping a beat, I heard my heart say no. No, I can’t meditate every day. The reality is, at this point in my life, I have a million things going on, and there’s no possible way I can sustain the effort of sitting down and meditating every day.

That’s not to say I’m giving up. I know meditation is too powerful to entirely surrender. With Sameer’s coaching, I came to a habit I do believe is possible for me: I can sit down and mediate once a week, every Monday morning before heading to work. Just the idea of starting small – one day rather than every day – brought on a relief that opened wide the possibility – and belief – that I could maintain a meditation practice.

And what better reward is there, post-meditation, than having a clear head and peaceful attitude for my Monday-morning commute to work.

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