intention4-300x227“Intention” is a big buzzword nowadays. In my leadership group, one woman in particular uses the word in almost every one of her communications. Sometimes I find myself responding: “I get your intention. And what ACTION are you going to take on that intention?” Intention is important and can be a huge motivator. But without action to follow it up, intention is just a nice thought. Telling my friend I intend to spend more time with her this year is actually hurtful if I don’t do it. Telling myself I intend to lose 5 pounds won’t get me far if I eat a box of cookies every day.

As entrepreneur and author John Maxwell says in a recent interview about his book Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters, “No one has ever been successful with good intentions alone. There has to be action.”

I set out in 2015 with an intention to accomplish many things—my new year’s “Ressaylutions.” Here’s the list and how I did:

  1. Roll out a new “responsive” (mobile-friendly) website.
 Goal achieved! has launched in its new form and is mobile-friendly! I have a new home page as well which launched just last week and is almost the way I want it!
  1. Implement Infusionsoft.
 Goal achieved. My e-lists are now on Infusionsoft, as are our client communication and tracking system. Thank you to my new Infusionsoft virtual assistant, Anastasia Barre, who is just fixed our affiliate program and unsubscribe process!
  1. Serve 250 clients.
 Total clients for 2015 was 141, in part due to changes in the number of clients coming to me through my e-book. I also had some personal challenges that slowed things down over the summer and fall, but business picked back up nicely at the end of the year. I’m keeping this goal for 2016.
  1. Publish a print version of How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile.
 Done! Yay! Next step is to market the book.
  1. Implement a robust referral program. This project has been on hold with all the activity around Infusionsoft and my website, but people who refer paying clients to The Essay Expert can expect a gift from us! And I’m going to look at making the program more consistent in 2016.
  1. Increase college essay / personal statement portion of my business to 25% of business. I upped my number of admissions consulting clients from last year, but still have not reached this goal. I realized that one thing stopping me was that I did not feel I had a good consultant in place to serve these clients. Recently I did bring on a consultant, a Yale alumna who is perfect for working with college applicants, so I feel more confident in marketing this service! I have a few resume writers sending me clients and I just got contacted by someone in China who might also be a source of referrals. I will continue to work on this one!
  1. Create more internal systems/guidelines. I have made progress in this area, adding and clarifying items in my agreements with my writers and also revamping some of the terms of service for clients. This is an ongoing project and will never end!

It’s clear that the resolutions where I made the most progress were the ones where I took the most action. Are you finding the same thing as you look back at your resolutions from the beginning of last year?

Here’s what I’ll be up to in 2016:

  1. Infuse my WHY statement throughout The Essay Expert’s website. I learned from Paul Dunn, in a talk he gave to a group of ActionCOACH clients in Madison, that the more I can communicate my WHY to potential clients, the more they will respond to what I offer. I’ve put my WHY statement on my new homepage at It reads:

    At The Essay Expert, we don’t go to bed until we know we’ve captured your essence on paper. That’s what gets each one of us up in the morning, because that’s what will excite the right company or school about you. Not the person next to you. Not a list of bullet points. You.

    I will be looking for ways to communicate this WHY on my services page and every page of my site.

  1. Provide better information on services on my site.I’ve heard from many people that they would more easily accessible information about each of my services and how it works. I’ll be working on putting more valuable information on my website in 2016!
  1. Serve 250 clients. I still believe this number is achievable and I’m going for it!
  1. Publish 2 new editions of How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile.I just published the 12th edition of the book and expect to release 2 more updates by the time 2016 is done.
  1. Get How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile in front of colleges and universities. If anyone has ideas on how to do this for low or no cost, please let me know! I think if college bookstores and career centers knew about my book, they’d want to make sure to have copies on their shelves.
  1. Increase college essay / personal statement portion of my business to 25% of business.Yep I’m still gonna go after this one!
  1. Find an editor to do some of the editing of resumes and LinkedIn profiles that I’m currently doing. Doing all the editing at The Essay Expert limits the number of clients we can serve, so I’m looking for someone to take over the bulk of the editing work for resume and LinkedIn projects. I’m already taking action on this goal and am reaching out to some promising candidates. If you know someone you think would be a great match, please send them my way! (Note I used the singular “they” in that sentence, which has been voted the Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society!)

Have you chosen your goals for 2016? As you refine them, remember you don’t have to change everything. John Maxwell reminds us that if you pick the areas you want to get control of or change, and if you give intentionality even an hour a day, you will get results.

Let’s get intentional together for 2016 and grow our intentional-living muscle! Who’s in?

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