new year intention statementRegardless of what your new year resolutions are (or not), before you get too far into the year, take a moment to either create or reflect on your intention statements for the people you impact through your job role(s).

I’m personally taking the advice from my good friend Gihan Perera who suggests rather than thinking about setting 12 month goals for 2015, think about a major theme for the year. While my major theme for life is Intentional Trust, my theme for the year is “Adding Value To Relationships”.

If you’d like to take my lead on this, the first step as I’ve written above, is to start with your intention statements. Let me give you an example here. Let’s say you’re a Mobile Lender for a Bank and you’re wanting to add value to the relationships you have with your referral partners. Let’s also say you’ve got a number of real estate agents who are part of your referral partner network. You might set a generic intention statement for the group of real estate agents, or you might get very specific with XYZ Real Estate Agency or even more specific with one particular agent in XYZ Real Estate Agency.

By getting clear in your own mind what your intention is (what it is you wish, hope or want for (not from) the real estate agents at whatever level you’ve decided to focus on), you can then decide on what promises you will make to yourself and to the real estate agency(s) to help achieve that intention (A key here is to ensure that what your intentions are for the real estate agency is aligned with what the agency or agent would intend or want for themselves as well).

This clarity then takes your focus away from just wanting to get referrals, and just wanting to talk about what you do… rather than focusing on what you can do for the referral partners.

The science is in on this, and in on a big way!

What we know from a wide range of research in positive psychology is that when we switch our focus from ego and self-centric wants and needs, to what I refer to as small “a” altruism (rather than big “A” Altruism – think Mother Teresa). Science confirms that people who practice small “a” altruism, who focus on how they can help another person achieve what it is that they want or need in their life, build stronger trust-based relationships.

OK, so of course we know that in business, when we focus on others, one of the drivers to do so, is to set up some level of reciprocity (what you give out you get back). But here’s another reason why science suggests we ought to start with intention for others. When we practice small “a” altruism, we increase the level of neural activity in the area within our brains that trigger our internal reward system (activating the neurotransmitters that make us feel good, emotionally and physically). What the research also shows is that practicing small “a” altruism also is associated with an increased immune system – we stay healthier.

So in this first post for the year, let me conclude by saying it does all start with Intention. But that’s not to say that everything ought to be about everyone else and not about you. Remember, one of your life roles is to look after you… so make sure you’re very clear about your intentions in 2015 for YOU! The old adage of work on you first, then work on others, holds true in most areas of our personal and business lives.

However, if it’s all about you, what we also know from the science is that people get your truth and if your truth is that it’s all about you, you put trust at risk. And when trust is at risk… everything is at risk.

Wishing you an outstanding 2015, where your relationships flourish through your intentional actions to create more value for them.