Start with Intention
"Intention is Everything!"
is the response I gave my brother after he commented on a recent Instagram post.
My brother is an amazing human being. He served 20 years in the army, did two tours in Afghanistan then retired and went back to school. This winter he graduated college at 43 and is raising 3 kids with his wife. He is also a dedicated distance runner in the mountains of Colorado. Let me say that again... he runs long distances in Colorado. My brother does not lack determination, will power, or steadfastness. He shows up and gets the job done.
So why was I talking to him about Intention? Because what he wrote in the comment was - despite all that he does- he hadn't given much thought to being intentional about how he showed up in the world.
This boggles my mind. How do you show up for so many things that require so much from you without Intent? How do you get through your day without a guiding focus for who you want to be and how you want to be?
But somehow he does it. Somehow I do it. Somehow we all do it.
Let's talk Intention. What the heck is an Intention?
Lately I've been thinking of Intention this way:
Intention is the guiding focus for Who and How you want to be in the world.
In this definition, Intention is different from Goal. Goal is about accomplishment, meeting expectations or achieving something. Intention has more to do with the HOW I will meet my goals, and WHO I will be during that process. By HOW here I don't mean a step-by-step formula, but HOW as in - what is the energy like that I am bringing to the process of meeting the goal.
I said Intention is Everything because WHO you are and HOW you show up for your life makes all the difference in how your life feels to you. And it makes all the difference for how you feel to the people who share your life.
Your Intention has the power to shape every interaction, every relationship, every task.
Here's an example from my life. I have the intention of being a kind and loving presence in the lives of my children. But after dinner when it has been a long day for all of us and my 4 year old will NOT stop talking, I am very far from being kind or loving towards them.
On the days when I forget my intention, I scream and yell. I am short with them and I say things that make me cringe when I come back to my senses. On the days when I DO remember the intention to be kind and loving, it snaps me back to reality. I am able to rise above my own fatigue, call on internal reserves of patience and love, and to be who I want to be with them. It is because I have an intention to be kind and loving with them that I am able to change my behavior and even my mental space.
The difference is that I could have the goal: I'm not going to yell at my kids anymore. It sounds like a good goal, and it would make our home a more pleasant place. It is also completely unreasonable. I'm definitely going to yell at my kids again. When I have a goal of not yelling and then I yell, I become a failure and there's nothing to pull me back up to a bigger vision when I start going downhill.
Instead, when I have the Intention to be kind and loving, it is a bigger vision of WHO and HOW I want to be with my children. Then when I start yelling and going downhill I am not a failure. I've just lost sight of my vision. The intention serves the purpose of pulling me back up. With a goal I either succeed or fail. With Intention I'm doing better or I'm doing worse. And if I'm doing worse, I can always begin again.
At the beginning of the year many of us spend time setting goals for the future. What do I want to achieve? What do I want to gain? The sad but true story for most of us is that it never happens. We're left setting the same resolutions again the next year.
This year, why not try something different? This year, set an Intention. Let it come from deep inside your bones and let THAT guide your resolutions. If you know HOW you want to meet your year and WHO you want to be while you do it, I promise you goals, resolutions and new directions will reveal themselves to you.
More importantly, you may just set the stage for real transformation.
It bears repeating:
INTENTION IS EVERYTHING
If you need a little help considering your Intention for the year, sit with your answers to the questions in this post for a little while. I'm sure something will come to you. And if you really want some clarity, use the connect button above to schedule a personal clarity call with me.