Be Intentional

Be Intentional

I recently saw this Martha Beck quote in a magazine: “People can feel the difference between a pure agenda and a murky one.” It spoke to me because I believe strongly in the power of intention both professionally and personally.

I think about intentions a lot – my own and others’. Oprah Winfrey says “intention rules the world.” I think that’s true, but how do you be intentional?

Know yourself. Communicate clearly. Be comfortable sharing yourself with others on a regular basis. Share your heart and your thoughts to foster understanding with those around you. Clarify your thought process, your feelings and your needs to build trust with people around you. Ask questions when you do not understand something someone else does or says. This last one can be the scariest because it’s so much easier to be quiet, but, by doing so, you are losing a bit of trust and rapport with that person. There’s this unsaid thing between you that is murky. It’s not pure or clear, and this will affect your future interactions and involvement. This is true for a friend, a colleague or a family member.

What does being intentional look like?

It means thinking before you act; pausing and taking a breath to be thoughtful about what you’re doing and why.

Sometimes things happen that can get in the way of us doing our best and being intentional. This is life. When it happens, we have to own it and acknowledge it so it doesn’t happen again.

It means sometimes you can’t meet a work deadline because of a family crisis. When you do finally turn in the job late, you explain honestly what happened, and you are clear with your future intention: you intend for this to never happen again.

It means you’re feeling stressed and you took those feelings out on someone who didn’t deserve it. You feel terrible and are embarrassed, and you know your friend is probably upset with you. Take a deep breath and tell your friend this. Make it clear how you feel – and show empathy towards how he or she probably feels about it too. And, be clear with your future intention: you intend to make sure your frustrations are channeled in a healthier way.

Being intentional is not about making excuses; it’s about being honest and thoughtful about the why and how behind actions, behaviors and words. It’s about filling the space between us, always, with realness and vulnerability.

[Originally published on on February 18, 2015.]


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