I have a confession to make.
For the last several years I’ve struggled with being intentional.
You see, from high school up through my first year of college I was REALLY intentional.
I did something that is becoming very popular as of late known as “manifesting”. Which is basically a fancy way of saying that I had a vision for my future and I didn’t allow myself any other alternatives. I did what I needed to do to get what I wanted.
But after accomplishing two years of college during high school, backpacking Europe during my gap year, going to the college of my dreams and becoming the top of my class…. I started feeling confused and I lost my sense of direction- my intentionality.
I ended up going from college to college switching majors… I lost a lot of friends who moved on while I stayed feeling stuck in one place or another… I didn’t know what my goal should be, what I wanted anymore.
To be honest, I always had thought that I would end up being a CEO, or MD, but while shadowing people and taking classes, I started realizing that the life I dreamed of outside of work was not attainable if I went down those paths. I couldn’t get up and travel whenever I felt like it, I couldn’t skirt work to make time for family and friends…I couldn’t choose to live up in the woods on solar power eighteen hours from the nearest town (okay I don’t really want this.. but I hated NOT having the option).
I was really confused by this discovery because it had been my plan and it was what others expected of me.
After giving up my plans, I went through a several year stretch of not knowing what to do with my life.
Eventually, after dabbling online and starting a few successful blogs and niche websites (I started by selling worms lol), I found my voice on the internet and my determination and intention returned.
So, today I want to teach you what I learned about being intentional and why you should make it a priority for yourself.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INTENTIONAL?
In essence, living an intentional life is all about living in a way that is meaningful to you. Taking responsibility for yourself completely. Checking each thought, each word, each action and making sure that they’re in-line with your desires for yourself. Being intentional also requires that you understand that every thoughts, action, feeling, and attitude impacts our lives.
In a way being intentional is one of the easiest and hardest things you’ll ever do. But, being intentional will allow you to work towards your goals, be happier, healthier, and find purpose for your life that you might be lacking.
BUT HOW DO I KNOW WHAT I WANT?
To be intentional, you really need to have a “game plan” for your life… it doesn’t have to be perfect, but the more you can visualize exactly what you want, the better! Some of you have very clear visions of what you want out of life. Great! Use that! If you’re like me and you don’t have a super clear plan, then that is the first thing you need to do!
Also, note that it’s okay if this game plan changes. We all change and grow and just know that if for some reason your plan changes, you haven’t failed-you’ve just realigned your future by knowing what you don’t want anymore.
So I’m not going to ask you to write goals, or write down exactly what you want… which are both great steps. I truly believe that the only step you MUST do to be successful, is to figure out what you are really living for.
One way to do this is to image that you are at your funeral.
I know it’s a little morbid. If you read my blog much or follow me on Youtube, you know I’m a morbid person, so no surprises there!
Anyways, imagine that you’re at your ideal funeral- you’ve lived a good, full life and died and everyone is there.
First of all, who is there?
Is it just your close family? Is the room packed with the community members? Are your employees there? Your bosses?
Second, ask yourself what they’re talking about, feeling and thinking about you.
Did you always make time for your kids?
Did you fight for the rights of others?
Were you extremely involved in your community?
What mark did you leave on the people in your world?
The mark you leave doesn’t need to be huge and earth shaking, but it needs to be important to you.
How did the people at your funeral talk about you? What were the things they remembered you for? What did you do with your life? The things you imagined they talked about, are probably the things that are important to you.
When I did this exercise I found that my interest in being a Youtuber and Blogger weren’t just short term hobbies, but things I wanted to be remembered for. This was the first step in my intentionality to make this a full time gig (Yay for reaching goals!).
I also discovered that more than anything I wanted to be remembered as someone who was always willing to
help others achieve their goals
make every person I meet feel special
contribute to ending human trafficking…
So, what’s important to you?
What makes you light up?
Who is meaningful to you?
What do you want people to see in you?
HOW TO LIVE YOUR INTENTIONAL LIFE
Be Okay Being Imperfect.
No one is always perfect, embrace your imperfections. If you’re like me and you get upset every time you don’t reach your idea of perfection, you’ll never be content.
Whenever you start to feel stuck remember that you are in control of you and you have unlimited choices. Start making a list of all your choices. Some of those choices might be HORRIBLE and you might never EVER choose them, but knowing the options you have can help you make the best choice possible for you.
Clean Up Your Life
Start to identify parts of your life that don’t fit into your ideal world. Do you have bad habits or attitudes that you can get rid of? What current situations are holding you back from your purposeful life?
One mistake I’m guilty of is assuming that life would start when I accomplished X, Y & Z. Life is life though, it doesn’t start at some magic place. Do the things you want to do. Enjoy the things you love and the people you love right now!
There are literally books about being intentional, so this isn’t an all-inclusive guide, but I hope it gets you started at least thinking about the importance of being intentional!