There’s no way to become great overnight, but in the marathon of success, it takes a lot of intention to see you through each day of the journey. Lewis Howes
In the last couple of years I have found myself reluctant to establish personal annual goals, as if my primary focus in life is to somehow attain a number of predetermined objectives. I just don’t think my personal life is hard-wired to live that way any longer.
The Death of the Master Planner
It has not always been so. As many of you know I once viewed my life as an opportunity not to only pursue goals but to encourage my readers / followers to do the same thing. I was a Master Planner. I even wrote a book titled, Getting the Right Things Right: Personal Strategies for Reinventing the Life You Want.
As I begin my journey into the second half of life I find myself pursuing a softer approach to goal setting. I find there is something about goals that, for me, are actually counter productive. “Goals” connote some uncomfortable sense of finality by accomplishing those goals. I found that approach too often led me to the penalty box, or worse, to the losing team.
Direction or Destination
I guess these days I am finding the notion of intentions or “intentionality” to function as a much more graceful approach to making the most of the life I have in front of me. For me, intentions carry nearly the same weight as goals but I find that Intentionality is derived from the soul while goals find their root in the head, and all it’s hard set machinations of strategies and tactics and plans and organizers and check lists. It occurred to me that Intentions provide direction while Goals assume a particular destination.
It has become obvious to me that I am more driven by the warm things of the heart and not of the cold success driven types of goals that meander about my head. One of my advisors refers to it as the feminine side finally emerging from its protective looked up cage. I say protective because the intentions of the soul can be painful and exposing.
Matters of the Soul
Intentions of the soul are composed of character, relationships, internal enrichment, and the expressions of the heart. In the long run, intentions represent the “me I want to be” recognized for. I don’t care much any longer to be recognized as the successful entrepreneur or any other types business goals. In fact, I believe that when it comes to “personal goals” we have too often approached the delicate operation the same way we might conduct a business.
The soul actually repels these objectives as almost counter productive because they are what David Brooks writes in The Road to Character, “Resume Virtues” rather than the more fulfilling “Eulogy Virtues.” I resonate with the notion of “eulogy virtues.” They are the essence of a life well lived.
So what kinds of intentions do I find upcoming for this year and the remaining ones to come? Several things come to mind as living intentionally. I think of paying attention to the present, acknowledging that life or the will of God will offer the right things for me if I pay attention. I intend to be a man characterized by his acceptance of others and himself. I intend to be a patient man, believing that all things will eventually work together for good. I intend to be a man of service to my loved ones, my friends and to the peoples of poorest Uganda.
If I find that I am such a man by the end of this year, my intentions will have proved to be good.
Intentions = Direction
Photo courtesy of bluebay2014 at istockphoto
2 thoughts on “Intentionality: A Flashlight in the Fog”
I love this article. I did not know you had written a book. I agree with all you have written! I would like to read your book.
Thank you Michelle. Unfortunately the books are out of print but I can probably dig up a copy in my garage somewhere. But the garage. Yikes!!! Not sure I can find anything in it.