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Posts tagged Intentional Living
Intentional gathering

How we show up to a courthouse is different than how we’d show up to a barbecue with good friends.

This is normal. Environment matters, and each of us are multi-faceted human beings with a wide-range of qualities and attributes. Part of the joy of life is being able to experience environments that pull these unique aspects out of us.

Here’s the relevant question — as you think about the next appointment on your schedule, what kind of environment are you creating for those who attend?

It’s very simple to do what we’ve always done when it comes to the meetings in our calendar. It might be worth pausing to consider what the gathering is actually for, how you want everyone to feel when they come, and how you could create an environment that matches your purpose for your guests.

Making messes

Some of us really enjoy a good mess. For most of us though, most of the time,  they aren’t all that desirable.

It’s also a nearly unavoidable attribute of doing things that matters. 

Humans are messy. And so any work that commits to real, human, meaningful change is going to get messy at some point along the way.

We can go through life avoiding the messes that pop up, stuffing them into out of the way corners, and do our best to not have to engage. They’re still there, impacting us even if we don’t see it.

The alternative is to step right into the mess - to choose it on purpose. Not because it’s always enjoyable, rather because the humans we strive to be are waiting on the other side.

Is convenience the dream?

Our garbage problem grows.

We’re happy to trade away our privacy.

As their availability increases, it’s clear that technology devices make great resources. It’s extraordinarily unclear that they make great parents, teachers, babysitters, and friends.

Meanwhile, basic needs are going unmet around the world.

We vote every day for the kind of future we want with the decisions we make.

Care and Time

How much we care.

How much time we have to give.

They are separate things.

As well intentioned as we are when we act as though we convey care purely through the amount of time we offer to others, we’re actually stealing.

We’re stealing from others because time is a fixed resource, care does not have to be. By connecting care directly with time, we’re putting an unnecessary ceiling on the care we have to give the world.

We’re stealing from ourselves chiefly because this is a horribly exhausting and unfulfilling way to live.   Constantly hurrying from one thing to the next, trying to pack as much in as we can. Consistently late, there never seems to be enough time. Wishing that we could actually show everyone how much we really care.

Time is merely a way we show we care. There are many others. And when we separate the two, it turns out that we have much more care to give, and a much more sustainable way to share it over time.

Healthy doesn’t happen on accident

I’ve recently come to the awareness that I have terrible sitting posture. I often slouch slightly, hunch my shoulders, and contort my upper body. I do all of this in the name of being comfortable of course.

As I’ve become more intentional about adopting healthy practices throughout my life, recently stretching, I’m noticing multiple ways that my poor posture is catching up to me. Not only is my flexibility limited (putting it kindly), as I try to practice stretching and healthy posture, I’m noticing parts of my body become quite sore from the endeavor.

The lesson — we are what we repeatedly do.

Whatever we practice daily, will be the fruits of what we produce in our life; for better or worse. Choose with intent.

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash
Turning on the lights

From an early age we understand how to jump. If not literally, then certainly figuratively. Following the rules, meeting expectations, fitting in; they’re all forms of figurative jumping.

Societal norms train us from a very early age in the practice of jumping. And with so much training under our belt, it’s quite easy and comfortable as we grow to carry on jumping through life everywhere we go. Yes, by all means jump high, just as long as it’s not so high or so far as to stand out in any noticeable way.

Most people go to sleep at night with their best work inside them. It’s hard to put your best into the world when you’re constantly concerned about coloring inside the lines — a symptom of our natural default toward jumping on full display. Some of us see a different way, one where we go to sleep with our best work out in the world — leaping.

Leaping is available to all of us; provided we’re willing to show up on purpose with generosity, care, and intent.

The thing about leaping with our work — much like the literal version — is it’s unnatural. It stands out. It’s different. And, especially because we do it on the edges, can be quite uncertain. Gone are the lines that tell us where to color, and the numbers that tell us what color to use. The choice is ours.

Freedom. It’s simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. This is the dance with leaping — it’s both. The fear isn’t gone for those of us who leap. We simply decide to do the work that matters anyway.

The fear creates an opportunity for those of us brave enough to dance with it. We can leap first, and in doing so, show others the way. We can turn the lights on, helping those who can’t yet see a path to getting their best work out into the world.

No qualifications required — merely the willingness to show up and spread your best into the world instead of falling asleep with it still inside.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash
Posture first

With Christmas Day tomorrow and 2019 right around the corner, this time of year tends to lend itself to reflection and looking ahead. And so begins the annual process of determining our New Years Resolutions.

I think we’ve probably all found this tradition to be a bit waning at times, haven’t we? At best it’s unreliable. Many, many assertions could be made as to why that’s the case. Rather than spending our time unpacking those assertions, what if we simply tried something different this year?

Forget the grand, detailed resolutions. This year what if we focused on this:

WHATEVER WE DO, DO IT ON PURPOSE.

Own our choices.

Decide with conviction.

Act with intent.

The resolutions and goals will come. Let’s focus on the posture.

Photo by Sean Estergaard on Unsplash
Intent matters

It’s possible to do the same action with quite opposing intentions.

We can offer to help a friend in need with the expectation that they will now do the same for us in the future. We can also offer to help simply because we want to help them.

In a vacuum, the two scenarios may be entirely indistinguishable from each other.

The important insight is that, over time, intent reveals itself. Our friends begin to notice, our team starts to see, our clients can feel it. The difference between someone who shows up seeking to get versus someone seeking to give is palpable.

And so, over the long run, not only is positive intent more generous, we also find that it’s more productive.

Photo by Fabio Comparelli on Unsplash
When to do the hard part

There’s a line of thought that suggests it may be wise to do the hard part last. Believers would reference the ‘snowball effect’, and the power of momentum to work for us once we’ve gotten it rolling.

And that’s certainly true. The Snowball Effect is indeed a real asset that we can, and should, look to leverage for our benefit.

A flaw in relying on it here is that if we save the hard part for last, it’s quite easy for us to find a way to never get there. We can always find one more thing that ‘needs’ to happen before we get to that big hard thing. Before long, we’ve created a new hard thing inside of ourselves — fear of hard things.

Another way — do the hard part first.

Sure there are other places the hard part can be done; only first ensures we can’t avoid the thing that scares us.