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Posts tagged Intentionality
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.

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.

A challenge of problem-finding

The good things can hide the bad things.

It’s simple enough to see the problems when everything is going wrong. The challenge is in seeing them when things are going well.

When the highs and lows mix, responsible humans can be hesitant to explore what isn’t working well for fear of sounding like a complainer.

Which means that it’s not enough for us as leaders to be on watch for problems, we need to seek them out -

There’s many methods for uncovering these problems that might be hiding behind the good things that are happening in our teams and projects. The beginning is understanding they exist. Then we seek them out — with intent, openness, and curiosity.

Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash
Do they trust you?

It all stems from this.

For anything that requires interaction between humans — whether it be a project, an adventure, a relationship, or a sport — it’s very difficult to layer on any growth of substance over time if the trust isn’t there.

Start with trust. It allows the other things to follow (or disappear) much more easily.

Photo by CMDR Shane on Unsplash
Pro tips

For any U.S. citizen looking to renew a passport, a cursory Google search would tell you that there are two core options:

  1. Only pay the standard fee and wait 4–6 weeks (Pay a little more, and wait 2–3 weeks instead)
  2. Pay a premium rate — around $450 for next day — plus the regular fees + expedition costs, and receive your passport sooner than that. The sooner you need it, the more you’ll pay.

All of the ads and links promote this narrative. Really the only noted exception is for life-or-death emergency travel.

So anyone with international travel plans in less than two weeks is looking at the grim prospects of either missing out on their trip, or forking over a whole lot of cash to keep their arrangements intact.

The thing that no one seems too interested in sharing is that it’s very possible to renew your passport in 24 hours for the same exact price as waiting 2–3 weeks. You simply have to be willing to be a little more intentional, do a little more work, and spend a little more time.

Hard work, intentionality, and resourcefulness are just three of a whole list of ’soft skills’ with extraordinary value. You won’t find them featured in too many business school classes, and yet they can make a massive difference in both our work, and our life.

Photo by Aditya Chinchure 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.