5 Steps to living intentionally
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
I hope you're not just surviving, but also thriving during this weird time of social distancing. I know that there has been a lot of debate as to whether we should use this time to learn, achieve, problem solve or to go easy on ourselves and just be patient with ourselves and this time.
I don't see why those two can't both happen simultaneously.
You don't have to berate yourself to achieve something. Reaching goals doesn't require you to drain your resources -- if anything it does the opposite. It is invigorating. The self abuse comes with comparison to others. If that's the issue, just cut it out and do what you want, what you intend, achieve your own goal. Be intentional about your time in and out of crisis. If somebody on your friends' list is learning Greek during quarantine -- don't feel bad that you're not learning Greek. Is that even something that you wanted to do to begin with? If not, cheer your friend on and move on to your own preferences. Don't compare yourself -- design your own goal. How do you start discovering your own heart's desire and live intentionally?
Here are a few ways to uncover what you want without comparing yourself to others. Write down the answers any time you see a question:
1) Think back -- what did you want to be/do/have as a kid? The world of possibilities was completely open to you as a kid. You dreamt of riding horses or flying planes, dancing on broadway, training dogs to do tricks, or being rich. There was a time in your childhood when you truly believed that any of that was possible for your future.Which of your childhood dreams do you still think about fondly? At this point, don't consider obstacles to realizing that dream. Just play with the fantasy of you in the imagination of your childhood mind. Indulge it. Let it feel real again.
That step is really fun.
2) Now consider -- what part of that dream was the bit that appealed to you? Say your dream was to be on Broadway. Was it being a star that appealed to you? Was it the music or the dream role that appealed to you? What it the visual spectacle? Was it a combination of those things? Don't apologize for whatever you discover about the childhood dream. You can pull elements of that out in your life. The world needs people who are the center of attention, or tough, or exceptionally skilled -- don't aplogize for wanting to be that.
What hero-factor or superlative element of your childhood dream to you still want to come true?
3) Now, approach that factor with curiousity and a beginner's mind. What is step one toward that goal? If it was to be around horses all the time -- how can you pepper that into your life now? If it is having a little more star quality -- what part of you life could usethat and how do you learn to assert yourself like the leading man/lady? If it is being surrounded by movement or music -- how will you do that? You could take dance lessons, volunteer somewhere with horses, read about personal wealth and money mindset -- whatever your dream was there is still that child dreamer inside you and there is still a way to move toward that goal.
4) Now the grown up and child dreamers inside you need to come together and make a plan. The child dreamer wanted to be rich, the adult dreamer needs to learn how to do that. First get really clear. How rich? House in the suburbs with beach vacations rich? Warren Buffett rich? Or do you have a totally different vision of rich? Not everybody defines it the same way. How do you define it? If your child dreamer wanted to work with horses how will you make your goal a reality? Volunteer with horses and take lessons and a few times a week? Or something more everyday? Wanted to be a star? Do you just take more leadership and more visible roles at work or do you audition for your local theater and work your chops until you get paying gigs? There are lots of ways of bringing your childhood dream to life, but you won't do it unless you have clarity with your goal. Be specific.
5) Finally, forgive yourself and love yourself. You may have abandoned your dream because you didn't feel worthy of it or you were shamed out of wanting something grand. We all dreamt of being grand in some way as a child. Look at the children in your life now. Would you ever want them to feel they shouldn't want to be, do, or have the things in their dreams? Of course not. Let yourself dream the biggest dream you can and move toward it with intention.
Repeat this step with every category in your life. Where do you feel discouraged? Look back at the childhood dreams you had about that subject and repeat all of these steps until you have an intention for that area of your life.
As usual, I have a few book recommendations that can help you live more intentionally. There are a lot of psychological reasons why we abandon our dreams and goals. The books below have all helped me in different ways understand my self-sabotaging behaviors. In spite of the dreams that I had as a child (and even worked toward into my adulthood) I ended up living too small and too apologetically. You have your dreams for a reason. Allow youself to have them. Click the links to find out more about these helpful books:
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As always, if you are interested in purchasing any of my uplifting books for children please click the links below: