Living with intention is about choosing what you want more of in your life and taking action – being intentional – about getting it. I recently interviewed one of my clients, Carrie Freitas, who shared her journey about doing this work – who she was before, and how she is today – and she had so many brilliant insights.
One of the things she talked about is how intention has given her so much more peace in her life. She originally thought it was ‘one more thing’ to have to focus on, in her already busy life, but once she started practicing it, it had such a positive effect in all areas of her life – from personal relationships to work. Rather than making things harder, she felt a sense of ease, flow and peace.
For example, one of the things she wanted more of, was to spend quality time with her son and his fiancé who were living in their own apartment, locally. When they came for dinner, she thought about how she wanted to show up for him, what she wanted the evening to be - sometimes doing subtle things like wearing the earrings he gave her because she knew it would make him happy so she could make the most of their time together.
And when she felt like she wasn’t spending enough time with her husband, and how she missed that connection, she shared that with him. They then planned date nights, set a time when they turn off their devices at night so they could watch a show together or just hang out and planned meals they could make together.
And at work, rather than just having the objective of the meeting stated at the top of the agenda, she contemplated what she really wanted to get out of it. How did she want to relate to her clients or employees and what would be the best outcome for all of them?
One of the keys to living with intention, is choosing how you show up.
I use this phrase a lot because it is such an integral piece to living with intention and creating a life you love. I realize that it isn’t familiar to some who may be reading this, so here are a couple of examples of what I mean.
When Carrie set the intention for her dinner with her son, she decided she wanted to show up as loving, open to supporting him with whatever he may need at the time. She wanted to be present, so she could truly listen to him and make the most of her time with him.
An alternative scenario might have been that she approached the dinner feeling anxious and rushed at having ‘one more thing to do’. Or maybe, as often happens with our kids, she was irritated that he hadn’t followed up with something he promised to do.
Can you see how if she showed up with that mindset, the evening probably wouldn’t have gone well. He may have reacted defensively, and in anger may have fallen into an established pattern of interaction – eventually getting further and further away from the original concern, and sending the evening into a tailspin. The tone would be set for the evening.
A wasted opportunity to spend precious time with her son.
It’s amazing how people respond to us and how we’re showing up. You tend to get back whatever you are putting out there.
The next time you have a challenging interaction with someone – be it your kids, your spouse or partner or a co-worker, or even the clerk at the grocery store, stop for a minute and consider who you were being -how you were showing up in that moment.
Were you distracted by a disappointing phone call just before you spoke with them?
Did you lose a big deal you were working on?
Were you annoyed because your kids left the kitchen a mess after you had a long hard day at work?
Stop and reflect about what was really going on with YOU, and see if that may have had something to do with it.
If so, consider what you want more of in your life – good health? Romance? Creativity?
And think about how you can take the first step to get it, while considering how you show up.
Romance or connection? Start by doing nice things for your partner or spouse.
Good health? Make a plan to get moving this week. Where can you squeeze in a walk? How will you show up – negative? Ugh. Trying this again I know it will never work. Or positive and optimistic? I am going for a walk this afternoon – one day at a time. Be open to succeeding instead of being certain of failure.
We have a myriad of opportunities every single day to choose not only what we want more of, but also how we show up.
You can either covet them and utilize them to enhance your sense of well-being and personal growth, or you can choose to stay in the pinball machine, letting your life live you.