A while back, I got invited to give a TEDx talk.
With that, came the big question: If you had a chance to give one big, important message to the world – what would your message be?
What is it that you wish to change in the world?
(Btw, that is a wonderful question to ponder for yourself too – When invited to give a TEDx talk, what would you talk about? What would be your idea worth sharing? It is really a great question to give you more focus over your values and priorities ;)) )
For me, the answer was – I would like to invite everyone to bring in more intentionality into their lives.
Why intentionality? What does it mean to be intentional anyway?
It simply means to ask ourselves a bit more often what we want and what is important to us right now – and, with that, to make a bit more deliberate choices over how our life and our day looks like.
In my view, that small idea is the key to all the other changes we wish to see in the world.
Because if we ask ourselves just a little bit more often how do we want to live, how do we want to spend our time, how do we want to connect, how do we want to feel, and what kind of world we want to create – it will lead us to walk the talk of all the positive changes we wish to embody.
I shared more about the idea of living more intentional life in my “The Way to Fulfilled Life” TEDx talk – so, if you haven’t check it out yet, do check it out, and do put those ideas in practice!
And if you have checked it already, here are a couple of practical tips on how to keep working on your intentionality.
1. Take (regular) time to reflect on your priorities
While everyday life is a chance to practice intentionality through small daily choices, to live life more aligned with our values, vision and all that matters to us, we must take time to get clarity on those.
That is why it is essential to protect regular “thinking time” for working on your goals, vision, next steps.
How often? This can be very individual – I would say at least every 3-6 months for “big thinking”, and every week/month for weekly/monthly re-focus. Whichever it is for you, it is important to be intentional about it: choose the regularity that works for you, and commit to taking that time.
If you feel like more structure, coaching, and support on figuring out your life plan and building more clarity and motivation would be welcome – Life Design online workshop might be what you are looking for!
2. Cultivate perspective by using perceptual positions
When we are not sure what the best path ahead is, or when we notice we are too set in our habits, it is a great moment to explore different, original, creative ways of seeing the same situation.
What is the most effective tool to get more perspective and insights into a situation?
It is to imagine how does the situation looks like from another “perceptual position”.
In other words, to put ourselves in the shoes of another person and think how would they see this situation?
Change several “shoes” of diverse thinkers, and also remember to hop into the perspective of neutral observer over the situation ahead of you – and notice the new insights flowing!
(If you want to explore this with a more structured exercise, check the blog post on Trainers Toolbox about Perceptual Positions – A Powerful Exercise to Strengthen Understanding and Empathy – Trainers Toolbox is a blog that shares new tools for trainers, facilitators and coaches, so if that’s your think, do also join as at Trainers Toolbox newsletter for new insights every 2 weeks)
3. Be the captain
I know I am already getting slightly boring with this captain thing – but there is nothing more powerful to improve my life than focusing on being proactive about things that we can actually influence, and work on being better with accepting the things we cannot influence.
So, keep on asking the question: “What in this situation can I influence (and how?), and what should I accept?”
(for more about the captain, check our block post How becoming the captain of your life makes all the difference)
4. Practice mindfulness - including the art of letting go
One of the most powerful ways of getting more clarity in our lives, as well as improving our emotional regulation and managing stress, is by practicing mindfulness.
So, this might be the right time to reconnect with your mindfulness practice – or start one!
How to start? Creating 10 minutes of silence daily is already an amazing start. If you prefer more guidance, apps like Headspace or Insight Timer might be of great help.
The goal is consistency: better to take a short moment of silence every day, rather than doing a 1h meditation once per week.
And with time you can grow it from there.
(If you are looking for a new mindfulness exercise – remember the free Mindfulness Made Easy ebook with 90 short exercises is available to you. )
5. Build a habit of asking often “What truly matters to me here?”
On one side, we all need to take the dedicated reflection time to find the “big answers” to the question of what truly matters to us.
But then the art of intentionality is also about asking those questions frequently, briefly, just adjusting the course:
What do I want out of this meeting/conversation?
What is most important to me about this activity?
What am I really trying to achieve here?
What is most important thing in my day today?
Building the habit of asking these questions often (and then acting on answers!) is the true core of living an intentional life.
Take a moment to reflect:
Which of these 5 tips is the most relevant on for you?
How could you start putting into into practice already today?
Remember, intentionality is not about having a big vision written on the way…. but about everyday step and actions!