If there is one thing that will jumpstart the momentum of your everyday life, I believe it’s intentionality. Whether you realize it or not, the majority of life is lived in-between significant events and milestone moments, not in them. If you discount the value of your everyday life, you’ll easily slip into autopilot, waiting for that next “thrill” moment. In fact, your commitment and consistency in your everyday life is what creates momentum for milestone moments. You see, there is treasure to be mined in the process, in the in-between, so to speak, if you’ll have the courage and determination to seek it out.
You are a Treasure, Not Treasure Island
At the foundation of creating more intentionality in your everyday life is understanding that you are a treasure. This isn’t ego-stroking flattery that breeds self-importance. Instead, it is a call to take notice of the real significance and value your life contains; a God-breathed uniqueness that emanates from the very core of your being. This uniqueness gives birth to dreams, ideas, strategies, and innovations that the world needs, and that is precisely the point: you are not an island unto yourself. You’re a vital component of your community and nation at-large. Simply stated, you and I have the distinct privilege of being contributors to something much bigger than who we are individually.
Whether you’re a business executive, student, highly skilled surgeon, stay-at-home parent, full-time nanny, political figure, or professional athlete, you can add value to those around you every single day if you so choose.
Don’t Lose Your “Why”
It’s easy to lose your sense of purpose in what you do when you lose sight of why you are doing it in the first place. A couple months ago, I was involved in a project that required a broadened range of my skill set. Aspects of the work were monotonous, but from the onset, it was my intention to improve the efficiency of a few key systems therein and execute with excellence. Three weeks into the project, however, I faced an internal challenge: would I give-in to the monotony and settle into a slow-simmer of task fulfillment or would I rise above the temptation and add value to people who could truly benefit from me on a broader scale than what I initially set out to do? The answer was found in asking myself a few important questions:
- “Why am I really here?”
- “How can I be a contributor beyond the task at hand?”
- “Whose life can I positively impact?”
That simple exercise engendered clarity and focus, and I got my “why” back. What I learned is that there will always be an opportunity to find treasure, even in the routine, if you purpose to look for it.
With that, here are five keys to harness the power of intentionality in your everyday life:
1.) Intend to Set Better Goals
Effective goal setting isn’t reserved exclusively for big dreams and long-range aspirations. Setting goals in your daily life is a catalyst for focused effort and intentional living that will yield tangible results. The November 1981 issue of Management Review released an excellent training acronym in which they proposed a S.M.A.R.T. way to write goals and objectives. Your goals should be:
S – Specific (write them down with as much detail as possible)
M – Measurable/Meaningful (quantify the result; define the success of achieving the goal)
A – Actionable (use action words to describe the goal)
R – Realistic (challenge yourself, but don’t create lofty, unattainable goals)
T – Time-bound (set a date and plan to deliver on that date)
2.) Intend to Grow
- Learn something new on a regular basis. Your ability to remain teachable in life will open doors to expanding your personal potential in a powerful way.
- Ask great questions.
- Read great books more often. A few I highly recommend are: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently, and The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (note: strong language).
- Spend time with people you respect, experts in a particular field, and leaders you admire.
- Work on improving your strengths. I believe that investing time in your strengths produces exponentially greater results than spending the majority of your time on those things that don't bring high return to your life. Allocate 15-20% of your time to areas in which you are weak while investing 80-85% of your time and energy into things that will accelerate your convergence zone and maximize your total output.
3.) Intend to Give (Be a Contributor)
The gifts, talents, passions, dreams, and resources you possess are not to remain hidden. Invest them into the lives of those around you. Look with intention for an opportunity to make someone's day awesome. As I said earlier, you and I have the privilege of being contributors to something greater than ourselves.
4.) Intend to Be More Grateful
Two of the most important words in your vocabulary are “thank you.” Maintaining an attitude of gratitude, especially in the small things, keeps your priorities in-check and opens the eye of compassion to those who are less fortunate. The gasoline in your car, groceries in your refrigerator, heat from your furnace, and even the friends in your life are tremendous blessings not to be taken for granted.
5.) Intend to Be Adaptable
Learn to see life from the perspective of others. Be open to new ideas, new skills, and new strategies. Don't be narrow-minded.
I trust that you have been encouraged to believe that your normal, everyday life is significant. You can live each day with intention and focus by seizing the power of intentionality and harnessing it in your life. You won’t be disappointed.