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  • Writer's pictureHouria Bellatif

The Impact of Being Intentional

Do you ever mindlessly go through the motions, wondering why you're doing what you're doing? Well, you are not alone. It is a familiar feeling, especially in a fast-paced, busy world like ours. But what would you do differently if you knew that the intention behind the words you use, the questions you ask and the actions you take could be a game changer in your growth, relationship building, productivity and overall fulfillment and satisfaction? As you finish reading this post, I hope you'll be able to get some ideas on how to achieve that state.

Let us start by defining what it is.

The word 'Intention' is defined in the merriam-webster dictionary as 'something one hopes or intends to accomplish.' It can also be described as a purpose or goal a person has in mind when doing any work. That powerful force drives us to perform in whatever we do. It defines how we carry out ourselves, and this critical driver can significantly influence how we approach our work and the effort we put into it. But how do you uncover your intention and use it to propel you forward?

I call it going back to the basics that, more often than not, get forgotten about and dismissed. Let us explore four areas that would help remind us of our intentions and help keep them visible throughout our day.

1- 𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒗𝒂𝒍𝒖𝒆𝒔 𝒅𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒅 𝒅𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒚?

To unearth your true intentions, the first step is to begin with an introspection by reflecting on your values and passions. What holds the utmost significance in your life? What activities or endeavors bring you the highest satisfaction or sense of fulfillment? By pondering these questions, you can decipher your authentic aspirations. For instance, if you strongly desire to help others, your purpose might be to impact your immediate community positively. Simon Sinek, in his book, refers to this as your "Why" - the reason behind your actions and the driving force behind your intentions. So, it would be best to start by reflecting on your values and passions to identify your true intentions and align your actions with your purpose.

2- 𝑰𝒕 𝒎𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒐𝒍𝒅, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒈𝒐𝒂𝒍𝒔 𝒏𝒆𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝑺𝑴𝑨𝑹𝑻*

To achieve your desired outcome, what actions should you take? Setting goals that correspond with your purpose is essential, as doing so can help you remain committed and driven. For instance, suppose you intend to support organizations that share your principles. In that case, consider aligning your professional and personal activities with those organizations to achieve your objective. To make your goals more achievable, you must make them SMART (*Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). An example of a SMART plan is volunteering with two organizations, dedicating eight hours per month, for the next four months, either by providing your time or expertise. By making your goal SMART, you can track your progress and ensure that you are making measurable steps toward achieving your objective.

3- 𝑩𝒆 𝑭𝑼𝑳𝑳𝒀 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒅𝒇𝒖𝒍

Staying intentional can be challenging due to all the distractions surrounding us, self-inflicted procrastination, and the fear of failure. However, these obstacles can be overcome with a mindful approach and an open attitude. By being fully present and aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can better focus on our intentions. For instance, if someone intends to be more focused during meetings, distractions like email scrolling on the phone, thoughts about the next meeting or upcoming deliverables are sure ways to miss what is being shared or discussed at that moment. You can make the needed shift by acknowledging that you aren't fully present and doing the work. Learn to say NO to accepting all meetings or being on these interminable email distribution lists. Practice saying YES mainly to what aligns with your purpose. "Why are you saying yes to this task, meeting, etc."

"Learn to say NO"

Another example: Suppose the fear of failure prevents you from pursuing a new project. In that case, try to look at it as one whole thing and instead break down the complex tasks into smaller steps and schedule your day around essential priorities. We can take proactive steps toward achieving our goals by cultivating self-awareness and acknowledging our thoughts and emotions.

4- 𝑻𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏

The most effective way to discover your intention is by taking action. You can begin by taking gradual steps toward reaching your desired outcome. For instance, if you intend to become physically fit, take a 10-minute walk or jog daily. Remember to acknowledge and appreciate your accomplishments as you progress and learn from setbacks. Understand that it's natural to make mistakes and adjust your approach as needed. Your intention may shift or develop as you gain knowledge and expand your horizons, so remain open to new possibilities and experiences.

5- 𝑩𝒖𝒊𝒍𝒅 𝒂 𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕 𝒔𝒚𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒎

For some of us, asking for help or finding support does not come quickly (I continue working on this as part of my growth). Being intentional requires high accountability, and a support system can help you stay focused and motivated to stay the course. The system could be a mentor, a coach, or even a supportive friend or family member

To summarize, staying intentional in your work involves determining the what and why behind your efforts. 𝐁𝐲 𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 "𝐖𝐡𝐲," 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐚 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐜𝐮𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. So, take some time to reflect on how you can define your why and act with intention today, and see how it can help you achieve your desired outcomes.

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