Intentional Living

Today we are taking a trip back in time on the blog. This post was originally posted in late 2016 but is still very relevant today!

“Our intention creates our reality.” — Wayne Dyer

Intention is what moves us forward. Intention is this difference between being an active participant in your life and just letting life happen to you. But how many of us are being pushed to do something, instead of setting out with an intention to do something. How often do you feel like your business or job is just going through the motions, versus thriving and with purpose.

I just recently read a great book on intentional leadership called, Turn The Ship Around. This is the story of Captain L. David Marquet and how he turned the USS Santa Fe into one of the top submarines in the Navy through his Leader/Leader intentional approach.

“Live less out of habit and more out of intent…”

Early on in my adult life, my mentor said “live with intention”. I learned what a different mindset this meant through watching how this person lived with a focused intention, rather than just letting life occur around him. He seemed to have a great grasp of what was in his control and what wasn’t. The things that were in control, he always did with intention. Everything out of his control, he intended not to spend time on them.

In due time, this became a mantra for my life. I decided that everything I did was going to be done with intention, hopefully always with a good one. This paradigm shift in the mind has freed me from inertia and helped me to keep my life in forward motion.


In business, there is also seems to be a lack of intention. This could be from a lack of planning or goal setting. Is your organization setting intentions for who you want to be and how you want to get there? Are you setting the intentions for your culture and what you want to represent? If you aren’t, something else is. This is unless you decide to set the path.

Are you giving your team the ability to be intentional with their work? Too often, we see a top down approach toward business that lures people into a mode of asking for permission versus setting intention. It may seem subtle, but there is a huge difference between “Can I help this client do x, y or z” and “I intend to help this client do x, y or z”. Both of these give the management a chance to give their “two cents”, however, the latter allows for ownership from the team members perspective. During his turnaround of the USS Santa Fe, L. David Marquet instructed his team to say “Captain, I intend to…”, to which he could respond with questions or say “Very well.” This meant all the difference. It turned his team from passive actors to thoughtful leaders.

Giving your team the chance to be intentional and take leadership frees you up from the day to day activities that are stymying your company’s growth. It allows them to be in control over what they work on and how they work.

Help everyone on your team to set their own goals and you will see intention permeate through every part of your organization. This isn’t easy and takes time on your part, but will pay dividends in their growth, which then in turns grows your organization.

Not in management? No matter. Intention is something we all can choose to do. Intend to be less distracted at work. Intend to go the extra mile for your customer. Intend to spend 20 minutes exercising. Intend to strive for the greater good of your team. Intend to make yourself a little bit better than you were the day before.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “A good intention clothes itself in power.”


Liz WhittenComment