3 Best Ways to Live With Intention

A new year is often time for reflection. We take a look back and think about what we want to be different in the year ahead. We create new plans, new goals and begin with hope for a new future. We know things don’t always go as planned, our goals aren’t always achieved and sometimes our hopes are dashed. Yet we celebrate a new year with anticipation that this year can be different, can be better. One of the ways to make this happen is to live with intention. As Kristin Armstrong, three-time Olympic gold medalist reminds us: We either live with intention or exist by default. Make 2021 your year to live on purpose.

Here are three ways you can build intention into every day: practice gratitude, mindfulness, and focus. I will cover each of these in the next three posts, this post I’m going to focus on gratitude.


Even when things are at there worst look for things to be thankful for. One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. Begin your day by acknowledging what’s going right in your life and the people you appreciate. Recite out loud affirmations such as:

I am so thankful that the universe is working for my greater good.

I am grateful for another chance to live my life.

I’m grateful for the air I breathe and the blood flowing through my body.

I appreciate the help and support of the people who have helped me along with way.

Take a few minutes right now to create and write down a few gratitude affirmations that appeal to you. Next put them in a place you where you will see them shortly after you wake up in the morning so you can repeat them as you begin your day.

I’d love to know one or two of the affirmations that you create, post them here and begin 2021 by being intentionally grateful.

What change will you make in the new year?

As we mark the end of another year, one filled with challenges and anxiety, we anticipate 2021 will be better. It will be better if we follow the advice left on an Anglican Bishop’s tombstone in the basement of Westminster Abbey. It reads as follows:

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change. So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country, but it too seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family, from their inspiration and encouragement I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I might have even changed the world.”

As you think about the next 12 months what is one change you can make to create a positive difference in your life? My one change is to incorporate a meditation practice at the end of my workday. I’d love to know what your one change will be, post it here.

What is your response to a red light?

What is your response to a red light? Is it something like – just my luck, I am always stuck in traffic, if that person ahead of me would have been a little faster…? Or is it something like this – great I can take a moment and relax, look at the sunshine, or the rain drops on my windshield, I can take a breath and give thanks for all the good things in my life.

If your response is like the first one, adopt the attitude of the second, for our response is a choice and the more times we choose to be frustrated and angry the more we are frustrated and angry. If we choose peace, calm and gratitude our lives become filled with moments of serenity.

Years ago I clipped the following out of a magazine:

If I Had My Life Over by Nadine Stair


If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously.

I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.


You see, I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.


If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.


Let me know how you respond to traffic lights? Post here.

Reframe Failure into Feedback

In my post two weeks ago, I talked about how fear of failure can stop us from taking action on our dreams. When you take action and your plans fail, reframe failure into feedback.  You now have information to make adjustments and take a new course of action.

 

You’ve most likely heard the story of Thomas Edison and how he reframed each attempt to create the incandescent light bulb.  When his colleague remarked about another failure Edison remarked “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work.” Lucky for us he was willing to see it as feedback and didn’t give up.

Success is failure in progress. – Albert Einstein

Describe a time when you have or could use failure as feedback.  Post it here.

Are you intentionally grateful?

This week as we observe Thanksgiving our celebration may be different than the past. We will still take time to focus on the things that matter most in our lives and be grateful.

That being said it is important to have a daily ritual of gratitude though out the year. Here is a practice you can adopt. At the start of each day review your appointments and be grateful for each item on your calendar. It may be a task you find difficult or conversation with aa person you dislike, find something to be grateful for as you consider the event. At the very least, you can be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow. At the end of the day, list three things you in your gratitude journal to celebrate. Share one of those gratitude’s here.

The Surprising Secret to Confidence – borrow the slogan from Nike and Just Do It!

Fear of failure is what stops many of us from pursuing our dreams. The thoughts like what if it doesn’t work, what if I look stupid, what if I get laughed at, what if I go broke, have stopped many a dream in its tracks. The best cure is to take action despite that voice shouting in the back of your head. The advice Mel Robbins gives in her TED Talk fits here. She describes a method she created to motivate herself to get out of a funk and take action. Count backward from 5, when you get to 1 you get up and do what you’ve been avoiding. “Your feelings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what you DO.”, says Robbins.

Try the 5 second technique and let me know what happens. Post your comment here.

What are you doing to navigate these stormy waters?

In recent months we’ve been bombarded with the phrase “we are all in this together.” Not only does it relate to the world at large it can also relate to the organization where we work. In speaking with a colleague earlier this week she made an interesting statement: even though we are all in this together we are in different boats. Some people are in an inflatable raft, some in a cabin cruiser or some a yacht. When we work for an organization its true as well. Think of the place you work for as the body of water and your role in the organization is the boat you are guiding to get you to the destination.

We all face stormy weather and how we navigate the storm is independent of the type of vessel you are guiding the difference is how you guide the craft. The way you pilot your boat is what will make the difference in the outcome of your day, your month, your career, not the type of boat you are steering. Without the skill, knowledge, and ability (SKA’s) to sail stormy seas, you will run aground even if you are in the most expensive yacht. Are you willing make the time to improve your SKA’s? Your investment in your SKA’s is what will give you the ability to successfully guide your boat to its destination.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Listen to podcasts or the read the blog posts of leaders in your industry.
  • Let me recommend Michelle L. Steffes podcast: Your Journey to Greatness Through Routine.  Here is a link:https://ipvconsulting.com/podcastpage/
  • Take time each day to disconnect from news and social media.
  • Create a plan to strengthen areas in which you already excel.
  • And of course find time for self-care using things like meditation and exercise.

What strategies do you use to continue to be your best and guide your career to its maximum potential? Post those ideas here.

Are you willing to chase your dream?

Once there was an eagle’s nest with four beautiful eggs perched on the side of a mountain. An earthquake occurred causing one of the eggs to roll out of the nest down the mountain side and landed in the middle of a chicken farm below. The chickens gathered around the egg and decided they would take care of it. One old hen volunteered to sit on the egg and soon it hatched. Out came a beautiful baby eagle. The chickens raised the eagle like all of the other baby chicks.

One day when the eagle was out playing in the yard with the other chicks he looked up into the sky and saw a group of eagles soaring above. He said out loud, “I wish I could soar like that.” The chickens laughed. “You can’t soar “they said “you’re a chicken and chickens can’t fly.” Day after day the eagle would be in the yard and noticed the family of eagles soaring above, his real family. Each time he said how much he wanted to fly like that, the chickens would laugh and tell him it wasn’t possible. As the years passed the eagle gave up on his dream and eventually died with the chickens, never knowing he was an eagle and could soar up in the air.

What’s the morale of the story? We all have dreams inside of us; we were all born to fulfill our greatest purpose. If we let those around us talk us out of our dreams, we will die never realizing what we could become. Use this post as encouragement to follow your dream, stop listening to the people around you who say it can’t be done. As Audrey Hepburn said, “Nothing is impossible, even the word itself says I’m possible.”


What is one action you can take right now to move you closer to your dream? Take it and post your action here.

How your words impact your feelings.

Have you ever said things like: “I have to go to work today”, or “I should be at the board meeting”, or “I must make this call”? Using words like have to, should or must creates an internal response of rejecting the activity. It is like saying to yourself I’m required to do this thing, but I would rather not. Instead using words like get to, chose to, or want to.


When you replace have to with get to the sentence has a whole new meaning. “I get to go to work today”, has an entirely different feel to it then “I have to go to work today”. Saying I get to implies a choice and as humans we like the freedom of choice.

Part of the challenge was are facing in our world today is the fact that are choices are limited to reduce the spread of COVID 19. Masks are now required when we go out to a public space. Tell yourself “I get to wear a mask to protect myself and others”, as opposed to “I must wear this mask!” Or “I am going to choose to social distance myself from others,” instead of “I have to stand six feet apart in line”.

The same applies to other daily activities. I get to make a call on a potential customer. I want to have this conversation with one of my team members. I chose to work on this project first thing this morning.
Acting by choice is different than when we are forced to do something.

Remember when you were a kid and a parent made you clean your room or eat your vegetables? A command from an adult set up feelings of internal resistance – I don’t want to! Even if we did as we were told we felt frustrated, angry, and upset. The same thing can happen to us as adults. When we tell our self, some action is required, those same negative feelings come up as a response. Making a choice eliminates those negative emotions.

Remember, your brain believes everything you tell it. Pay attention to the words you are using out loud and in your internal dialogue. Change your language and you will change how you feel. Try it and post your results here.

The #1 Way to Combat Anixety

The news headlines are relentless. The reports of COVID-19 spreading like wildfire has sports seasons halted, entertainment venues and gyms closed, meetings and events cancelled or postponed until further notice. It is easy to get caught up in all the drama and get pulled down a tunnel of darkness.

The antidote? Focus on what you can control, and you control what you think about. This post uses the analogy that your mind is like a garden. In order for any garden to grow, flourish and produce beautiful flowers or delicious produce it needs tending.

The “garden of your mind” must never be left unattended. No matter how healthy the garden may seem, there will always be opportunities to allow weeds and thorns to creep in and bring destruction. When this happens, you can experience everything from poor health to depression and emotional upheaval affecting your career, relationships, well-being, and success.

“’Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality.” – Earl Nightingale

Sowing good seeds to produce a healthy garden in your mind requires you to pay attention to where you focus your thoughts each and every day. The influences in your daily life can be but are not necessarily all bad things. Your choices for entertainment, reading material, music, social media and even the people you surround yourself are all some type of seed. You must be willing to ask yourself which ones are pushing you towards your destiny and which are just stealing your time or inhibiting the healthy growth in the garden of your mind.
When it comes to taking care of our garden to ensure it matches our vision and pushes us toward our desired goals, we must do whatever is necessary to change our inner dialogue.

Therefore, a regular examination of our influences, both inner and outer will not only reveal some root causes of stress in our lives but it can help us prioritize what we allow ourselves to become involved in and help us to regain control.
Success is not a destination it is part of the journey. Visualize yourself being successful each and every step of the way. Of course, weeds will creep into our garden. The key is focusing on what is good and positive and let the rest fall away.

Today I want to offer you another resource, it is my free course Stop Anxiety in its Tracks. Click here to take advantage of this offer while it lasts.