Being More Intentional

Do you think and act on purpose or do you tend to run by the seat of your pants? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, Emotional Intelligence Master Trainer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and this week, I want to continue our conversation around self-management, the second quadrant of emotional intelligence, by talking about the competency of intentionality.


Some people take control and make things happen where others just sort of look back and go, "Wow, what happened?" Working in the daily grind where the same old thing happens every day and it's just in a bit of a rut. And you just get up and just run the same patterns and do the same thing and then, at the end of the day, not quite sure what you really got done.


Continually reacting to other people pushing buttons for you, or for crisis situations, being totally out of balance in the things that you focus on. And the end result is comparison and regret and feeling guilty about the lack of effort that you've put in, or the lack of forward movement that you've got on your goals.


Comparing yourself with others is one of the biggest dream stealers. And we have so many opportunities out there to see on social media, on television, wherever it is, others who are showing you what they're doing. So, therefore, because we're not acting on purpose, we've focused on what others are achieving and we regret not being there ourselves.


But when we work on our intentionality, we get different results. We go from a daily grind to a daily flow where things happen as they're supposed to happen, where we're operating, not from the seat of our pants, but on the front foot.


That's a cricket analogy whereby when a bowler bowls a ball, particularly a spin bowler, we're not quite sure what's going to happen when it hits the pitch. So, if the batsman takes a step forward and gets on the front foot, ready to take the ball, it takes out that ambiguity because he meets the ball where it pitches and that's what we can do as well when we set intention.


And instead of being out of balance, we build our own perfect balance where we're prioritising things that are most important to us, and we feel proud, and we feel fulfilled by whatever it is that we've achieved in our day, in our week, in our month, whatever it is.


And to have these results, we need to develop the competency of intentionality. Intentionality is thinking and acting on purpose. Taking control of your life, taking control of your day, and making sure that you decide where it is that you put your energy. So, therefore, you are in control of your destiny. So, let me take you through five key ideas that will help you to be able to lay this platform that you need to be more intentional.


Number one is to know your purpose. When we have that bigger picture idea of what we're on the planet for, when we know what our purpose is, we're able then to make sure that whatever we give our time, our energy, our bandwidth to is actually related to and linked to that purpose. When we lack purpose, we can just do anything. We can just go about our day, seat of the pants mentality, and just look busy.


But when we ask ourselves the question, "For what purpose?", we then give that particular activity that we may or may not want to do a priority. If it's working towards the purpose, then, "Hey, it's something that I need to do." "If it's something that's going to detract from my purpose, then it's something I need to discard." "If there are things that I can decide between, the one that's the highest priority will be the one that moves me in my purpose."


The second one are our horizons of focus. A lot of times when we get trapped in this rut, this day to day, this grind, it's because we are just looking at what's in front of us. However, when we have a purpose, we can then look at that purpose and, indeed, our life from a higher perspective.


It's like taking a satellite view of the earth. So, we're looking down on the entire situation and seeing the whole picture, not just this thing that's come across my desk or across my day that I need to decide whether or not it's urgent based on normally other people's requests.


So, the horizons of focus that we need to look at are up there in the atmosphere, then down, just as we're going up through the clouds and the runway, what's right in front of us that needs to be looked at now. How are we going to get this journey started?


So, start by having a big picture view. What is it that your overall purpose is achieving? What is it that you want to get done this year, this quarter?


So, have a look at it from a macro-level and then bring it back to what I need to do this week, this month, then bring it back and have a look at, well, what do I need to do this week, today, right now so that when I put those steps together, it will achieve that weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly goal, whatever it is. So, make sure that we understand the horizons of focus.


Number three is plan your journey. There's been many times, and I think I talked about this one of the other weeks, there's many times where I just would jump in the car with the family. We say, "Let's go somewhere." And we would not, and when I say "we", I meant me, we would not book a hotel or those sorts of things. We just run by the seat of our pants because that was exciting and the variety was great.


And there've been occasions where we've had to drive a lot further before we could get into a hotel using that analogy or that methodology. And it's the same with our life, our week, our day, we need to make sure that it's planned. We need to make sure that we know where we're going, we know how we're going to get there, and we know what the milestones are along the way.


If you're like me and planning is not a natural thing, it's something that you really need to get good at. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. You've heard it before. And I used to think that was some cliche thing that people used to say, and let me tell you, I now know that they were so right.


Because when we've got things planned, things happen because we want them to, not because they just turn up. We're expecting them. They're part of the journey. The other thing about planning the journey and having those milestones is we can measure where we've been. We can measure how far we've come. So, number three, plan your journey.


Number four is take action. Let the green light go. It doesn't matter if everything's not perfect. Every journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. So, just get started. Do something today towards that goal. Do something that's going to take you one step closer from where you are now to where you want to go.


A lot of times we want to get it a hundred percent ready. We want to make sure everything's right, that everything's perfect, and it's never going to be that way. So, the fourth big idea, when we want to make sure that we achieve things through intentionality is hit the start button, take action.


And number five is to reflect to refocus. So, on the journey, we need to make sure whether it's a day, a week, or whatever, that we have milestones where we stop and go, "How far have we got?" It's like on the car journey where we stop, we need to fill the car back up. We need to go to the bathroom, get something to eat, whatever it is.


We need to make sure that we've got these stops planned in along the journey. And what we do with that is we reflect on where we've been. And when we do this, we do it in a special way. We do it with forward-focused reflection, not looking back and then beating ourselves up with what we haven't got done.


And to help me remember this, I like to think of driving a car. I like to think of the windscreen, that big piece of glass in front of us, that also has this little rear-vision mirror that's there so that we can have a look every now and then and see what's happening behind. And when we reflect, we need to do it in the same proportion. We need to make sure that most of our focus is still on where we're going, just checking in and doing two things.


One, to have a look and identify what we got right. What was a win? What worked? And then number two is to be able to recognise what still needs doing, what we didn't quite get the result with that we wanted. So, we then are able to refocus our energy and our efforts on the things moving forward. So, number five is to make sure that we reflect and refocus.


So, there's five big ideas, key principles that we need to employ so that we can get more done, so that we can be more intentional. So, what I want you to do at the end of this episode is just pause for a moment and ask yourself that first question, "For what purpose? What is it that you are on the planet for? What is it that you are wanting to achieve?"


And get some clarity around that so that you can then operate your day days with purpose and making sure that you set the right intention of where you put your time, your energy, your finances, whatever it is that you need to be able to be the best steward of.


Running by the seat your pants is not as romantic as it sounds. It creates a lot of disharmony and a lack of results. Setting intention, working on your intentionality, that critical competency of self-management in the spectrum of emotional intelligence, is going to allow you to get more done in a day than most people get done in a week. So, a lot of us right now are in a situation where things have changed, where this COVID-19 has totally changed the way we operate.


And I know myself that there were times when I was just starting to go through the motions, doing the same old stuff every single day, and I was getting into one of those ruts that I talked about before. Intentionality will bring us out of that rut, and I just want to encourage you that if you're feeling like you're getting nowhere, that you're just like a hamster on a wheel, then take what I've taught you today, set that intention, and enjoy the results moving forward.


Well, that's it for me for another week. Make sure you hit the subscribe button, that you share this with your friends, and join me again next week where we continue this conversation around the self-management competencies of emotional intelligence by empowering you to be the creator of change in your life. I'll see you then.

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