Intentional Living©

The New Year is upon us, and for many people it’s a time for making resolutions, plans, commitments and goals. I’d like to encourage each of you to make one particular new commitment in 2015 and beyond: namely, to act, lead and live more intentionally! In other words, to be more purposeful.

In a recent conversation, I told a friend that I endeavor to be intentional in every part of my life, personal and professional. What this means in action and practice is that I set objectives for my personal and professional growth, I determine what each goal would “look like” in action and then I am thoughtful and intentional in taking action consistent with my goals. That’s probably a little challenging to follow, so let me give you some examples.

One of my personal core values is to be fully present in all of my communications with others, which means both on the phone and in person. My experience is that being present with people is not the norm and, in fact, it’s pretty rare. People are so connected via their cell phones (constantly texting, taking calls or checking emails), and we have so much going on in our lives and heads that we end up thinking about something else instead of being present for the person or people that we are engaged with in communication.

I have the same potential distractions as everyone else, but I am intentional (purposeful) in taking steps to be present despite the potential for distractions. In some situations where I am struggling to be present because there is some other priority for me in the moment, I am intentional in telling the person that I’m talking with, and I ask them to give me a moment so that I can be present for them. Here’s an example of an intentional comment I made to someone who wanted to talk to me as I was setting up for a speaking engagement:

One of my core values is to be fully present in all of my interactions. I need a few minutes to get my Power Point set up, and I’m not able to be present for you while I’m working on this. Let me finish setting this up and then I will be fully present for you and to answer your questions.

When I came back to this person (as I had committed) and was fully present for him, here’s the feedback he gave me: “I’ve never had anyone say anything like that to me, and I really appreciated both your honesty and knowing that you would be fully present for me when we communicated.” This is all about intentionality.

Let’s look at another example of being purposeful and intentional with others. When most people are meeting with other people in a public place, they tend to look around at other people, look up when people walk in or by and generally practice scanning of the room. This is not an unusual habit, but it’s based upon making sure I know who else is there, looking for people that I know and making sure that I don’t miss something or someone. Do you see the problem? This practice or habit is all about me, not the person that I’m engaged with. Being fully present means making the person I’m with the highest priority in that moment.

Part of being intentional is being aware of the foregoing and committing to making the other person the highest priority. Another way to be intentional is to be aware of when you’re getting distracted in the moment and to remind yourself (in your head) to come back to the person you’re engaged with and be present. Despite my commitment to this core value and my regular practice of being present, there are times that I’m distracted by someone else in the room, by my schedule, by my “to do” list, etc., but in that moment I catch myself and intentionally bring myself back to being fully present for the person I’m “with” (on the phone or in person). Being fully present is essential for connecting with others and building (and maintaining) meaningful and genuine relationships, so my intentionality in being fully present not only helps me to live my core value, but also serves me in my relationship building efforts and activities.

The thing about being intentional and purposeful is that it has no limits. It applies to everything you do, think and believe. Every goal or objective you have can be pursued intentionally, especially inside changes. Think about the many ways that your relationships (personal and professional) are off course but could be improved if one or ideally both parties committed to being more intentional around whatever issues are involved.

It’s easy to say “I will try to do better” at something, but we all know the likely outcome – no change. It’s a very different approach to say “I want to change and I will be intentional about those changes. I may be imperfect, but I hope you’ll continue to support me and help me be aware of how I’m doing in these changes that I’ve committed to.” You probably are noticing that this approach also makes me accountable for the changes because they are clearer and I am committing to them.

The new year is upon us. We can commit to change and make changes at any time during the year, but since the new year is here now I hope you’ll take the huge step to live, lead and act more intentionally and on purpose. There are so many things in our culture that are off course which I believe can be addressed or corrected if more people commit to being intentional. There’s no time like the present to be intentional in everything that you do. The only question is whether you will choose that path!


  1. Your article is exactly the reason I created CreateEnergy. it is a daily format to set down intentions , glance at a life grid, and more. You hit the nail on the head with the challenges folks have. Best, Mikel

  2. Thank you for breaking it down for me. I will absolutely work on being in the present going foward.

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