How many of you truly know and can articulate your life’s intent? And by intent, I mean your never changing purpose, the reason you exist or your personal mission statement. Ask yourself, how will you better those around you? Also, how will you not just better who you are, but what you can become?
If you are under the age of 35 and/or you’re worth less than a few million dollars, you probably feel as though the ruling class in America is writing you off. And, truth be told, they are. We live in an age of manufactured perma-crisis where solutions are simple but there is too much money being made on the maintenance of these crises. The problem for you then becomes this overwhelming feeling of having your drive, motivation, purpose, meaning and desire being stripped right out from underneath you. You may choose to resign yourself to a life of mediocrity. You may not choose to live a life meaningfully well and full of purpose.
All of the above hit me in early 2008 like a freight train. I was nearly depressed, felt hopeless and didn’t think there was anything that I could do to change or control my fate. I had become so focused on receiving recognition for my iStuff that I neglected to think about true happiness, intrinsic motivation and the impact that I was meant to have on society. Each and every one of us is here for a reason. Sometimes that reason doesn’t smack you in the face until months or years after you’d wish it to. So, what can you do to overpower mediocrity, establish clear intent and live a remarkable life? Here are five ideas that will push you towards the creation of your Intention Statement.
You Can’t be Given Your Intent
Although I’ve had multiple clients ask me to provide them with the answer on what to do next in their career, no one, besides you, can determine that answer. The only way to find it is to work…and work hard. Try different jobs, volunteer, serve on boards, coach your kid’s sports team, build relationships and reflect on your learning often. Through time, effort, being inquisitive and identifying patterns of internal happiness, your purpose will become clearer and you’ll discover your intent.
Answer the Question, Why?
An Intention Statement, by nature, is your never changing purpose. It’s the why behind your decisions and choices. It’s the reason and motivation for you to sacrifice and do things now that no one else WILL do so that down the road you’ll be doing things that no one else CAN do. Ask yourself, what am I doing when I lose track of time? What do I want my legacy to be? What produces a strong sense of purpose deep down in my soul? When you ask yourself these questions, the answers derived will help create the guiding statement that will make life’s tougher decisions easier.
Simplicity and Imposing Constraints
The achievement of your intent cannot occur if your life is so full of distractions that you can’t focus on the meaningful. Instead of letting your schedule schedule you, consciously schedule your priorities. Don’t confuse placing constraints on your life and the activities you choose to engage in with making sacrifices. The constraints will allow you to focus more fully on the tasks that push you to create your lasting legacy.
Don’t Extract, Generate Value
As your craft your statement, choose actions that do not take away from others’ lives. There are already enough people in our world participating in the biggest upwards transfer of wealth in American history, starting international conflicts and placing power in the hands of the few. Why not be a part of the solution? Why not be a part of something that provides others with a hand up, not a hand out. Instead of saying I’m the producer and you’re the consumer, focus on being an individual, an artist and someone generating value for all of the “common” wealth. Choose not to focus on output, but rather to focus on multiple bottom line outcome.
Create a Memorable Statement
Somewhat similar to a corporate mission statement, your Intention Statement should be short, succinct, meaningful and able to serve you for decades to come. Write the statement so that you can memorize it and easily recite it back to others in conversation. Write it so that you are proud to say it aloud in groups and that it inspires others to go through the process to write their own.
In short, put in the time and hard work of self discovery, determine what you’d like your legacy to be, limit life’s distractions, generate value for others and put it all together to create a remarkable statement.
As we continue our slow transition out of the industrial economy into the knowledge economy, creating your reason is perhaps the most rebellious, and noble, thing you can do. Not leaving your fate in someone else’s hands is empowering. Continually striving for better, faster, cheaper is simply a race to the bottom. Simply falling victim to the downward spiral of working harder, getting poorer, feeling emptier, buying more, working harder will not allow you to achieve your life’s true intent. Why not create an upward spiral of success where you can leave the McJob formerly known as your career and transition to something that provides you with autonomy in your decision making, the ability to master your craft and purpose in your daily activities?
Human potential is vaster than any of us know. Your job is to find your own potential and then help everyone around you explode their potential.
So, I ask you again, what is your life’s intent?