Take a minute right now to think about an interaction in your life that went really well. Maybe it was a job interview that resulted in a killer job offer or a serious talk you were nervous about that went better than expected.
Odds are, you didn’t just go into that willy-nilly. You thought about it and you decided you were going to use this tone, these words, and you’re going to focus on this and not that. Right?
You know that when you want a desired outcome, you have to be intentional.
We know this stuff and we apply it in micro situations like a job interview or an important conversation. The problem is, we completely skip this step in our daily life and then we wonder why we feel like life is walking all over us. If you went into a job interview completely unprepared and they began to ask you technical and specific questions, you would probably feel very overwhelmed very quickly.
That’s what we’re doing in our everyday lives: blindly stepping into the day without taking the time to decide how we want it to go and how we should go about getting our desired outcome. No wonder so many people find themselves barely treading water, where as soon as you get a grip on one thing, another wave crashes over.
The answer is Setting Intentions. Here’s how:
1. Take a few minutes tonight to ask yourself: Who do I want to be? What qualities do I want to exude? Make a list.
- Think about a few times when you felt really good about yourself. What qualities were you embodying at that time?
- Extra Tip: If you have photos or a videos of yourself living your best life, pull those up! This not only jogs your memory, but you can then simply describe yourself in that picture.
- Do you look warm? Confident? Content? Smart? Sweet?
Now you have your list and we’re on to step 2…are you ready?
2. Be That.
- At the beginning of each day, physically take out this (hand-written) list of qualities that are your best self.
- Take a moment in silence, look at the list, and ask yourself: What outcome(s) do I want out of today and how would I need to be to achieve that? Pick the quality from your list that matches. That is your intention for the day.
- Write it down, set a reminder in your phone, put that word somewhere you will see it as much as possible so you can remember that this is how you intend to be.
Thinking, “I don’t have this kind of time”? Setting intentions can be as little as 30 seconds at the beginning of your day and it can be as light of a task as you make it. Think of it like being in a dressing room or even like being an actor; just try it on for a day! What do you have to lose?
Not only does this improve your happiness and performance, but it’s an easy and active exercise in honing your self-knowledge.
When you try on these different qualities, you see where they work for you. Every day, you get better and more honed in on exactly who you are and what you need to feel and perform as your best self at all times. When you are intentional about how you approach your life, you learn which approach (which qualities) will serve you best in different circumstances.
Through this exercise, I learned that I need to be super intentional about not taking myself too seriously when I’m working or doing something I deem important because I can get quickly overwhelmed.
So now I know to approach work and “serious” tasks with the intention of ease and flow and my productivity, quality of work, and happiness have sky-rocketed.
If you’re finding yourself feeling like you’re never quite there, like that success and dream life is just out of reach, and like you can barely catch your breath before the next wave crashes… the reason is you’re showing up to the job interview unprepared.
Setting intentions is the moment of every day that you prepare.
Start tomorrow. Take out that list of your best and favorite qualities and ask, “What do I want my outcome to be and how should I approach this day to get that outcome?”