What is being intentional? Why does it matter? And how can being intentional help our life & business endeavours?
Being intentional comes in many forms, shapes and sizes; and has incredibly large benefits. It’s a concept that can be applied to every aspect of our personal lives and our business. In fact, a quick Google search will return many results around being intentional in all different aspects of our lives.
One hugely common component of being intentional is through acts of kindness – which is a win-win all the way around for everyone. So while that may not be directly relevant to our focus and technology, I definitely encourage you to work acts of kindness into your life whenever possible.
But to bring us back to our focus, we’re looking at the concept of being intentional from the perspective of being an entrepreneur or authorpreneur. While there are many examples of applying the concept of being intentional to improve our mental health and happiness meter, we’re going to take a closer look at how the concept of being intentional can also be highly relevant and rewarding when applied to our success goals.
What is being intentional?
One definition that comes up immediately is:
“It means you are purposeful in word and action. It means you live a life that is meaningful and fulfilling to you. It means you make thoughtful choices in your life. Being intentional means you actively interact and engage with your life.” And this definition is provided in an article at: Live Love Work.
It’s a beautiful summary and sets us up perfectly for digging deeper on how these concepts can be applied to our previously defined success goals.
Some of the key phrases here are:
- You are purposeful in word and action
- You make thoughtful choices
- You actively interact and engage
We are most often instructed on these things in relation to our own personal life and well-being – which is absolutely important and sets a fantastic framework.
However, those exact phrases are completely relevant to how we conduct the business side of our lives too.
- When you set out each day, know what your steps, actions and goals are for that day – that’s being purposeful.
- As you encounter different circumstances give thought to the choices and decisions you make – take care to be mindful.
- As you go about your business, interact and engage with people around you – colleagues, associates, customers, prospects…
So being intentional is very much a verb, which is action.
To have purpose. To be mindful. To engage.
Purpose. Mindfulness. Engagement.
Being intentional is very much a verb, which is action.
Why is being intentional important?
When you go about your daily activities and your long term planning with intent, you’ll find that you’re more productive and happier. It also makes it easier to take the curve balls in stride.
These are some pretty profound reasons on why being intentional is important.
When you’re purposeful in your words and actions, you’re not doing things by accident. There will be less mistakes. There will be less forgotten tasks. There will be less frustration.
There will be MORE productivity.
When you’re mindful of your choices and decisions, you’re more considerate. You have a choice before every single thing you say and do. So if you’re mindful at the start, then there are less things said unintentionally. There are less hurts delivered. There are less bad choices made. There are less uninformed decisions made.
There will be MORE happiness.
When you interact and engage throughout the day, you create a feeling of inclusiveness and care. Whether you’re interacting with superiors, peers, employees, vendors, or customers – they will feel better after genuine interaction and engagement, which simply by nature will make you feel better. Through interaction that is combined with good communication, there will be less misunderstandings. There will be less mistakes. There will be less ill-feelings.
There will be MORE connection.
How can I be intentional?
Fortunately, being intentional is really not that difficult. Like any habit we wish to develop, we need to make the conscious choice to implement it repeatedly and eventually it will simply become a natural way of doing things.
So what are some examples of being intentional?
- At the end of every day, perform a review of what did and didn’t work for the day.
- At the start of every day, map out exactly what the priority tasks are and the order in which things will be done.
- Take the time to create your blueprint – where you are now, where you want to be and the action steps required to get there.
- Revisit your plans, goals, blueprints and progress at regularly scheduled checkpoints.
- Weigh out the pros and cons of every choice and decision you’re faced with.
- Implement a rating system for each new project or opportunity that comes your way to make it an easier and more logical process to accept or turn down.
- Consider the impact that your choices or decisions will have on others around you.
- Consider the consequences for yourself for each choice or decision.
- Be open to multiple perspectives.
- Compliment the people around you.
- Give credit, no matter how small, when it’s due.
- Offer help as much as possible.
- Be observant of the people around you and step-up for them when you see them struggling.
- Ask questions.
- Respond promptly.
This is a relatively small list to get you started. How many ideas does this list inspire in you?
Here’s a fully-loaded action step for you to sink your teeth into.
- Look for an opportunity where you can solve a problem.
- Create the action steps you’ll take to address the problem.
- Look at the problem from multiple perspectives to gain a better understanding of how the problem impacts others.
- Provide high-value, detailed information on how to work through the problem.
- Deliver the solution to anyone you feel will benefit from it.
- Expect nothing in return.
- Respond promptly to any questions or comments.
Hopefully by now you’re starting to get a fairly clear idea of how you can implement being intentional into your own work-flow and in your dealings with others.
The Hare & Tortoise
I think it’s pretty safe to assume that most everyone is familiar with at least one version of the childhood tale of the hare and tortoise. Interestingly, I’ve come across a few different opinions as to the moral of that story. The most common one being “slow and steady wins the race”. However, this concept doesn’t often sit well with entrepreneurs, and even many authors, as the idea of moving slowly feels counter-intuitive. For the most part, in some circumstances, I tend to agree. We live in a society that moves at a rather rapid pace.
While it’s also true that “haste makes waste” – there are scenarios in which moving too slowly can result in missed opportunity. So what the heck are we supposed to do?
Well for me, the concept of the hare and tortoise race is far more about being steady than it is about being slow. And to be steady, is to be intentional. The tortoise won the race because he was single-mindedly focused on achieving one particular outcome. Whereas the hare was completely scattered, over-confident, and totally lacked focus.
The entrepreneur who takes the haphazard attitude of “oh I have plenty of time to complete that” and doesn’t stick to a plan, is going to encounter far more problems than the entrepreneur who knows what needs to be done, the order it needs to be done in, and consistently implements their actions with intention.
So rather than focusing on speed or how long something might take to complete, focus on how you can be intentional in your action plan. Approach things with a mind to be steady and go ahead at whatever speed works for you. So long as the speed doesn’t derail you, it doesn’t need to be a factor. If you find yourself going at too much of a whirl-wind pace, that’s when you need to take it back a notch.
Steady is the true key to winning the race.
An Intentional Pharmacist
I experienced one of the most incredible instances of a business owner being intentional with a client and the best way to demonstrate it is to simply tell you a personal story.
My brother has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Along with the many challenges that he faces, one of the biggest is the feeling of losing control. One area where we learned that he felt he had no control was with his medication.
In our attempts to help him in every way possible we were completely managing his meds – to the point that he had no clue what he was taking, why he was taking them or what they were for.
After a conversation with our pharmacist about this, the pharmacist offered to put a more detailed description on the blister packs that his meds came in. Which was a very nice offer. But we hesitated, then explained that since the MS was affecting my brother’s eyesight, he couldn’t read the small print on the blister packs.
When we went to pick up the next batch of meds the pharmacist showed us an 11×17 page that he had created using large fonts, that listed all of the meds with their medical name, common name, dosage, what they were for, why he was taking them and what they would hopefully be doing for him. He then stated that he would bring this chart out to my brother’s house, which is on a farm outside of town, because travel is difficult for my brother, and go over the page with him and explain it all. A week later he did just that.
This is an incredible example of a business owner being intentional about how he manages his clients and meets their needs.
How is this relevant for authors?
Ok, so things are shaping up nicely for getting a decent picture of the concept of being intentional when it comes to our business. But what about authors?
Hopefully you’ve started to notice my use of the term authorpreneurship. Essentially this is the combination of being an author and an entrepreneur into one. And the entire concept behind authorpreneurship is one of being intentional about the business aspect of being an author.
So while an author also has opportunity to be intentional with their readers and followers in how they interact and engage. It’s equally important that an author be intentional about their publishing journey.
There is no right or wrong way to publishing, regardless of the debates that have occurred over the years. The point is to be intentional about your goals, plans, and actions. As one of my mentors says repeatedly, “being a successful author is a decision, it’s not luck”.
Sure there are certain tactics and strategies that work better than others. There’s often different outcomes that result between traditional publishing versus self-publishing. But it’s not about which is right or wrong. It’s about figuring out what works for you, making a plan, and then sticking to it – intentionally.
I’ve mentioned it before and it’s likely something you’ll hear me repeat often… the first step is to be intentional about building your following. Of every industry out there who benefits from developing a strong and loyal following, authors (in general) are the ones who lack in this area the most. But those authors who nail this part, more often than not, manage to reach the goals they set for themselves.
So being intentional for an author is no different than any other entrepreneur and the list of ideas, concepts and examples in this article are just as relevant to an author as they are to a small business owner.
What does being intentional have to do with technology?
Most of the fear and overwhelm that comes naturally as part of the transition into using technology, and especially learning new tools, results from the unknown, through a lack of understanding and guidance.
By being intentional about how you approach technology and learning a new tool, concept or skill, you remove the unknown factor; you intentionally ensure that you have the necessary guidance and support; and thus the understanding comes at a more natural and digestible pace.
Being intentional about how you approach technology simply removes the barriers and limiting beliefs, which makes it so much easier to progress and succeed.
When you’re intentional in your approach to technology you’re making informed decisions; you’re reading what displays on your screen; you’re planning; you’re being systematic; you’re exercising the key qualities that enable a person to become tech savvy – and YES that can be you too!
As I said, being intentional is a habit that we need to form. It’s multiple habits actually, that we can apply in many different ways throughout our life, both on a personal and business level.
And embracing the tech that is hidden within each of us boils down to embracing the 4 key qualities that nurture a tech savvy mindset: Desire, Problem Solving, Persistence, and Being Organized.
When we’re embracing these qualities we’re planning, we’re being sequential, we’re positive, we’re patient, we’re determined… and when you have that kind of mindset, nothing can truly stop you – in anything.
Don’t be the “Hare” when it comes to developing your inner tech geek – be the “Tortoise”, and I guarantee that one click at a time you will strengthen your tech skills beyond your wildest dreams.
There are many, many places that you can start when it comes to the tech you need to work with – and you may have already jumped into various components. But no matter where you are on your tech journey, I encourage you to grab a copy of our FREE Website Planner Workbook with Guide by clicking the button below:
Whether you already have a website or not, this workbook will likely shed some incredible light on various components of your online presence, not just your website.
- By working through the workbook you’re immediately implementing an intentional mindset.
- As you answer the questions throughout the workbook you’ll experience a new level of clarity behind what you’re doing.
- Once you’ve completed the workbook you’ll have created a position of success for yourself that will drastically impact the experience you have when learning how to “do” the tech you need done.
A huge part of the overwhelm that entrepreneurs and authorpreneurs face when trying to figure out their tech is that they don’t have a plan in the first place – any kind of real, documented plan. So when they come face to face with the task of creating something like the homepage of their website, not only are they dealing with the question of “How do I do this?” they’re also battling the question of “What do I put here?” – this compounds the challenge and overwhelm.
Whereas those who create a plan first, are able to put the question of “what” completely out of their mind, because it’s right there waiting to be used. This allows them to completely focus on the “how”. And when we focus on the “how” without distraction, we quickly realize how simple it truly it is.
I can explain this a thousand different ways, but until you experience it for yourself it won’t hold the same meaning. So go ahead and grab our FREE Website Planner Workbook with Guide by clicking the button below – what have you got to lose by trying?
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About the Author
Tanya Jones (Thibodeau) is the owner and publisher of the Gateway Gazette, a digital media news source.Tanya has 12 years of experience in publishing and marketing and 25 years of experience in various business sectors. While offering most “do-it-for-you” marketing services is not part of her business model, she has spent a great deal of time over the last 12 years researching and learning about the ins and outs of marketing, solely for the purpose of being able to pass that knowledge on to help clients. This passion has expanded into a new venture called Panoptic Foundations where they teach entrepreneurs & authorpreneurs how to create and maintain a thriving online presence, from scratch, with ease, even if you’re not techie.
“My passion is helping people. I have a knack for it. Twenty-five years ago I was helping people learn how to play the piano – today I’m helping people learn how to play the computer. I work primarily with raw beginners and those just getting going. I guide you step by step in setting up your online presence so you’re excited to share it with the world.”