"Contrast that with Visions that grab ahold of you deep inside and don't let go until you reach the finish line. These are the Visions that change things."A lot is written, said, theorized, and declared about the most effective ways to get things done. This is due, in part, to the volume of things going on in our lives. Couple this with the endless ways we make ourselves feel bad because we aren't getting as many things done as you'd like, and frustration is inevitable.
Most of what I read about getting stuff done deals with Technique, Systems, and Tactics, with lots of Purpose and Balance sprinkled on. Goodness knows, I've tried various recipes - some work well, some don't, some work sometimes, some work always. They all have one thing in common - I can screw up any of them because I don't predictably play by the rules.
In my quest for the perfect system I've come to some conclusions, thanks to a number of cosmic nudges toward "Intention" over the last year. The nudges have helped me conclude that Intention is the key element that determines whether any of the other stuff works (sort of like the One Ring that rules them all, in the Lord of The Rings).
Turns out I was on a quest (or something like it) and didn't realize it. This post is quite a bit more philosophical (and a lot longer) than my usual curious musings here, but I have heard a different muse today. Here is my travelog.
- The gurus of productivity all have their own twist on creating a compelling Vision of the future. Stephen Covey tells us to "Begin with the end in mind," David Allen says "You won't know how to do it until you see yourself doing it."
- My friend Gene Kim recommended "The Message of a Master" to me last year, which deals with "broadcasting" your desires (intentions, if you will) to the cosmos triggering the cosmos to respond with what you need. It's an unassuming little book, and I'd forgotten about it. I found it under the edge of my bed this weekend and it came crashing back.
- Steve Pavlina's "Million Dollar Experiment" (I'm a participant) gathered a bunch of folks to "manifest" $1 million dollars through the power of Intention. I personally attribute thousands of dollars to this simple intention technique.
- I saw a PBS special by Wayne Dyer, in which he goes through how to use the "Power of Intention" to change your life for the better. I was so intrigued, I donated enough money to Public Broadcasting to get his whole collection on the subject.
I started listening to the Wayne Dyer CD's this week, and a surprising thing happened. It was very "out there," new age sounding stuff (and I'm usually a roll-your-eyes-in-the-face-of-new-age-things kinda person). Then the connections started happening.
Into the fire
Envisioning the future is a useful and powerful technique to define a direction and a goal. It is step one in achieving fulfilling success. But how many times have you imagined things, worked on them for a while, then drifted away? That's me on about a zillion projects. Those are Visions that lack passion, desire, or "fire in your belly" drive.
Contrast that with Visions that grab ahold of you deep inside and don't let go until you reach the finish line. These are the Visions that change things.
So what's the difference, and how do you get more of those Visions that change things? Is it enough to envision longer, harder, more colorfully? Does public commitment help create a "hold your feet to the fire" sense of urgency? I think it all boils down to the power of Intention, and I'd like to share my observations on Intending Things Done.
Necessity is the mother of Intention
"The Visions that actually come true are those that you want the most, and accept without reservation or resistance."The problem with this notion of "Intention" is that it isn't a 10-step-guide sort of problem (and it's not one-size-fits-all by any means). Successful employment of Intention requires trust, focus, clarity, benevolence, a positive outlook, and consistency.
- The Visions that actually come true are those that you want the most, and accept without reservation or resistance
- Intention seldom survives in the shadow of doubt,.
- Doubt brings up those old familiar feelings: "I'm not worthy," "I'm not good enough," "That's too hard," "People will laugh," and that sort of thing. Don't listen.
- Replace the old familiars with affirmations like, "I intend to be successful," and "I intend to create positive, meaningful relationships with all of the people in my life." Don't laugh - that's a form of resistance, you know.
- Fear of success and fear of failure take the wind out of the sails of your Visions. That's why trust (or faith, if you prefer) must be present for you to achieve what you Intend.
- Intention only works for the greater good. Dyer's works and "The Message of a Master" both say that negatively-focused Intention either a) won't work; or b) will just draw more negative consequences to you.
- Don't focus on your own failure, or the failure of others. Only a focus on your own positive outcomes will create success.
- Intention doesn't have to benefit others, but I believe it helps. You're less likely to erect barriers to success when you don't feel like you're being selfish. That said....
- There is nothing wrong with Intending fabulous, unparalleled success for yourself .
- Wayne Dyer tells us, no amount of personal guilt will make another person's situation any better. Besides, if you're reading this, you're probably the kind of person who'll share your own success for the benefit of others. The best part of getting is giving.
- Intention is contagious. Unbridled Intention is about clarity of vision, and unlocking your passion. You'll exude energy, you'll tell people about your vision - and you'll recruit champions to your cause. (Message to the cosmos? Maybe. Message to the network that connects you to others that can help you achieve what you Intend? Absolutely.) If you need help with this one, check out "2 Weeks 2 A Breakthrough" - yet another nudge I encountered on my quest.
- Intention is what gets you back on the horse when you fall off. It is the difference between quitting and persevering. Intention is the difference between, "Why does this always happen to me?" and "What can I learn from what just happened?"
- Intention has a way of inviting things to show up at just the right time in your life - for big things and small ones. For example:
- I've had books left in airline seat pockets that were just what I needed at that time
- I've been introduced to people that happen to know someone I've been trying to meet
- After a recent, extremely grueling trip overseas, I was pulled out of the middle of a very long line in a cafe' in the London's Heathrow airport. I was then shown to a table, offered coffee and a sandwich, and was served at my table. Nothing so extraordinary about that - except that this cafe' doesn't offer table service, and the only people pulled out of line like this were me and my friend Chris Morgan. She even toasted my sandwich.
There really is nothing new under the sun (but that doesn't make it easy)
Last year, I wrote about a shadow of this in my post, "Pretend you create everything that happens to you," so I suppose I've had an inkling of this for a long time. But I tend to get caught up in realism and pragmatism to consistently create big Visions, let go, and trust that things will work out. Fear, Resistance, Pride, and Doubt have been limiting my possibilities. Our networks are available all the time for us to tap in for help, but when we hold back or try to do to much for ourselves the road is a lot harder.
So, take a look at my observations under the heading "Necessity is the mother of Intention" and reflect on whether any of them ring true for you. Then, embrace your big Visions, know that you deserve success, and declare your Intentions for success.
From there, show up and see what happens - and don't overlook the opportunities that present themselves to you.
And what's my Intention? I intend to be better than I used to be - and I am.