Live with Intention
I was at a sailing Regatta this weekend and in the middle of the race very dense fog rolled in. It was so dense that we could not see two boat lengths ahead of us. In a sailing race, you need to be able to see the buoys, set your sails accordingly and then through strategic maneuvering make your way to them. With the dense fog, we could no longer see the mark and twenty-three boats ended up sailing aimlessly on lake Michigan. The race had to be abandoned The skipper on my boat, had the foresight to look at the compass as we were leaving the harbor. Sailing back in the dense fog, the only way to find ourselves back to shore was to follow the compass setting. We couldn’t see where we were headed and we couldn’t see where we had come from. Sitting in the boat, listening to the foghorns of bigger boats, it occurred to me what a wonderful metaphor this was for setting our intentions in life.
We can’t always predict how our life will turn out. The best laid plans often crumble in front of our eyes, partnerships fall apart, dreams dissolve, illnesses can sideline us. Although I cannot predict how my life will continue to unfold, I have a steady compass by which I live. If life is living you rather than you living life, I want to share some tips for learning to start living your life with intention.
1. Create a personal mission statement
On a blank piece of paper, write the words that reflect the values that you find most important. Then write your desire for your life. Third, write who you would like to include in your mission statement. For me, my core values are kindness, love, empathy, and compassion. My personal desire is to live my life fully with a sense of adventure and open to as many experiences as possible. I would like to share my values and desires with my family, partner, community and the women I support. So my personal mission statement is: I want to share kindness, love, empathy and compassion with my family, partner, community and the women I support in my work. To be able to share these core values through the experiences of adventures both within my family and professionally would be the greatest expression of my purpose.
Don’t worry if you are not completely sure about your mission yet, or wondering if it is a lifelong contract. You can adjust your purpose anytime you feel the need to. It is a compass, a direction for setting your sail, rather than a set of railroad tracks. You can always charter a new course.
2. Post your Mission statement in a prominent place.
Read it in the morning before you start your day. Then throughout your day, as you engage in different conversations, interactions and activities, ask yourself, in this moment am I in alignment with my purpose? At the end of the day, reflect back. Did you live up to your core values? Did you share your time with the people that matter? Did you bring your desires into your day or did you make progress towards attaining your desires? Then consider what you could do differently the next day. This is not about judging yourself, but merely just adjusting your sails.
3. Support your mission
Create a lifestyle that supports your intention. It is all too easy to get sidetracked by facebook, TV, and unhealthy lifestyle habits that will lead to lack of energy and motivation. Here are some ways to support yourself in living your purpose. Commit to eating healthy. Lack of healthy nutrition leaves us feeling tired and depleted. Your mission requires energy. Exercise! It is one of life’s tricks to think that exercise will make us tired. Moving our bodies raises our vibrations and increases our energy levels. The more active you become, the more energy you will have. Meditate. It doesn’t matter which school of meditation you pick, the goal is to slow down the constant mind chatter to bring more clarity to your life and decisions. Get plenty of sleep. Most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep at night. Lack of sleep can lead to over eating, lack of motivation and even depression. Create an environment in your bedroom that is conducive to sleeping by removing electronics from the room and turning the thermostat down a little bit.
By following these guidelines you will shift your thinking from “I should…” to “I want to support my purpose”. It is an important shift to make in living a life that is more aligned with where you want to be headed. As with sailing, you can start fresh each day. You have the power to set a new course and adjust your sails accordingly each and every moment. As long as you have a compass that points you in the direction of your intention, you will arrive at your destination.