Intentionality. I regularly remind myself that I do not want to live a life that’s propelled by random acts, engagement with today’s tyranny of the urgent, or response to the ebb and flow of my work. I want to live intentionally, and the only way to live intentionally is to be intentional.
How about you? Are you drifting through life or are you intentionally living a life of intentionality? Are you mindfully appreciating the moment you’re in? Or are you driving down the highway of your life at finding yourself at an exit ramp, thinking, “How in tarnation (because you talk like someone from a 1960s sitcom) did I get here?”
We humans take life for granted. We need only to break a leg to appreciate the gift of mobility, the gift of walking painlessly. When the cast comes off, you might appreciate walking, mindful that walking is a gift. We walk with intentionality . . . we notice it, we appreciate it. A few weeks later we forget it’s a miracle that we can bound up a flight of stairs.
I’ve learned these lessons the hard way. I’ve broken my leg, and even more difficult, I went through a divorce. As a divorced parent of two boys – one 13 at the time and the other 9 – my fatherhood paradigm was rocked.
Pre-divorce, I was a busy, uber-important, mission-critical, business schmuck, who also had kids. I was a business guy first and a dad second. I took my role as a father for granted. I’d work late and think, “It’s okay, I’ll see them tomorrow.” I was too deep in the weeds of life to be mindful of my time with them.
That all changed after the divorce. At that moment fatherhood became all about intentionality. When it became clear I wouldn’t see my sons each morning – put them to bed every night, walk into their room while they were sleeping, and listen reassuringly to their breathing… when my time with them became limited – I turned to intentionality.
It took divorce and separation from my kids for me to become an intentional father. That’s when I realized stuff didn’t just happen unless you made it happen. So I planned; I scheduled; I showed up, I was present, and I savored every moment.
Now I look at these young men, and I’m thankful that I was slapped in the face. I’m thankful that I lived an intentional life with them. My relationship with my sons is unusually close today. It shouldn’t take a divorce to unscrew-up one’s priorities.
Now I’m not recommending divorce. I’m recommending a cold-water-splash-in-the-face, wake-up call. Be intentional and mindful of your life with your children. Don’t wake up when they’ve left the house to live their lives and ask yourself, “Where did the time go?”
Where Else Are You Living an Unintentional Life?
It is not uncommon for leaders to take their teams for granted. To forget the value of giving time, of showing interest, and engaging.
Unintentional leaders get the culture they deserve. Leaders are constantly being watched, judged, evaluated by the team. You must model behavior that shows a high level of engagement:
- Give your people the time they deserve.
- Talk with your people — not at them.
- Don’t undercut your level of trust, engagement, and dedication.
- Schedule walking around time.
- And don’t fake it because if you’re faking it, you’re not a leader; you’re a pretender.
Intentionality for leaders is all about intentionally being present and setting an intentional example of trusted leadership. Leaders get the culture they tolerate and deserve. Intentional leaders drive a culture of high performance.
Is There Anywhere Else Intentionality Matters?
Yes! It matters with:
- Your spouse, partner, significant other, or spousal-equivalent (did I miss anyone?). Turn off the radio, put away the phone, talk, BE PRESENT, enjoy.
- Your friends
Be intentional. Live a life of intentionality.
If you are interested in intentionality, get yourself an accountability partner. Someone who will drag you out of the weeds of the business on a regular basis to be more intentional – for your business, for your family, and for your life.
Want to be more intentional? Make an appointment with a coach who will challenge you and hold you accountable to that end. To schedule a complimentary, no commitment, online coaching session with me,