Intentionality

Are You Choosing to be Intentional or Leaving Your Legacy to Chance?

Intentionality. It’s something I talk, write, and coach about a lot. Chances are, if you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you have heard this before. So why am I writing about it again? Because primarily, I think it is an evergreen message, and secondarily it is a message that can be relearned daily. 

Whether you know it or not, you are making an influence in the world. When we talk about people who make an influence or who we call an influencer, we think in grandiose terms. But the truth is, we all make a difference and have influence over other people. This week I want to coach you in writing to recognize it and to turn it more positively intentionally. 

What do You Really Think When You Capture Your Innermost Thoughts?

I heard someone say over the weekend that the average person has around 6,000 thoughts every day. My immediate thought was, “Is that all?” Allow me to explain. I have been working all year on developing the habits I need to get thoughts out of my head and become better at living from my heart. If you are a person who thinks a lot and doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with others, like me, you know what I mean.

My wife, on the other hand, does not understand. She is very expressive and verbose and likes to discuss the twelve possible solutions to any of our current challenges, such as where to go for dinner. It makes for some frustrating interactions. Thus, my need (after over 30 years of marriage) to adjust and become more expressive.

Here is the bad news about the 6,000 thoughts that I heard. Of the 6,000 thoughts that people have each day, 4,800 of them are negative. In other words, 80% of the thoughts most people think each day are negative, and only 1,200 (or 20%) are positive. The good news is that every one of us has the ability to change our thinking. 

I am certainly not a psychologist, nor am I learned in the ways the mind works. I do know, however, things that you and I can do to help train our minds to develop the habits we need to begin thinking more positively. Like any other purpose-producing activity, developing positive habits is simple, but it’s not easy. It requires daily commitment and daily improvement. But the one thing I do know about our minds is that we can train them to do, learn, or aspire to almost anything.

As my friend Tom Ziglar says, “What you feed your mind determines your appetite.” It works both ways, of course, and our mental diet is no different than our physical diet. The more junk we eat, or the more junk we allow into our mind, the more our appetite for junk increases. And the more our desire for the “good stuff” decreases. Fortunately, this theory also works just like the good, the positive, and the powerful. Develop a diet of the things that build you up physically or mentally, and your body and mind will crave more and more.

I can’t help thinking (pun intended) about a verse from the Bible authored by the Apostle Paul which encourages us “to take every thought captive.” Initially, this may seem like a silly, if not impossible, idea. But I believe it is the beginning of starting your positive mental diet. Simply stated, I believe taking every thought captive means gaining control over what you think about yourself and your life. 

If you think about it (ok, I promise that’s the last bad dad joke), you have experienced this phenomenon your whole life. As a kid, if you watched a scary movie before bed, you likely had nightmares or woke up screaming and crying because of the images and messages you allowed into your mind. It plays out in situations throughout our life. How many times have you thought to yourself, ” don’t do this,” and that’s exactly what you end up doing?

As an avid golfer, I live this every time I play. I am looking at a shot to my target on the green with the innocuous flag flapping in the wind to show me my target. But where does my focus go to immediately? The water I have to hit the ball over to get to my target. In closing, allow me to suggest a few ideas to take your thoughts captive to get you over your water and aiming towards your targets.

First, evaluate what you are feeding your mind. What are you watching, reading, and listening to? I cannot emphasize enough the importance of feeding your mind the best. If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t. Don’t gloss over that last sentence. It is profoundly true. Therefore, consider what influence your inputs are having on your mindset.

Next, I cannot encourage you enough to begin practicing and perfecting the habit of journaling. I prefer good old pen and paper because I believe that when you are physically writing something on paper, it leaves a much greater subconscious impact than typing something into a computer or telephone. Whether you agree or not, don’t make it an excuse not to start. It is like exercising. You are not going to run a marathon on your first day jogging. Just start and build up to proficiency. Your first efforts will be your worst, but they will improve the longer you commit to doing it.

Finally,  I am going to suggest that you pray and/or meditate daily. Of course, as a Christian, I would encourage you to focus on the Word and the promises of God. They are vast, and they are amazing! But certainly, you do not have to be a Christian or a person of faith at all to take time to think and focus on the positives and the things you have to be grateful for in your life. I cannot recommend a better tool to improve your mindset than thinking about, praying, and then expressing gratitude. 

I would love to hear your thoughts (sorry, I couldn’t resist) on how you begin to take your thoughts captive. It is a daily endeavor that won’t be perfect, but it can perfectly begin to change the way you think. And once you begin to do that, the changes you can make within yourself, your family, and your community are as profound as your thoughts.

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Inspiration vs. Intentionality. When the Going Gets Tough, Which Will Prevail?

Unless this is the first time you have read one of my blog posts or consumed any of my content, chances are you know I am a positive, glass half–full kind of guy. If that has somehow eluded you, let me say that my mission is to inspire you to develop your God-given abilities to become the best version of yourself that you can be.

Last week, I had an interesting conversation with one of the people I am privileged to coach. I am not quoting him verbatim, but essentially what he said was, “We can’t be motivated all the time, so when we don’t feel motivated, we have to have a plan.” When he first said it, I almost dismissed it because it seemed so simple. However, the more I think around it, the more I recognize great wisdom in his message.

Does Your Life Highway See Only Mile Markers or Guarantee Focus on Milestones?

This is an unplanned second installment of a personal memoir that I began in last week’s post. I am writing to you, my friend, but at the same time, I am writing to myself. I know you will benefit from it for the same reasons that I am benefitting from it. As I learn to live more authentically as the person I believe God created me to be; I hope to help you do the same.

This week, I want to talk metaphorically about driving slower through life. This sounds easy, but I can tell you for me, and for just about everyone that I have the pleasure of interacting with, it is not. In fact, I spent most, if not all, of my adult life speeding through one thing after another. Granted, I checked a lot of things off of my “To-Do List,” but I stunk at taking time to check out my surroundings. 

Abundance and Importance Versus a Scarcity Mindset and Urgent

As we settle into the new year, I want to encourage you this week to continue to keep at the forefront of your mind those ideas, dreams, and goals you started the year with. Many people who are not reading this article and are not focused on becoming the best versions of themselves have already long forgotten all of the things they said they were going to do this year.

This brings me to my first encouragement for you in this post. Ideas are just dreams until they’re written down. If you haven’t already, it’s never too late to start but wherever you fall here, get your dreams, visions, ideas, goals, and any and everything else you want to accomplish down on paper. Got it? Good.

You Will Leave a Legacy. How Impactful Will it be?

This is the third in our three-part series, discussing your success, your significance, and your legacy. After learning how to individually define your success, then transitioning to a higher level of significance, this week we explore the ultimate goal of leaving a legacy.

First, a challenging question. Are you leaving a legacy? The answer to the question is, yes, you are. Whether you create your legacy intentionally or whether you allow it to occur by happenstance, indeed you cannot escape the legacy you will leave. So the next, and more important question is; are you proud of the legacy you’re leaving? Therein lies our opportunity ro create a meaningful heritage that will have immediate as well as long-lasting impact.