Intentionality and purposefulness are very intriguing to me. It’s become trendy to talk about a purposeful life and living with intentional goals in mind. However, we frequently confuse results and outcomes with the essential behaviors necessary to reach this admirable goal.
In our work, we are often contracted by individuals and groups who want to make a difference. They either want less bad stuff or more good stuff. For example, many communities want to lower their school dropout rate and raise their graduation rate. By impacting these numbers, either higher or lower, they believe, rightly so, that they would positively improve their community. What they seek is a result or an outcome—but a result or an outcome of what? What actions does one need to embark upon to achieve such aspirations?
We refer to these needed actions as essential behaviors. Continuing with the above example, essential behaviors could include the following: provision of academic support; an environment conducive for study; a regular pattern of attendance; sufficient resources; and, an expectant attitude of success.
To expand on this desire to live a life with purposefulness or intentionality, including the most recent version of this theme, mindfulness, the following essential behaviors are not exclusive or complete, but a start:
*Be fully engaged with what is happening now;
*Say Yes to more opportunities—say No less often;
*Be excessively grateful each day for your blessings;
*Appreciate your relationships and work tirelessly to nurture them;
*Learn something new every day—challenge your comfort zone;
*Be slower to judge and quicker to try and understand.
Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish! (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)