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The Importance of Being Intentional

by Mark Guterman

Photo of positive office workers“Like attracts like!”
“Whatever you can dream of can be yours.”
“You attract into your life whatever you think about.”

Millions of people embrace this “law of attraction” in the hopes of getting what they want. Popularized by Rhonda Byrne’s best-selling book, The Secret, the law of attraction is a compelling concept that says, in effect, when you put out clear energy for what you wish, you will get what you want.

This is a very appealing idea, but if getting what we wanted were as simple as that, many more of us would be well on our way to having the work and lives we dream about. Alas, when it comes to a meaningful work life, it’s just not that easy.

For the law of attraction to bear fruit, you need more than positive thoughts. You need to understand where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. This requires “intentionality.”

More active and implying a fully responsible and disciplined approach to getting what we want, intentionality guides us toward our goals by helping us to choose the stance that will be most effective at any given moment. It is, in effect, the law of attraction in action.

Intentionality is critical to finding meaningful work. Far too many of us lead worklives driven by happenstance, taking advantage of whatever comes our way, hoping for the best. But hope is a poor substitute for intentionality.

Getting what we want requires a more disciplined approach, one which manifests in the way we show up and take a stance toward our work. It is characterized by three practices:

  • Mindfulness: Taking responsibility for one’s choices and being alert to seen and unforeseen opportunities.
  • Keeping a Positive Attitude: Believing and trusting in a future filled with unlimited and realistic possibilities.
  • Holding a Sense of Perspective: Appreciating, owning, and leveraging one’s history and life circumstances when moving forward.

Being intentional about your decisions and actions will separate you from the millions who just go through the motions of life every day wishing their lives were different but unwilling to do anything about it. Here are a few suggestions for getting started:

  • Clarify your core values for your work and life.
  • Visualize what your want for your future.
  • Align your values with your vision.
  • Articulate some goals that will help move you toward your vision.
  • Develop a regular habit of meditation, prayer, or journaling.
  • Reframe your thoughts whenever you catch yourself being negative or pessimistic.
  • Explore your attitude by imagining what trusted others would say to you if you asked them to tell you the truth.
  • Dig into your personal, family, and cultural history to discover the deeper lessons that can carry you into the future.
  • Recognize and act upon opportunities that move you toward your vision.

Remember that change is inevitable … but growth is intentional. Without a clear destination, driven by intentionality, the law of attraction is merely wishful thinking. In the words of Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

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