My intentions have slowly started to fall off the wall. I had seven pretty 4×6 colored cards up, listing my intentions for different areas of my life. I haven’t updated them in a few years, and apparently “the universe” has decided to prod me along a bit.
The ones that still inspire me stayed up. The ones that are lacking a certain fiery juiciness have started drifting down at random times – small reminders that I’m forever changing and my intentions need to change right along with me.
As the theme this month is intention, it feels like a perfect time to revamp my own intentions and invite you to play with along with me. This is the first of a four-part series in creating intentions around the major areas of your life.
First – why is intention important? There are many, many quotes about the tiniest of actions being better than the grandest intentions, and in some ways I agree with them. If you only have intention with no action, there’s not much point.
However, I think there is just as good of a case for having action with no intention – without a guiding reason as to why you are taking action, you’re not really creating anything meaningful. Ideally, you need both action and intention to create anything meaningful.
Inner Feng Shui Coach Vicky White taught me the art of creating powerful intentions in a year-long coaching program, and fell in love with the process. The idea is to write an intention for an area of your life, beginning with the words “I am in the process of…” and then listing your intention.
For example, one of mine that is still happily sticking is “I am in the process of creating a vibrant, adventurous, spirit-led life that supports my radiant health and ever-expanding capacity for physical pleasure.”
That still feels very juicy to me.
An example of one that fell down: “I am in the process of attracting my tribe of authentic, joyful friends who live fully and relish the journey together.”
When I look at that now, it doesn’t feel exciting in any way, because I already did that. In the time since I wrote that intention, my tribe showed up and we are relishing the journey together. Now that we’re connected, I’m a little bit impressed with my intention-setting skills. At the time I wrote the intention, most of my close friendships had started drifting as we all moved towards different things in our lives and I felt pretty alone.
I didn’t take that many actions towards attracting my tribe – but I did use that intention as a guiding principle for what I would choose to do. Should I take the risk and go on a mini-trip with people I barely know but think might be part of my tribe? My answer without the intention – no way. My answer with it – okay, let’s try this, just in case.
In the upcoming weeks, we’re going to be crafting intentions in detail for three areas that affect pretty much everyone – finances, health, and relationships. Today, we’re going to walk through the basic process of creating powerful intentions so you can stat to get a feel for what this is like.
Step #1: Pick a Focus Area
This could be any element of your life – here’s some common ones:
*Volunteering/being of service
*Home (decorating, cleanliness, upgrades)
*Relationships (love, children, family, friends, extended circles)
For our purposes, I’m going to craft a revised intention around this tribe of authentic, joyful friends.
Step#2: Name Your Ideal Outcome
List the outcome that you would really love in this area of your life. For example, if you picked wardrobe, your outcome might be a closet full of outfits that you love, all of which look great on you. Dream as big as you can for this entire exercise. This is brainstorming, list out whatever outcomes you dream up – we’ll refine later.
For my example:
I want my tribe of authentic joyful friends to use our connection as a group to positively impact the world both collectively and individually.
Step #3: List Things You’d Like to Experience along the Way
These are the things that you would love to experience as you move towards this outcome. In the wardrobe example, it might be hours of delightful shopping with girlfriends, learning to sew, or hiring a designer or color specialist. Again, just throw it all down, we’ll refine in a future step. And again f it sounds a little out there and impossible, even better. Write it down anyway.
For my example:
I want to experience group retreats, extended family get-togethers, book tour stops, energetic meetups, activation calls, cheering on individuals making things happen, hosting fundraisers for causes.
Step #4: Decide How You Want the Experience/Process to Feel
As this intention starts to become true, how does it feel? How do you want to feel as you strive to make it a reality in your life? For our wardrobe example, you might want to feel beautiful, sassy, fun and pampered.
For my example:
I want the experience to feel joyful, fun, magical, adventurous, easy, and powerful.
Step #5: Write Your ‘Shitty First Draft’ (SFD)
Thank you, Anne Lamott, for this brilliant strategy. The famed author and writing teacher recommends putting together a first draft that you already know will be a piece of crap. We’re taking her advice here, and just mashing together your favorite elements preceded by some version of “I am in the process of…”
Here’s our SFD for the wardrobe: I am in the process of learning to sew a closet full of outfits that I love, all of which look great on me and make me feel sassy, beautiful, fun and pampered.
For my example:
I am in the process of easily harnessing our magical, powerful group energy to joyfully create positive impact the world collectively and individually though activation calls, energetic meetups, book tour cheering sections, extended family get-togethers, fun fundraising and adventurous group retreats.
Step #6: Refine it to the Essence
Rewrite your intention to include only the fundamentals of what you intend. This is the time where you might leave out some of the “along the way” experiences or refine your outcome. This is often where things “click” into the essence of what you truly want.
Here’s our refined version for the wardrobe: I am in the process of learning to sew a fun, beautiful wardrobe that I love, which looks great on me and makes me feel sassy and pampered.
For my example:
(In doing this, I realized this needs to be a group exercise for me, as it needs to be collectively created and start with “We are in the process” – I’m going to keep going, refining for my ideal vision, but I know it will be far more powerful when done as a group.)
We are in the process of easily harnessing our powerful group energy to joyfully create positive impact in the world, sharing the magical gift we’ve been given with others, using it to uplift as many as we can.
Step #7: Make it Juicy
Vicky’s test on whether the intention was finished was, “does it make you want to leap out of bed in the morning?” If yes, you’re done. If no, it needs some revision.
It might be that some element needs to change, or some part feels a little unexciting. Keep playing with it until you find a version that is so exciting you can’t wait to get started.
Here’s a potentially juicy version for the wardrobe: I am in the process of creating a beautiful wardrobe that highlights my beauty and sass, custom created with fun and ease by my own creativity.
For my example:
We are in the process of joyfully expanding our powerful group energy to create ease and magic in the lives of all we touch.
Don’t worry about grammar or eloquence – the test is only if it lights you up. Once it does, you have your intention – congratulations!
Make it even more powerful – share an version of it (even the SFD) here with us by leaving a comment and letting us in on what you intend for your world.