Are You Intentional by Choice or Necessity?
“An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing. An intentional life embraces only the things that will add to the mission of significance.”
- John C. Maxwell
As I understand it being intentional means living a proactive lifestyle of significant positive influence in the lives of others, preparing for daily activities with specific future objectives in mind.
I set my daily schedule according to my short-term and long-term goals, governed by my life’s purpose. I know where I’m going and why; my purpose includes developing my heart, mind, and body. My attention on total health and well-being is to multiply value to others to become influential change agents in the world around them; This hasn’t always been the case with me.
Intentional By Necessity
My wife and I have been together since we were teenagers, and by age twenty-two, I’m not earning enough to support my wife a child, and an infant adequately. Before I knew anything about intentionality, I exercised it out of necessity.
I usually live a simple, even-paced lifestyle taking decisive action when necessary. I was intentional only when choosing what I needed to do immediately. My thoughts were to make the best of my circumstances rather than playing the victim of them.
I can say my decisions at the time were focused, purposeful, and driven by a vision of successfully providing for my family. I worked six twelve-hour days with the hope of finding something better; I knew nothing of playing to my strengths, much less doing so intentionally. In retrospect, I honestly was being intentional out of necessity rather than by design.
Intentional By Choice
Izey Victoria Odiase wisely states, “Work on Purpose, Play on Purpose, Rest on Purpose. Do not let yourself or anyone else waste your time.” It would be another three years before I seriously considered a vision for my future and purposely developed my gifts and talents to realize it.
By the early 1980’s I was choosing management positions, developing leadership and relational skills purposefully. I became more intentional with the people I surrounded myself with and the books I decided to read. I was intentional with my schedule, relationships, and calendar purposefully remaining in my strengths for the first time.
For more than 35 years, My career focus has been serving others, serving New York City and beyond through Business, Ministry, Civil Service, Counselling, Coaching, Speaking, Teaching, and Writing, all of which are intentional by choice.
In his book 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell writes, “If you have dreams, goals, or aspirations, you need to grow to achieve them. But if you’re like I was – and if you are like most people – you have one or more mistaken beliefs that create a gap that keeps you from growing and reaching your potential.
Decide where you need to grow and intentionally plan how you are going to learn lessons to get there. Being disciplined in your growth process is imperative to help you not get stuck in the lie of “I don’t know how to grow.”
“I don’t know anyone who thinks growth comes quickly and climbing to the top is easy.” Don’t be surprised when growth gets difficult at times. But with the right mindset, determination, and an action plan, you can succeed despite all odds.
“When Curt suggested I needed to be intentional about growing, I had thousands of reasons not to do it. I didn’t have the time, the money, the experience, and so on. I had only one reason to do it. I believed I should do it because I hoped it would make a difference.”
Intentionality with growth does make a difference. A little bit of growth each day lends to a lot of growth after 12 months. At the end of the year, you will be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.” (1)
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1) The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell