One of the worst parts of my corporate career was all of the meetings: Monday meetings, mid-week check-ins, mandatory all-hands meetings, quarterly reviews. Meetings about external meetings. It never ended!
As a rebel personality type, it was hard for me to just attend each one without questioning what it was for (and if it was worth investing my sweet time). Because most meetings could be summed up in a two-sentence email, am I right?
I started asking, “What’s the intention for this meeting?” when I received invites. And I was surprised that often there wasn’t one, there was a lame one (“that’s just a staple meeting here!”), or if there was meant to be an intention of some kind, no one knew how to define it clearly. On those occasions, I skipped out!
It’s a great question that can be applied to more than stuffy meetings: What is the intention behind this? Here’s how you can apply this to more intentional living. Ask yourself:
1. What’s the intention behind my workout?
Do you work out because you like or hate your body? I guarantee a workout fueled by appreciation will not only be more impactful but joyful—and you’ll be far more likely to repeat it. Do you work out to look good in jeans, keep your blood pressure in check, and sleep well at night? And because your body has taken such great care of you all of these years and you want to repay the love? Nice! Great intention.
Or do you work out because that’s what everyone else seems to do, you don’t like the mirror, and you drift from exercise trend to exercise trend? Have a guess which intention is more likely to inspire you to hit that 7 a.m. yoga class versus landing another cancellation fee.
2. What’s the intention in this friendship?
Is your goal to elevate, enjoy intimate moments, and bring laughter? Or is it not to offend her by hanging out every weekend because she’s sensitive and will rant otherwise? Is your intention stimulated by joy and a sincere desire of closeness? Or are you connected via a weird, old sense of loyalty?
Your positive intention is best for both parties (even if it doesn’t seem that way right now). The best relationships are powered by the purest and most loving intentions.
3. What’s my intention behind my career?
Are you fulfilling your life’s work? Are you obeying your calling? Are you using your talents to add value to this world and make a lasting, meaningful impact? Are you regret-proofing your life by not holding back and giving your job your all?
Some of us are in a position where we need to focus (at least for the time being) on some pretty important, low-key amazing stuff, like paying off debt and putting a roof over our own heads (or those of our families). But if you’re more financially comfortable than that and have gotten complacent simply working a job your parents like, or you’re just taking up space in an office because hey—that seems like a legit life, then it’s time to reconsider.
Maybe you’re working to pay your living costs but moonlight at night with a rad side hustle that elevates you. Your paycheck intention is clear: You’re your own patron until you can do what you want to do full-time (shout-out to my side hustlers—I was right there with ya once)! The intention that fires up your work is a huge factor in your overall life satisfaction. If you don’t like your current intention, ask: What’s missing? Then go find it!
Intention breeds clarity, whether it’s from a big question, like “What’s the intention driving this big decision to move cities or get a divorce?” to trivial stuff: “What’s my intention in making this phone call or giving this gift?” Clarity is the key to creating the life and getting the results that you want. You’re not a plastic bag drifting through the wind, you’re a human being with a limited life capacity and choices to make. And when you own your intentions, you own your life.
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!