Living intentionally is a pretty big deal to me and in general, I think I’ve got it down – at least where my morning ritual is concerned. Every morning I wake up, grab my beverage of choice (hot, blended coffee goodness!) and sit in my corner chair. It’s by the window and I love seeing the light through the blinds as the sun comes up. I carve out this time every day because it allows me to start my day off with stillness and space for gratitude. It’s an amazing way to slowly meet my day. I am wired for sound every other second of the day so this is the only time I allow myself to just “be.”
This morning ritual has given me a moment each day to reflect on the things that are happening in my world and the world at large. 2020 has been a doozie, filled with lots of loss. It might have been a loved one, a job, loss of time with friends and family, hugs, toiletries, favorite foods and so much more. The amount of stress and fear due to the political and civil unrest we’ve experienced has kept our cortisol levels at an all time high. But out of all of this, a major underlying theme keeps coming up for me; the idea of living intentionally in every area of my life – not just the first hour of my day.
At some point in the last 10 years or so, I heard the phrase Living Intentionally for Excellence. It resonated so much that I quickly adopted it as my own mantra. It gave me something to go back to if I lost my way. Right now, that phrase has risen up like a phoenix out of the ashes of 2020. And, it’s screaming at me like a blinking neon sign saying: LIFE IS SHORT!
You get one shot.
We know this is true but it’s not always the driving force for how we choose to live our lives. But, what if it was? What if today you took a moment to think about living intentionally. We all have different goals, dreams, and even life purpose, so your ideas will be different than mine. And that’s ok. That’s actually the exciting part – that what I want out of life doesn’t have to look like what you want.
My passion, my purpose and my mission in life is to create connection and community in the workplace. For me, it’s this idea that we all have moments where we don’t feel we belong, we just don’t quite “get” some of the people we work with… or even worse, feel like they just don’t “get” us. That’s why I do what I do. I truly believe that when we can better understand ourselves, and then understand the personalities of the people we work with day in and day out (even remotely!), we can better understand how we’re perceived by others. This allows us to better understand what those around us need.
And, honestly, when you take the time to fill a need for someone else it feels really good. So, how can you begin to live intentionally and get this year started off right? Here are my top 3 suggestions:
Make a Difference – Even If For Just One Person
Sometimes fear keeps us from choosing to act. We’re worried what someone else might think or how they’ll respond to us. I’m going to challenge you to shift that thinking. Today is the day to put those fears aside and go touch someone else’s life in a positive way.
We all have our gifts and this is the perfect opportunity to use them. You never know when giving someone even a small piece of that gift is the thing they need today. It might even change the trajectory of their life. Have you ever said hello to someone in passing and noticed a look of surprise cross their face? They may not have responded quickly or at all because they were surprised that you acknowledged them at all. Well, I have. When I slowed down enough to actually notice people’s responses, it made me want to do it more. I thought, what if I’m the only one who has gone out of my way to say hello today?? Wouldn’t it feel good to be the one person that helped them to feel seen?
COVID has allowed us to hide behind the masks we now have to wear. This doesn’t mean that we don’t matter, that we can’t be seen, and that we don’t have to be polite. So put yourself out there and make a difference in someone else’s life. And know that the ripple effect in the world at large because of that tiny little difference is exponential.
Bring a Different Person To The Table
We’re all wired according to our different personalities, upbringing and life experiences. This means we all have different emotional needs in any given situation. Do you ever struggle to make yourself heard, get your point across, or feel valued on the team? Consider showing up the way other’s need you to, rather than how you’re used to being. You don’t have to give up being you – you just need to consider how they need to hear the message.
Do you have a Dominant personality and are therefore “passionate” when explaining your ideas? Or, are you a Steady who likes to take time to process things and then come back with a thoughtful response? Maybe you are an Influencer who feels like no one is taking you seriously. Or possibly a Conscientious, and people tend to think you’re TOO serious. All personality types come with their own emotional needs, so take time to figure out what your fellow employee’s needs are. Then you’ll be able to communicate with them in the way they need. It’s not always about the messenger; it’s that every personality has different needs in how they hear the message. Making the effort to show up a little differently so others see and hear you differently is a step in the right direction toward living intentionally.
Step It Up
In this great big world of ours, there is a never ending list of things that could be done. More often than not, we tell ourselves we’re too busy to help. Granted, signing up for a long term commitment with a charity, church or your kids’ school may not be possible. So choose to live intentionally by stepping up in smaller ways.
For example, remote work doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you’ve figured it out, offer to help those that haven’t by giving guidance on their own remote setup. You can also mentor a newbie as they’re being onboarded if there isn’t already a mentor program. Starting a new job can be daunting. This is especially true when adding the extra layer of not being able to get to know your colleagues in person. Taking the time to offer your knowledge and friendship will do a lot to help a new coworker settle in quickly. It will also help them feel like they’re a valuable part of the team.
Another, extremely impactful way to step up is to stand up for what’s right, even if you’re the only one willing to do so. It’s not the easiest thing on this list but it just may be the most impactful. If you find yourself in a conflict or a heated discussion with a coworker, be the first to say, “this is obviously not headed in a good direction for either of us. Can we take a break and try again when we’ve had some time to calm down.?” Then take the time to do that and evaluate your role in the situation.
Lead in your WHOLE life
I know that many of us ran screaming out of 2020, hoping to experience a whole new world when we crossed the midnight line in 2021. But, REALITY CHECK: We’re still us. COVID is still a thing. We still have to get up every day and do our job – whether that means masking up and meeting the public or pjs on bottom, business attire on top! This year will be full of twists and turns that will challenge us, but it’ll also bring lots of opportunities. Look for those silver linings because that is where we have the opportunity to shine. Those are the moments we get to live intentionally.
Go be a force for good – at home, at work and at play. Today is the day!
P.S. Brilliant People specializes in helping teams and organizations develop soft skills like those listed above: empathy, collaboration, communication, and leadership. Call us today to start down the path of living intentionally at work.
This post was originally published in December 30, 2017.
Amazing stuff Whitney. So much of this resonates with me as I am on a similar quest of intentional (and more simple) living while tuning into my true self. Thanks for the inspiring words. Keep them coming.
Thanks, Alissa! It’s nice to hear I’m not alone in my thoughts and my mission for living intentionally. 🙂