Rather than developing a New Year’s resolution, I decided to choose a vision for the year based on one word: intention. This year, I made a commitment to myself to live every day with intention. Every moment of each day is a choice, and I want to mindfully direct my actions with my goals, beliefs, and dreams serving as the compass for each decision I make. Every day, I want to intentionally choose how I spend my time, how I exert my energy, how I focus my thoughts, and the environment that I create to surround me. With my intentions driving my actions, I believe I can maximize my opportunities and have the greatest impact. The idea of living with intention will be the anchor that steadies my focus on being purposeful and mindful in all aspects of life, particularly in my role as an educational leader.
In order to fully develop my understanding of intention, I read books and blogs, listened to podcasts, and collected quotes. All of the thinkers I examined shared similar beliefs that intention is about knowing who we are, assessing the culture around us, and making choices. Being intentional is living the life you were born to live, finding your passion, setting goals, staying focused, and learning from other people. It is apparent that intention extends into all facets of life from personal to professional, which is how I intend (pun intended) to apply what I discovered about intention in the various roles of my life.
Intention is very spiritual. It helps you discover your true character and find ways to develop yourself to your greatest potential. Setting intention is quite different than goal making. It is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are being in the present moment. Your attention is on the here and now in the rapidly changing course of your life. You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values.
Intention is about being creative and abundant. Most people view intention as having determination or strong will or control, but it is more about having the power to create and tap into unlimited abundance. According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, author of The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way, intention is a source of energy that lives within each of us. He feels that intent is inspiration, “when an idea gets hold of you and you feel compelled to let that impulse or energy carry you along.” Great musicians, writers, athletes, and artists tap into that source. “When you’re connected to the power of intention, everywhere you go, and everyone you meet, is affected by you and the energy you radiate. As you become the power of intention, you’ll see your dreams being fulfilled almost magically, and you’ll see yourself creating huge ripples in the energy fields of others by your presence and nothing more.”
Intention is about getting results. According to Dr. Mindy Hall, author of Leading with Intention, “Every interaction—whether presenting to an entire organization or talking one-on-one with a colleague—is an opportunity to influence and inspire others to achieve extraordinary results”. She feels that your ability to do that depends on how aware you are of your impact and the care and discipline with which you choose your actions.
As an elementary principal, I want to be more aware of myself in each moment and truly understand how my choices and actions are impacting my students, my staff, parents, and the greater school community. Throughout the day, I need to see myself from the perspective of those I serve. Am I coming across as being grounded, prepared, transparent, approachable, and competent? Am I contributing and making a difference through my deliberate choices? Are my beliefs and values about children, teaching, and learning reflected and executed through my actions? Am I consistent in my efforts?
Four days into 2016, and I have awakened each day and asked myself, “How am I going to make this day great and engage in every moment?” Each day, the answer to that question has been grounded in intention.
Happy New Year!