What is Intention?
“Intention is one with cause and effect. Intention determines outcome. And if you’re stuck and not moving forward, you have to check the thought and the action that created the circumstance.” - Oprah
I believe that setting an intention is one of the most valuable tools for living a purposeful life. Setting intention means that you are making a conscious decision to know what you are hoping to achieve with each decision and action. Knowing your intention is the motivation to get started, even when it feels hard. Intention orientates your actions and decisions and fuels you to stay motivated. When you align your actions with what you really want and your truest intention, you are empowering yourself to navigate life with conscious decision making.
In the 4th year of running our own business we photographed 38 weddings and 30 portrait sessions in 6 months. We were striving to build our business and we said yes to everything because we thought that was the only way to run a successful photography business.
It turns out when we said YES to everything, we were in actuality saying NO to a lot of important things, including ourselves and soon we were showing symptoms of classic burn out. We decided there had to be another way, (the good news is, there is!) We embarked on a self-exploration journey into minimalism and getting rid of things that didn’t bring us joy. We said no to *almost* everything that didn’t serve us and by learning what we didn’t want, we were able to discover what we DID WANT, and more importantly, the WHY behind our dreams and goals.
Once we understood our why, we empowered ourselves to set boundaries in our business and navigate our own path with conscious decision making by aligning our actions to our intention. We were able to decide what running a successful photography business looked like on our own terms and no longer based our decisions on a model that just didn't work for us. .
Whether you work for yourself or not, you always get to choose your why behind what you are doing.
If you're feeling out of alignment, check in with yourself and ask, "how have my thoughts and actions led me to here? Are they aligned with my truest intention? And if not, what are some action steps that I can take today, this week, this month, or this year that can help align me with my deepest why?"
Setting your intention before you start any project, make a choice, or begin something new will help keep you motivated and on your aligned path during the journey. When circumstances feel tough, or you are unsure of which way to go, come back to your intention. Ask yourself, "what is my truest intention?" That is where you can find the strength to move forward or the answer on whether to turn in a different direction if needed.
Try this: Before you go to bed, write out what your intention is for how you'd like to start your morning. Perhaps your intention is to have some moments of peace before you start your day. What actions do you need to take to live out that intention? Perhaps it's as simple of an action as not checking your phone before 9am because that will allow you the peace and quiet you intend. Perhaps it's as simple as waking up 20 minutes earlier to just watch the sun rise and enjoy some time in reflective solitude. Perhaps it's waking up and allowing the first moments and thoughts to be that of gratitude and letting go of the worry that tries to creep in. Perhaps it's choosing not to complain when you otherwise would. Perhaps it's taking a 5 minute morning walk around the block. It doesn't have to be fancy, big or overthought. It can be simple, small actions that align you with your intention. Don't be afraid to start to align your actions with your intention with small beginnings.
I wrote a separate blog post on small beginnings that you can check out here.
Do you need a little inspiration for getting started on how to set intentions and align your actions & decisions to reach them? I offer a complimentary discovery call to help you kickstart creating your life intentionally, as well as coaching packages to help keep you accountable. I would be so honored to hear from you, and help you learn more!