The CV19 pandemic re-introduced me to jogging as a physical activity. I literally went from almost nothing miles to 433 miles in 2020 and then onto 1665 miles in 2021. In fact, I think I ran close to 500 miles bare feet within my apartment in 2021 – no, not on a treadmill, just back and forth from the living room to the dining room, a mind boggling 0.01 miles one way. I have actually run several 10Ks that way.
What does that have to do with Intention, you maniac? Well, here goes.
I actually liked running but did not intend to put in that kind of mileage (which is just about or less than average). I am fortunate to be able to afford good gear for running and had help from the great Coach Bennett, Andy Puddicombe and other terrific coaches and athletes on the Nike Running Club app – a privilege I am grateful for. There is something about the feeling of running free and the sense of sweaty accomplishment at the end that is exciting and somewhat motivating … for the first and last 100 meters. In the middle, runners (as am I) may be stuck with feelings of “are we there yet?”, “it’s only been 3 minutes?!”, “I can’t wait to be done!”. Needless to say, like all well-intentioned things, I began to grow weary of it and looked for excuses even though I liked running and knew it was a good way to staying fit.
Let’s pause here and reflect on that: How many times have we been here in life or at work. You know something is important, right and good, yet after the initial rush of planning, strategizing and early implementation, you grow weary and find ways to defer it. That’s where the motivating power of a good intention comes in.
Continuing my running story, I stumbled on another great guided run where Coach Bennett talked about doing things with an intention. Start a run with an intention, maybe write it down. That was eye opening for me given where I was with my feelings on running i.e. checking the fitness box. Essentially, those words took away the power of running away from the activity of running and put it squarely in my hands. I had to make the choice and consequently as I performed the activity, I had to give it my full awareness and learn from my successes and failures. It transformed my running but also other things. For example: I learned that having an intention meant that I could come back to it and ask, “am I still achieving my intention or has the process taken over my objective?”. I also learned a few things about myself e.g. I run more relaxed and I’m more fulfilled when I’m patient with the run even if I only have 10 minutes available to run.
So having an intention before you start something does a few things:
- You become mindful of its importance in the short term and/or the long term
- You choose to become aware as you progress toward your intention i.e. you are open minded about learning about yourself, the activity, the surroundings
- You realize you can always come back and re-assess your intention or your progress toward it giving you the power to stop or continue
- You feel great when you achieve it
- Regardless of the outcome, you choose to evaluate and learn from it
Knowing this has helped me make mindful changes in my relationships and approach to work and my team. Thus intention can be a powerful driver by essentially transfer the power over to you from that process do loop you may be stuck in. That’s when you step back and ask the question, “What is my/our intention here?”
Next up, I’ll take a stab at how to consider writing (mentally or on paper) an intention.
P.S. Let me know what you think in the comments. It helps me improve my thinking and perspective.