Yes, you read that right – intention deficit – it’s something many entrepreneurs suffer from.
Without clear, focused intention, our attention is all over the place. We flit from idea to bright shiny object, all of which can distract us from our purpose as practitioners. Watching what others are doing on social media, we can experience imposter syndrome and think we aren’t enough, and we feel lost, unmotivated, and discouraged. The reality is that we’ve simply lost sight of our own intention.
Most of us believe we have solid intentions: we want to grow our business or be financially successful. But these goals are the natural outcomes of our determination, not the focus. They are the byproducts of tenaciously sticking with our primary intention.
When setting an intention, it must align with our passion and mission. It’s about what you’re here to do. For example, in the early days of my nutrition practice, my intention was to learn and grow my nutritional knowledge base so that I could help really complicated clients who weren’t getting answers from other practitioners. I doggedly applied myself, took courses, seminars, and webinars and applied everything I learned. Of course, I wasn’t successful with every client (is anyone?) but I honed my skills by staying focused on my intention of helping complicated clients. Five years in, I found I couldn’t keep up with the number of clients reaching out to me. I simply couldn’t work 10-hour days, 7 days a week to accommodate them. That’s when my intention shifted.
Instead of remaining focused on helping one client at a time, my vision, my mission, started to morph into developing a program where I could share what I had learned with other like-minded practitioners. I realized that my intention to help complicated clients could be so much more powerful and impactful if I trained other nutrition professionals how to do it and bring them onboard.
That was eight years ago and my intention is steadfastly the same: to train health professionals everything they need to know about working with sick, complicated clients. To date, we’ve graduated over 700 practitioners and offer 4 levels of advanced training.
So, how do we hold onto our intention? How do we connect with it on a daily basis to ensure we don’t become distracted? There are no shortcuts here – it takes focus, commitment, and nurturing. Every. Single. Day.
One of the techniques that has helped me the most is incorporating my intention into my morning routine. This is my secret sauce for keeping my determination front and center. Best of all, it only takes 20 minutes and has enormous additional side benefits.
Mornings are my sacred time. Here’s the formula I use, although you can organize these elements in any order you like or add anything else that inspires you:
1. Inspirational reading for 5 minutes. I love The Science of Mind Daily Guides (which is also available online here: https://scienceofmind.com/2019/10/22/monthly-readings/) but you can use any spiritual reading that resonates with you. This is my time to tap into my higher power.
2. Gratitude Practice for 3 minutes. One of my favorite aspects of my morning routine and I absolutely love this format. You’ll need a timer handy; I use my phone.
Set the timer for 1 minute, close your eyes and silently express everything you are grateful for in your life. For me, it’s different every day. Common themes are family members, my home, my dog, my friends, my health, the degree of comfort in my life… you get the picture.
When the timer goes off, set it for another minute and this time focus on being grateful for everything surrounding your work. This is when I flow gratitude for Margaret, the rest of the RWS team, our students and graduates, the mission we’ve taken on, and the common intention we have as a community. A minute often isn’t long enough!
When you’re finished, set your timer one last time for a minute. Now send gratitude toward yourself. This can be difficult – at least it was for me in the beginning. We can be so critical of ourselves; it can be hard to come up with things to be grateful for. With practice, however, it starts to flow. These days, my self-gratitude includes my strong healthy body, curious mind, my ability to figure things out, the love I extend to others, and on and on.
Having 3 unique gratitude categories is enormously helpful and suffice to say that by the end of 3 minutes, my heart is overflowing with love, warmth, and positivity.
3. Segment intend your day for 90 seconds. This is absolute magic. So often, we fumble randomly through the day with very little forethought. Segment intending is a way of foreshadowing how you want your day to unfold. Set a 90 second timer, close your eyes, and begin to mentally walk through the day ahead (it’s helpful to take a peek at your calendar just prior). When I segment intend my day, it might include a meeting, so I set my intention for how I want to show up, how I want the conversation to flow, and the outcome I want from the meeting. If my day includes a client session, I set the intention of being fully present, listening intently, being open to intuitive wisdom, and showing up as the best practitioner I can be for them. If my day includes exercise, I set the intention for safe travel and enhanced physical vibrancy. As my day unfolds, I intend for my connections with family and friends to be positive. I intend for productivity and joy throughout the day. Segment intending sets the tone for every aspect of your day because you’ve envisioned it ahead of time. This is how we maintain our intentions!
4. The last section of my morning ritual is a 10-minute meditation. I use a variety of meditations – from Mindvalley to the Calm app to Dr. Joe Dispenza. Meditation makes me calmer, more trusting, slower to anger, and I sleep better. I took a while to make this a daily habit but all the hype is true: we’re just better human beings when we meditate every day.
We all have a million excuses for why we can’t carve out 20 minutes to feed our soul. If we’re not careful, we can fritter away our time and attention, whether it’s scrolling Instagram or watching television, instead of nurturing our precious intention.
Experts say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Are you willing to devote 20 minutes a day for 3 weeks to ensure you maintain your intention? To show up as your very best self every day? To stay spiritually centered and remind yourself of how blessed you are? It’s been absolute magic for me. What do you have to lose?