Finding intent

by Kim on August 1, 2013

My days have been blurring together lately. It’s the same stream of taking care of the little dude, going for walks, playing outside, running errands, doing housework, cooking, writing, studying NASM, and blogging. None of this is bad, by any means, it’s just…predictable.

But I guess, what do I expect? A Tuesday night rave? A surprise visit from the president? (Door’s open, B!)

I tried to dig up some interesting photos so I could pretend my life is exciting, but all I could find on my phone was this:

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It wasn’t even that good. (Just not my thing.)

It did score respectably high on the Potential Cocktail Mixer scale, though. (Don’t worry, I don’t refer to the scale that often—I just happen to be on the lookout for refreshing summer adult beverage combos for upcoming vacations. Plus, did I mention how slow my days are right now?)

Oh, and here’s the obligatory kid shot:

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This pic happened as a result of me looking at his breakfast and thinking, “OH. MY. GOSH. Red, white, and blue, and I didn’t even mean to. What up, ‘Merica!”

(Still just trying to get the president to visit…)

So last night, I was working on a freelance article about how small business owners can find purpose, and I ended up getting swallowed up into the black hole of the internet. I know you know what I’m talking about. All of a sudden, I’m watching random TED videos and I’m 100 comments deep into some Reddit thread I don’t even remember starting. (What! Exercise can change your DNA? And your kids’ DNA??)

At one point, I ended up watching this talk by Mallika Chopra, daughter of the renowned doctor/holistic health guru Deepak Chopra and founder of the online spiritual social network Intent.com. She and her dad are both big fans of visualizing what you want out of life and attacking it.

ChoprasAND you guys know Dr. Oz?!?

In the talk, Chopra describes learning to meditate as a kid, and mentions that her dad taught her this phrase:

I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience and set the goals I will achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me, I have asked for, and received as I have asked.

This might sound a little too New Age and wacky to some of you, but I love the underlying message of finding intent in life, rather than drifting through it and passively taking whatever gets thrown at us. We don’t have to live as victims. If we aren’t where we want to be, it’s no one’s fault but our own.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one in the world who feels like I have a long way to go to get where I ultimately want to be. My problem is that I have so many big dreams, I’m having a hard time sorting through them and picking out the ones I should actually go after.

dreams

Next, I stumbled upon this article, which includes 14 quick exercises you can use to find your life’s purpose (erm, clearly drifting farther and farther from my original research goal…dangit internet!). Here were the ideas I liked best:

–Write three lists
Sit down and write out three lists: everything you are good at, everything you enjoy doing, and everything that gives you a sense of purpose. Then look for the common themes in these lists. (Source)

–Recall flow states
Think about the times when you blink and three hours have passed. What are you doing? (Does getting lost in the Internet Worm Hole count?)

Flow states occur when you mind is so engaged in your activity that it lacks the mental capacity to notice other things. It means you are loving what you are doing. Sit down and think back from childhood to today and put together a catalogue of activities that put you into a state of flow.

–Create space
President Obama dedicates 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. each night, while Michelle and his girls sleep, to work, read, and write. I do some of my best thinking while running, cooking, or showering. (Take what you can get, right?)

–Write until you cry
Steve Pavlina suggests you write down the answer to “What is my true purpose in life?” Then, write another answer. Keep writing until you cry. And there’s your purpose.

–Envision your funeral
Michael Gerber, author of E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work, recommends you imagine your funeral and asking what you want your eulogy to consist of, your lifetime achievements to be, the difference you made. How many of these are you doing right now?

–Write your “ideal self”
As Stephen Robertson put it: “We have an ideal Self in our imaginations…This Self is a New York Times Bestselling Author. This Self stopped a bar fight with a witty joke. This Self sang the national anthem…of the world. This Self saved babies from a burning building, then demurred when the TV news reporters sought them for an interview for their heroic valor. This Self is the most interesting person in the world.”

…And now you know the following image has to happen…

dos equis

One other idea I liked from Chopra’s talk: start easy. Think of an intention just for today. She says that a common one for her is: “Find serenity in the midst of chaos.”

Are you a One Big Dream kind of person, or do you have dozens, like me?

What are you doing when you do your best thinking?

What does your Ideal Self look like?

Mine’s a bestselling author who helps people become the best versions of themselves. (Not specific enough? Yeah, there’s my problem…)

She’s also insanely funny, owns a beach house, and has a killer wardrobe. (Is that relevant? I might be getting off track.)

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

HappinessSavouredHot August 2, 2013 at 6:16 am

Exercise changes your DNA, and that of your kids: oh yeah. My husband does research on that topic. Fascinating!

I have many, many dreams, but only 2-3 are really big ones.

I do my best thinking while running.

My ideal self will read all the links you put here, as they all sound super interesting! :-)

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Kim August 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I’ll have to research more about the exercise + DNA thing now. Super interesting! Have you blogged about it?

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Katie @ running4cupcakes August 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I think that our entire lives can go by like that if we don’t have intent in what we are doing and where we are going. . . which is why I like to do a lot of goal setting and planning, so life has purpose and isn’t just wandering or going through the motions.

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Kim August 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Exactly! I used to always hate goal setting at work, but I absolutely understand the value of it now. It’s so easy to think of the future as this endless span of time, but eventually, we all have to actually get started if we’re going to accomplish all these goals we have for ourselves. :)

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Kim August 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I love the add-ons to your vision of your best self!!
Sometimes I struggle with what my intent is, too – when I was young I thought it was to make a difference in the world somehow (I was going to go into medicine). Now, I think it is just to make a difference in my small world (with my family and those closest to me) – occasionally that feels like a cop out but then I look at my boys and realize it is a good intent!!
Kim recently posted…Even Adults Need a Time-Out Sometimes!!My Profile

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Kim August 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Having a family was always my #1 goal. In Mallika’s talk, she explains how she never truly found her intent until she became a mom. It’s a powerful thing for all of us! Anything else is just icing on the cake, really. :)

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char eats greens August 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm

This is great. I used to be SO motivated and felt in control of how I wanted things to be a little over 2 years ago. I feel like I really need to get back to that place where I take back that control. I definitely have many dreams, but like you, I just haven’t pinpointed some yet. I have general ideas, but there’s a barrier in my mind that’s blocking me from seeing what I ultimately want to do!!

I just got some good books out from the library and I’m really hoping they help. If I strap myself down and actually force myself to read them!
char eats greens recently posted…our “starting solids” journey + introduction to munchkin mealsMy Profile

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Kim August 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Hey, better to have too many dreams than none, right? I think it’s cool that our generation, in general, seems to have a tendency to think BIG, but it can also be kinda intimidating.

I hope you blog about the books, if they turn out to be gems!

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Stephen Robertson August 1, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hey Kim,

Thanks so much for the mention in your post. One thing is my name is Stephen Robertson not Steven Pressfield. I was profiling Steven Pressfield on my blog. Your quote attribution is for Pressfield, however that snippet is something I wrote for my blog post.

Cheers

Stephen
Stephen Robertson recently posted…The Lazy StandardMy Profile

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Kim August 1, 2013 at 11:12 am

Thanks for the correction, Stephen! Looks like that’s incorrect in the article I was referencing, too. :(

Fixed here now!

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