Written by: Mandy Nicholson, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Becoming more intentional is like training your brain to become laser-focused on the outcomes you want and desire. When I wrote this sentence, I had a visual of me staring at my planner and removing everything that wasn’t going to move me closer to my goals. Then I felt uncomfortable taking things out! Many times, we achieve a state of comfortable lack. Not entirely unhappy with things and experiencing success, yet knowing there is more, but we don’t change because we are comfortable. So, are you ready to get uncomfortable and intentional?
With what I have planned today, will it move the needle in my business?
You can decide to become intentional at the beginning of each week. The act of intentionality is to be deliberate or purposive. Take control of your thoughts and answer the question above. If the answer is no, then ask what would move that needle. It’s easy to get busy doing not very much at all if you are not intentional with your time. Think about what intentional thing you can do today or this week that when you look back you will say ‘That changed my business’.
What is intentionality?
You can manage mental states like thoughts, beliefs, values, desires, hopes etc. and direct them on or at something. If you desire, then you must desire something. You would then bring commitment, focus and attention to that something because you desire it, so it is important to you. Having intentionality is a way of thinking about your business that is committed, purposeful and deliberate. Not left to luck or chance, but moulded and shaped.
The types of intent that shape our communication.
Four types of intent shape our communication. We display all four of them at different times and in different situations. The goal for optimal communication and success is to move to ‘Affirming Intent’.
You can feel affirming intent when your mind is open, and your body feels relaxed and confident. It is a sensory experience because you are hearing people, feeling confident in yourself and others, speaking as a leader and a team player and understanding that the outcome is best when all points of view are brought to the table and assessed. Your communication is relaxed, open and engaging.
Your mind is focused on achieving a specific outcome and this is not up for debate. You are not receptive to the opinions of others, and you may feel stressed. You are not confident that input from others will give you the result. There may be a conflict of opinion, so you are filtering it out. Your communication is dictating and a little aggressive.
Your emotions are heightened, you can feel the adrenaline and you are on the defensive. You may be frantically searching your thoughts to find the defence to what may be a formidable opponent or opposing idea. Your pride and reputation feel at stake, so your communication becomes shriller, less relaxed, and not productive.
You feel overwhelmed and burnt out. You have given up speaking and listening and all you want to do is leave the situation. Mentally you have already left but you stay to protect your reputation and save your embarrassment. Communication is done for the day, and you need the chance to move away from the situation and recharge.
Understanding intentionality and the behaviour around our communication allows us to focus on measures that will help us become more intentional.
Here are ten ways that you can practice intentionality in your business and life.
Step back from media – all forms of media! TV, social media, gaming, podcasts. Our consumption is higher than ever before. Have you ever had a good day and been in a great mood then started scrolling through your socials or watched the news and noticed a shift in how you feel? Learning to notice the dip and change the behaviour opens you up to becoming more intentional. Put your phone down!
Spend ‘in the moment’ time with the people who matter most – have a meal with no phones or TV, go out for a few hours and be uncontactable. Do something kind for a stranger or family member with no expectations.
Take up hobbies or activities that bring joy – purely for the love of it and how you feel when you are doing it. Take up painting, crafting, dancing, or singing and lean into the emotional release and uplifting sensations.
Stay in your own lane – avoid trends, copying, and comparison and do your research before you buy. You can’t be anyone other than you. You can’t know anything more than what you know (unless you are still learning, which we all should be) in the way that you know it. What you know is enough.
Practice self-compassion – this is more than self-care. This is looking after yourself mentally and physically. It is speaking kindly to yourself and forgiving easily. Nobody holds you to higher standards than you do, so go easy.
Listen well – you know the adage ‘we have two ears and one mouth, we should use them that way’, it’s so true. Try really listening to the needs of the people around you more than you speak. This doesn’t just help you.
Make time for self-reflection – meditate, plan time in your diary to review, or go for a walk in nature. However you reflect best, do that.
Do something you are proud of – connect this with your business and tell people about it. I am proud to have helped over 1000 women launch their businesses. I am proud to be an inclusive employer.
Question your ‘must do’s – why must you do them? How much of a positive impact do they have on your life or business? Are they useful or old habits?
Know when it’s time to let go – of people. Of old habits. Of tasks. Of things that no longer serve you. Of your self-criticism.
Learning to use intentionality in your business and life, like anything else worth doing, requires a holistic approach. If you try to force the behaviours without taking care of the thoughts, you will end up at war with yourself instead of comrades in arms.
How can Creative Genius HQ help you?
Many of the creatives I work with struggle with a lifetime of being belittled for their genius. Often told to get a proper job to pay the bills and practice their craft on the side.
I am stomping all over that myth!
At CGHQ, we have a range of strategic learning levels to meet our clients exactly where they are at. Becoming intentional starts at the very beginning of the learning journey.
If you are unsure how to begin your journey, then contact me and let’s have a chat.
Mandy Nicholson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Mandy Nicholson, is a Creative Genius Consultant, Artist and Author who helps creative women to launch, grow and scale their businesses and make more money. Like a huge % of creative women, Mandy ended up in a 'proper job' after she completed her BA in Art and Design, and spent decades forging a successful career in retail. It was only after a life-altering series of unfortunate events, which saw her end up at rock bottom, that the pull of creativity called her to launch her creative business in 2019. Mandy now has multiple income streams connecting her creative business, serving and educating women. Her mission: Painting the future for creative business, one woman at a time.