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Fulfilling our potential and living a full life often becomes about reconnecting with our hearts and emotions to operate from an integrated sense of self.
One way to do this is by using intentions. Earlier this week, I sent a message to my clients explaining the difference between intentions and goals and how they are a powerful way of creating what you want in your life while enjoying the process.
I won’t go into the science and psychology of how to set an intention here, but I’d like to expand a little on two qualities that help to connect our analytical capacities with our emotional world.
Practising these two qualities shortens the distance between you and your goals because it shortens the distance, so to speak, between the energy you have available to act and your actual behaviour. You will find them in some form in any transformational practice whether it’s in spiritual traditions (in which a sincere and humble heart is the foundation like Sufism) or in deep coaching.
Conversely, moving away from these qualities and starting to hold on to stories, interpretations and ideas about life and who you are starts to create ups and downs and tensions and wastes energy.
These two qualities are:
One of the top five regrets of dying people is the wish that they’d lived a life true to themselves and not what other people wanted.
How do you do that?
With a little practice. From childhood, we learn how to conform to group norms (or rebel against them), so being authentic may require a slow reconnection with your simple emotions and gradually going deeper until you touch your own, felt sense of reality.
It can be a tough journey if you’ve dismissed your emotions but the reward is that you’ll no longer feel as though you’re detached from the game of life, living a life that’s not quite right or feels off somehow – as though something is missing or that you’re disempowered.
By way of a simple example, you may have a desire to say something in a meeting or conversation, and withhold because you feel it would draw too much attention to you, land on deaf ears or create an argument. But you’re left feeling frustrated. A choice point emerges here: do you decide it’s the people/person at the meeting that created this situation; or that a set of your beliefs, assumptions and learned attitudes did?
Being able to sit with the discomfort of this choice and dig deeper to find a more nuanced truth will create a radical sense of aliveness and clarity. Living from this place is authentic because, from here, you get to author what happens next in line with what you know to be true (rather than what you think you should do). It may look different every time…
The practices and tools to develop authenticity are some of the most powerful in transformational coaching and involve self-awareness and emotional mastery.
Here you translate your (authentic) felt sense of reality into an effect – usually through action. Action isn’t just physical action but includes speech, in the sense that what you say transforms reality – either inwardly (because it changes how you feel) or outwardly because it has an impact on others.
This brings us back to intention: to intend something is a speech act because as you speak the words you are doing the thing you are speaking out and it already commits you to a course of action, For example, “I intend to …” is more powerful than “my goal is …”. The former directs your attention and energy; the latter is descriptive and flat.
Your word becomes an interface between your inner-world and the outer-world and so must be used wisely and accurately. No more self-deprecation and distracting chatter that takes you away from your truth and lengthens the distance between you and your goal…
The tools and practices here also involve self-awareness. In addition, an intimacy with language and a love of articulating an experience into words / cognitive representation is entailed. These practices usually give a deep sense of relief, an experience of being seen and a strong motivation to do what’s right for you.
Legend in the making: Dr R has achieved a well-deserved breakthrough into the next phase of her career in academic clinical medicine. It took authenticity and integrity to step into a highly competitive arena as well as connect with her authentic desire to contribute to the field and speak it into her professional community – visibility is always a challenge! Her courage was rewarded with acknowledgement and congratulations from the interview panel in Cambridge – they had all come across her and her work one way or another! Bravo Dr R!
Where could you step outside your comfort zone this week and practise more authenticity or integrity? A moment of courage can change everything…
Have a great week,