As we quickly approach the holiday season (seriously, I’m still trying to figure out where October went) and the end of this decade, it’s provided an incredible time for reflection and goal-setting amidst the chaos of planning travel logistics. A few years ago, I was challenged by a mentor to write annual goals and a vision for the things I’d like to accomplish, changes I’d like to see, financial goals, challenges I’d like to overcome from both a personal and professional perspective. This process begins to trickle into my schedule the middle of October and becomes more refined through the end of the year. Rather than simply a business plan or annual list of goals, it’s transformed into a bit of a strategic plan for living each year with intention. The “process” usually involves a lot of coffee, a beautiful space, a few hours with a blank page or whiteboard, and a lot of seeking insight through the quotes of people whose life experience has far surpassed mine. I’ve come to realize that you can’t change the world in which we live unless you move forward with intention. Two of the main themes I’ve found within my own narrative, and many others I’ve spoken with, are intentionality and gratitude.
“What would happen if you woke up tomorrow with only what you are grateful for today?” (Tommy Newberry)
In choosing to intentionally reflect over both the past year and decade, the growth experienced has been insurmountable. And if we try to answer the above question honestly, I imagine many of us would have a lot less tomorrow…and be far more alone. The way I see it, gratitude is a choice. And it’s a matter of heart. But it’s a matter of heart and choice that profoundly impacts your world and the worlds of those connected to you because it guides the outward expression of how you live, respond, and interact.
Do you want to have a more positive attitude, a more positive family, a more positive team, a more positive work environment, a more positive life, a more positive impact on the world you (we) live in? There is also a significant difference between good intentions, and intentionality. Good intentions exist only in your head and tend to lead nowhere but to one’s own self-justification. Intentionality exists within the heart, from what one believes to be true, and which governs one’s movement to action. How have we become who we’ve become? Who do you want to be as we move forward into this season and decade? How do you want to use this beautiful life you get to live? What will you choose?
So here’s a challenge: choose intention, choose to be grateful. For who you are. For what you have. For those in your life and around you. For the privileges we have to pursue the life of our dreams without so many barriers and obstacles many around the world face. For the freedoms we have. For what you can become and the things you can do. For the future that is yet to be. And be appreciative, not just in occasional thought, but in intentional belief and lived out action.
*This post was written in partnership with America's Future Foundation.