"Take Yourself to Work Day"
Decrease the Suck or Increase the Awesome?

Working Intentionally

Last week I had a really energizing phone conversation with one of my Career Clarity Campers, someone who has  jumped into the activities with both feet and is swimming joyfully in the experience. 

One of the things I've told the Campers to do is to pay attention to their work experiences, to identify what inspires and energizes them and then to look at how they can bring more of that to their work.   Essentially this is asking people to work with more intention, rather than letting work happen to them. 

This Camper has embraced the idea wholeheartedly, spending the first 30-40 minutes of his day thinking about what he wants to have happen, given the calls, appointments and goals he has for the day. For example, he's identified having more meaningful conversations as being an important value for him, so each day, he looks at how he can listen more carefully, dig deeper in discussions and provide really meaningful follow-up to people. 

He also uses this  morning time to hone in on what's really important for him to get from his day. He's looking for "what's REALLY important?" and finding that frequently it's nurturing connections, building relationships and spending his time on helping people make a real difference.

 He tells me that starting his day this way is energizing and inspiring and that the good results he's seeing are encouraging him to continue the practice even when that little voice inside him says he's should be jumping into email or some other more "productive" activity. 

What's interesting to me is hearing how working with greater intentionality is creating greater intensity for him. He told me that he's "reconnecting with the pleasure of his work," even having entire days where his work felt more like leisure and fun, rather than something he's getting paid to do. 

The tasks of his job have not changed. What is changing is HOW he does his work and, more importantly, how much of his true self he is bringing to that work. The more he focuses on what he wants from the experiences he's having and the more he approaches his work with an idea of creating a different experience, the more engaged and inspired he's feeling. 

 Essentially, the more intention and creation he brings to his daily work, the better it's feeling to him. 

I've found for myself that working more intentionally and focusing each day on what I want to create in my work has great payoffs. Even on those days where I'm having to respond to what other people want from me, I try to bring my intentions for what I want to create to those interactions. It makes a difference. 

So how intentionally are you working? How does working with intention change your experience of your work? 


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"even on those days where I'm having to respond to what other people want from me"

I can't remember the last time things 'went my way' for even a single 24h period. Becoming ok with this and welcoming what others bring is a frequent challenge that brings amazing rewards if I allow it.

Thanks for a thought provoking piece.

You're right, Keith, that we do spend a lot of our time responding and reacting to other people and that there are great gifts in welcoming what others bring to us. For me, part of intentionality in my work has been to consider what I want to bring to my interactions with people. For example, I have some people who are really focused on the problems and what can go wrong. I've tried to become more intentional in my interactions with those people to not get sucked into that kind of thinking and to find new ways to draw them into thinking of the possibilities, rather than the problems in a situation. Without that intentionality, though, it's easy for me to just react to them, which usually does not go well. :-)

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