When I listen to John Maxwell speak, I think about 2 things. One is that Mr. Maxwell seems to be a very positive, intentional, and relatively happy person. The second is that I’m somewhat amazed and overwhelmed with putting into action even a small portion of what he talks about. He learned how to be “intentionally” successful at a very young age, and he practices it every day and has practiced it for many years.
Personally, I view myself as successful in many ways. However, mine is an accidental success, and I was often surprised by it. Have you ever gone into a dark room, and you’re feeling along the wall for a light switch? Yeah, that’s how I became successful – there was very little intentionality about it. I wonder what I could have achieved if I had been intentional at a younger age. But here is the thing. Please take a deep breath in… then let it out. That’s called the art of breathing. You do it all the time. If you are alive and breathing, it’s never too late to start being intentional. And this is my start to become intentionally successful.
When I moderate a REAL Success mastermind, I start by defining success as a journey, not a destination. It’s a continual unfolding of intentional learning over time; some for gain, some for loss. I looked at failure and loss as a negative experience; if I didn’t get what I wanted, I would pout and throw a fit. Some of you here today know what I mean. However, I now realize that failure is only a stepping stone to my greater success in life.
What would happen if you began to be intentional every day? Because all of this content is really about one thing: being intentional. Determining your goal and then implementing intentional actions that are going to move you in the right direction. Then making course corrections along the way.
Intentionality is a choice, and it’s a choice we make moment by moment throughout the day. We’re intentional about eating; we’re intentional about drinking… no one ever accidentally sipped a cup of tea or a glass of water. I may fall asleep at my desk without realizing it, but most of what I do during my waking hours is intentional, whether I realize it or not. The key is, “What am I intentional about?” Spending hours catching up on the latest sports or reality TV may not be moving me in the direction I would like to go, and it may even take me away from my goals.
Speaking of reality TV reminds me of a story. We recently built a cabin on our farm. There is a large Amish community in this area, so we engaged one of the local Amish construction firms to have a "barn-raising." As you may know, the Amish do not use electricity, and there is no television. Their relationship and communication between husband and wife are a bit different as well. So when my wife and I would be in a discussion or dispute, I would often catch Levi, our Amish foreman, smiling or laughing at our exchange. So one day, after a heated discussion, I said, "Levi, you may not know about this. But there is something on television called reality TV, and people pay a lot of money to watch it. But you're getting it. For free!"
The way we came to build a cabin on our farm was an unfolding accident. But the actual construction was very intentional. There is no way to build something of great value and wing it. You may end up with something, but it will more than likely be a mess. It is the same way in our life. Some of you here today are a mess. But the good thing is that you are here taking an intentional step to becoming intentional towards your goals, which can only lead to your greater success.