In 2019 I was living my life, just kind of going along with the prevailing winds and currents - when my daughter was involved in an accident that changed my life. It was a rainy day, she was driving on the highway, when suddenly her 10-year-old blue Honda Fit began to hydroplane. I don’t know if you have ever had the experience of your life being out of control, but at that moment – in the middle of traffic – she lost control of her car.
There have been many times that my life has seemed out of control and denigrated into somewhat of a hot mess. But one of the key things I have learned from the John Maxwell Team program is when John Maxwell talks about the Law of Intentionality. He details out 15 Laws of Growth, and the first one is the Law of Intentionality.
The Law of Intentionality simply states that, in order to grow in life, you have to be intentional; you have to have a plan to grow. Before I joined the John Maxwell Team at Boeing in March, I didn’t have a plan for my life. I was just kind of going along for the ride to see what happened. It was kind of like watching a movie when you are the starring character but you don’t have a script to tell you what is going to happen next.
I consider myself successful, but throughout my life it has been an “accidental success”. What I mean by that is that I wasn’t intentional at all but was often surprised at where I ended up. My story about our “Accidental Farm” is a good way to demonstrate the difference.
When my daughter’s car hydroplaned on that highway in 2019, fortunately she wasn’t hurt. But her car was totaled and she was looking for a used car to purchase. At one point, my wife Sook said to me, “Why don’t you sell her your car and we can get a new one.” Well, I thought that was a great idea because I would get to choose a new car for myself. However, I was mistaken. As we went to look for a new vehicle, Sook wanted to get a 4-Runner… for her. I said, “Well Sweetheart, what am I going to drive?” Turns out I inherited her car which at least was paid off.
When we got the 4-Runner, I noticed it had a hitch receiver on it to pull a trailer. So, I thought to myself, we could get a small trailer and do some traveling with our GSD’s. Through a series of events, instead of a little travel trailer, we ended up with a large, 31-foot, class A RV. Since we couldn’t park it permanently in our neighborhood, we decided to build a barn on some farmland we have about 3 hours north of St. Louis. That turned into a barn and a cabin and then we got a pregnant cat, a bunch of chickens… Covid happened, and suddenly we’re living, and working I might add, on a farm. I’m thinking to myself, “How did this happen?”
It happened as a result of not being intentional. But what was intentional was the actual construction. You can’t just go to the local lumber yard, buy a bunch of wood, and start nailing it together. You have to have plans, architectural drawings, cost, schedules. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with a hot mess.
The same thing is true of our lives. You probably know of someone whose life is somewhat of a mess and maybe it’s yours. But the 15 Laws of Growth, and the first Law of Intentionality can begin to put us on a path of intentional growth which will begin to transform our own life, and the lives of people around us.
My daughter had an accident which eventually led to our building a farm. I'm not sorry we did this, but a little intentional planning along the way would have saved us a lot of stress and sorrow.
I'm now on a path of intentionality and you can be too. It just takes a decision to be intentional and a a first step in that direction.