Although the mercury is still climbing into the 90’s here in Central Texas, a lot of signs make it clear that we have moved into the fall season. It started subtly a few weeks ago with cooler evening temps, change in some of the vegetation, and slightly shorter days. Now the signs are obvious, like deer who’ve shed the velvet on their antlers and the cacophony of gun fire in the evening from hunters who are “warming-up” and getting ready for opening day. You can’t miss it.
Life is a lot like that as well. We’re usually about our business and often don’t notice the subtle changes taking place around us that signal things have changed. In fact, sometimes we’er so preoccupied that we miss the obvious signs as well. When we do finally get our head up and look around, the landscape has totally changed, the real prize we were after is no where to be seen, and all too often we find ourselves out in the cold (figuratively but sometimes literally as well!). The first step to being intentional is being aware. The other is reflection.
Being intentional about what you are doing allows you to stay focused on the specific goals contained within your overall trajectory and pattern for your enduring success. Intentionality is the process that maximizes the probably of actually hitting what you’re aiming for instead of something else. John Free of Currey Creek shared the story of Colonel Townsend Whelen whose analogy of rifles and intentionality really makes the point here: “Only accurate rifles are interesting. The reason being is that accurate rifles are intentional tools that do what is asked of them. The right load in the right rifle produce predictable, expected results. An accurate rifle is a precision tool that engenders confidence in the shooter. The shooter believes and knows he has the right tool to do the right job. Therefore when it comes time to perform, the shooter gets expected results.” In other words, to be successful there has to be intentionality to what you are doing. When you couple the right tool(s) with intentionality you have success. If intent is lacking, you should have no expectations for success.”
Most are familiar with the adage, “If you aim at nothing that is exactly what you’ll hit.” But Col Whelen’s description above makes it clear that a lot more goes into being on target…your target…than just aiming at something. You have to make sure you are aiming at the right thing, with the right thing, and at the right time. To do so requires the steps of both awareness and reflection.
The fall season isn’t the only time to be build awareness and be reflective, but it certainly is a great time to give those two things some extra focus and attention. It doesn’t matter whether your discipline in this area is already good or whether you find yourself derailed and needing to get back on track, being intentional requires the ongoing pursuit and practice of both.
What’s your best next step here?