Let’s jump right in with some definitions from last week’s post:
Intentions are the underlying results and feelings you are looking to accomplish. Ex: help multipassionate creators gain confidence through shipping work consistently.
Goals are the methods you use to achieve those intentions. Ex: Write a book about the polymath’s path to self actualization.
Naturally, the next question is how do you clarify and define your intentions?
The Elusive Clarity
Clarity is frickin’ hard because it requires a lot of deep work to determine something that will always keep evolving. You have to ask yourself hard questions repeatedly to ensure that you are aligning with your values.
Clarifying your intentions is also difficult because you have to act in total autonomy, no one else can make these choices for you.
side note: One of my friends just finished grad school and was panicking about what his next steps were. He told me that he wasn’t ready to be the decision maker in his life. He didn’t want the responsibility of complete autonomy, he felt he needed more heavy handed guidance.
I know a lot of people feel that way. Listen, it’s already a part time job just to take care of the physical body! Adding in any existential queries and emotional difficulties can be downright exhausting. It’s scary, but it’s worth it.
Bringing this all back to the topic at hand, clarity of intent is a huge key to decreasing overwhelm as a multipassionate person.
How To Clarify Your Intentions
There are 3 simple steps to define your intentions and translate them into goals.
- Ask yourself the same set of questions consistently
- Reverse engineer an action based on your answers
- Take action and refine/reevaluate as necessary.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, introduced me to this concept:
“For a few weeks, I started each morning by writing “What do I actually want?” at the top of a blank page. It’s surprising how useful it is to keep asking the same question. Each time, my answer became more precise. Once I knew what I wanted, I turned it into action steps.”
This resonated strongly, so I expanded it to hone specific results. Every day for several weeks I answered the following questions:
- What do I actually want?
- What does a life well lived look like?
- How do I want to contribute to the world?
- What am I trying to accomplish with x project?
- Why does X matter to me?
This daily exercise has been tremendously helpful in helping me understand my broader mission in life. Writing it all out made my thoughts more concrete and I realized my passions all had some overlap.
The first couple days I wrote paragraphs trying to explain everything, but by the end of week 3 I could express my thoughts fully in 1 or 2 sentences. It feels so good to be able to articulate what I do/ want to do in a few sentences instead of rambling like I used to. Even in a recent job interview, the employer said my vision was so clear that she could see it!
BEWARE! This step can very quickly become a trap for any perfectionists out there! Don’t try to edit your words before they get on the paper. Let your thoughts and feelings flow, the patterns will reveal themselves in time.
P.S. you don’t have to answer all these questions at the same time! You can choose and make up 1-2 questions and commit to answering those 2 questions everyday.
P.P.S. I’d love to hear what questions resonate for you! Comment down below and let me know what questions you’ll be answering.