This morning I was reading an article about the “C Generation.” This is how young people are being labeled, based on how they define themselves during the pandemic and beyond. Are you allowing your experiences and circumstances define you in a way that will affect your personal life, as well as your online business?
We tend to be defined by a range of factors including demographics, attitudes, historical events like wars or other conflicts, popular culture, political beliefs, and prevailing consensus among researchers. As a result, the lines that define the generations are useful tools for analysis, but they should be thought of as guidelines, rather than hard-and-fast distinctions. I wrote about generational values in my book, Kids and Money: Teaching Financial Responsibility and Values to Children and find this topic to be relevant in business as well.
Personally, I have defined myself by experiences and situations I’ve been in over the years. This includes going through Hurricane Andrew in Miami, being diagnosed with cancer for the first time at age 37, and then returning to California in time to experience the Northridge Earthquake, all during the span of less than six months from August of 1992 until January of 1993.
As a new online entrepreneur in 2006, I defined myself initially as being too old, too educated, too inexperienced, not well connected enough, not smart enough, and more. Once I fought through the limitations I was placing on myself I was able to succeed and build a lucrative and highly profitable business on the internet.
We all define and label ourselves with every word we utter and step we take. Defining yourself involves the idea of knowing who you are, what you stand for, what your identity is, what rules you stand by, and more. But that is simply based on the perception we have of who we are, and is not necessarily based on facts or reality. There are individuals and organizations who thrive on defining us and grouping us into neat little categories and boxes within those categories. Defining group of people isn’t simple. The names we use to talk about groups of people born in any given period can change over time. Sometimes this is because what seemed to be a defining event later turns out to be less influential than other forces at play, sometimes because a different term gains momentum and sticks.
Your Self Perception Wasn’t Chosen By You
Often times, we let others shape who we are. The environment we’re in and the people we know mold our personalities and outlooks on life, but that shouldn’t be done to the point that you ignore your own wishes. You have to be content with who you are, and to be absolutely content with yourself, you must carve out your own personality. It can be scary, if all you’ve ever known is doing what other people told you, but you’ll never be truly happy until you pursue your own path. It’s very easy to be influenced by others – especially when you’re young and still developing. You might have had a mean teacher who told you that you would never amount to anything, and those words might stick with you today.
Maybe one or both of your parents placed expectations too high or too low for you. They might have told you that you have to be a doctor or a lawyer, and nothing else will do, or they may have told you that you might as well get comfortable working at Walmart, because that’s all you’ll ever be good for. You have to find the strength and the courage to dismiss these expectations, and be who you want to be. None of these people telling you who you’re going to have to be know you better than you know yourself.
Many are just nervous. For example, if you want to launch your own online business, but they’re unfamiliar with it, they may try to dissuade you from it out of sheer fear. You’ll have to do it without their support and understanding. If you always dreamed of being an artist, but everyone pressured you to become something “better” with “higher pay,” you have to look past what they say. Very few people have said that they’re glad they never pursued their dreams and just followed everyone else’s advice.
It might be difficult, it might not even work out, but you’ll never have that itching feeling of wondering how it could have been if you had just tried. You can find satisfaction in knowing that you tried your best.
You also have to be able to define what kind of person you are. Nobody is born inherently worth more or less than anyone else. If a few people think that you’re just a piece of trash, you have to look at who they are as a person, devaluing other people to make themselves feel better.
If anyone makes you feel like you’re worthless or of lesser value than another person, ignore them. They don’t know your story, they don’t know who you are in your mind, and they can’t make assumptions like that. Evaluate your own worth, think about the people that love you, the good that you do, and how you make a positive contribution to the world and if you feel like it’s lacking, make the change that will make you feel better about yourself.
Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be more intentional and live a more purposeful and meaningful life. This can be extremely valuable when you are defining yourself and stepping into your power as an individual of great value to the world. When you know what you’re aiming for, it’s becomes easier to reach your goal.
Realizing what being intentional really means and what impact it can have on your life and that of your loved ones is also very motivating. This in turn will give you the energy and confidence to build new habits. Ready to dive in and take a look at what being intentional means and how it will help you lead a happier and more fulfilled life? Let’s get going…
Being Intentional Means Taking Control
When we live day to day without intention and purpose, we let life pass us by. Even worse, we let the things and people around us control us. When we start to become more intentional in what we do, we take back that control. We become the masters of our destiny again and it’s a very empowering feeling. It’s also one of the big reasons why living with intention increases self-confidence and happiness.
When you’re living more intentionally, you think about what you want to accomplish. For example, you decide that you want a closer and more loving relationship with your spouse. That’s going to take effort and work. You take control, put in the work and make it happen. This is how being intentional means taking control. You don’t just let life pass you by anymore or complain about how your husband isn’t as loving and caring as in years past anymore.
Being Intentional Means Planning Your Life
In addition to taking control, living with more intention also gives you a chance to plan your life. That’s a pretty big deal and it can have some huge consequences over the course of a lifetime. Let’s take being intentional about your finances from an early age as an example. If you know you want to be able to buy a nice house after starting a family, and have a decent nest egg by the time you retire, you can start to plan from the time you get your first pay check. By making that plan and consistently saving a portion of your income, you’ll get there. If on the other hand, you don’t live intentionally and don’t save part of your income, the money will be spent at the end of the month.
Do you see how being intentional with finances and all sorts of other aspects of your life will benefit you both in the short term and the long run?
Being Intentional Means Defining And Living Within Your Values
Another interesting aspect of living with purpose is that it forces your, or at least encourages you to define your values. To live with purpose, you have to know what’s important to you. To do that, you have to know what you value most. If you’re not quite sure where to start on this journey of living with more purpose, start by thinking about your core values.
Then take a good look at each aspect of your life right now. Ask yourself if what you’re doing aligns with your core values. If it is, great. Do more of it. If it isn’t, it’s time to make some changes. Maybe one of your core values is to have a very active role in raising your children. If you’re currently working full-time, putting in lots of extra hours to further your career, this may encourage you to look into working less and spending more time at home while the children are little.
Being Intentional Means Living Your Live With Purpose
So often we get distracted from what we really want to do. Live is busy, time is short, but it’s also filled with things that distract us and take time away from us. How often have you sat down at your computer to pay some bills or look up an event in your town only to find yourself two hours later watching cat videos? It’s easy to get distracted when you’re not in the habit of living with purpose.
Once you make that shift, you become more intentional with everything you do. You have a purpose in mind and you get thing done. This helps you get a lot more productive, but it also means you end up with plenty of time on your hands to do things that are important to you … and to do them with purpose.
Being Intentional Means Making Good Choices
Another big benefit of living with purpose and being intentional is that you tend to make good choices. You don’t take action based on a gut jerk reaction. Instead, when you are being intentional and living life to the fullest, you tend to think things through and decide if the outcome is what you want. This in turn leads to making good choices. To illustrate, let’s go back to the financial example I used earlier.
If you know you want to save for a down payment on a new house, and you come across a cute, but clearly overpriced pair of shoes, you will be able to walk away (without the shoes… just to be clear). Living with purpose and intention allows you to delay instant gratification and make the right choice for yourself in the long run. Sure, that pair of shoes would be nice to own, but being able to buy the house of your dreams is a whole lot nicer.
Being Intentional Causes You To Improve Your Confidence
Something else that’s interesting is that being more intentional in what you do improves your confidence. It’s seen again and again, and if you stop to think about it for a minute, it starts to make sense. When you’re intentional in what you do, you tend to have an end goal in mind. You also plan along the way and are ready to take massive action. That in turn means that you don’t have time to worry and second guess yourself. When you don’t worry constantly, you get more confident.
Then as you start to take action and see that you’re making progress, you get this cycle of reinforced confidence going. You see progress which gives you self-confidence. The confidence in turn motivates you to keep going, which leads to more progress, which enforces your confidence… you see how this works. Your biggest job is to get the ball rolling and you to it by deciding to be more intentional in what you do.
Your Intentions and Purpose Can Be Big Or Small
One thing that seems to scare people away from embracing the whole idea of living with purpose and being more intentional in what they do is that they think it is too big of a task to tackle. In their mind, they have to turn into the next Mother Teresa to live a purpose driven life. That’s not true. You don’t have to pick a cause and dedicate your entire life to it to benefit from being intentional.
Your intentions and purposes can be as big or as small as you want them to be. Best of all, they are not set in stone. They can be adjusted and tweaked on the fly. Remember, this is about you and improving your quality of life. If big scares you, start really small.
If one of your goals is to have a stronger relationship with your family members, start small by sitting down with them at breakfast and chatting about the day ahead. If one of your life’s dreams is to live more self-sufficiently, commit to growing a tomato plant this year, or grow some culinary herbs on your window sill. Start small and expand as your confidence grows through the actions you take. Keep going until you’re at a level of living with purpose and intent that you’re happy with.
Being Intentional Can Help You Find Meaning In Life
One of the biggest benefits of being intentional is that it can help you find a lot of meaning in life, even in the small, everyday things you do. That may end up being more important than you think. In this day and age, we’re so often completely disconnected from the end result of what we do. We do our job, live in our little bubble with no idea of how what we do affects other in a positive way. We are social creatures who at our core love to help others and have a positive impact on the world around it. Without that knowledge, and with this disconnect, it’s no surprise that depression is now more of a problem than ever before.
Turn to being intentional and living with purpose to bring meaning back into your life. Not only is it a wonderful way to prevent and combat depressions, it also greatly increases your happiness.
Being Intentional Means Finding Your Passion
One of the questions I often ask people when they’re not sure how to get started living intentionally is what they are passionate about. What we are passionate about are the things, ideas, and of course people that are most important to us. But we can also turn this around. As we live more intentionally and start to pay attention to what’s important to us, we figure out what our passions are.
As you become more intentional with how you spent your free time for example, you may rediscover an old hobby and find that you’re still quite passionate about it. Without intent, we often let other stuff get in the way and we feel that we simply don’t have time to indulge in our favourite hobby. Once we rediscover or find out what we are passionate about, we can make sure we make time for it, no matter what that passion is. Get back into gardening, dig out the sewing machine, restore the car that’s been sitting in the garage, get back on your bike… do more of what makes you happy.
Being Intentional Helps You Feel More Secure in You Place
We live in a fast paced world that’s constantly changing. We no longer live in the same place all of our life. We no longer hold the same job until the day we retire. We often don’t have reliable health insurance, or even a job to count on. There’s a lot of insecurity in our day-to-day lives.
Start restoring balance and feel more secure by taking control and becoming intentional when and where you can. By living more intentional, you can start to feel more secure in your relationships. By becoming more active in your local community, you can start to feel safer where you live. By being intentional about what you do at work, where you work, and what you’re doing to further your education, you can start feeling more secure about work.
Stop being a passive spectator in life. Get out there, be intentional in what you do, take action and take control of your life.
Being Intentional Helps You Leave A Legacy
Most of us don’t like to think about it, but our life on this earth is finite. We only have a few decades before we are gone, but if we live our life well and with purpose, we can leave a legacy behind. I’m not talking about some big corporation or charity (though that’s certainly an option). It can be something small yet impactful like raising wonderful kids, a love of cooking and an heirloom recipe collection, or the knowledge and love for a craft.
Being intentional with your life has you examine what you do and the relationship with the people you love most. This in turn will help you craft and leave that legacy without even having to think about it or try.
I’m Connie Ragen Green, defining my life as I go, being intentional in the moment, and shaping my self-perception to match my dreams and goals as I serve others. I also write books and work with newer authors and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their goals and gain massive visibility online.