Monday, March 19, 2012

Why Did I Do That?

About a month ago, I realized I was in need of some refocusing and re-centering. Since it was winter in New York City, the prospect of a trip to California was a fabulous one. So I found a meditation retreat in Cali and off I went!

When I arrived at the meditation center, one of the themes of the weekend was “pay attention to your intention.” My first thought was, “What the heck does that mean?” But once I managed to reign in my thoughts, sit quietly, and meditate (always a difficult task for an extrovert!), I realized the importance of these words. If you are in touch with your intention at any given moment, no matter what the activity, you come to terms with what it is that you’re really after.

For instance, I think that I need to go to the gym more often.  If what I really intend to do is go to the gym, I need to make a plan, right?

      1.     Find a gym.
      2.     Pick a time to go to said gym (and incorporate into already hectic schedule).
      3.     Pack workout clothes and bring to work.

So why is it that even when I define my goals and identify an approach, I don’t always accomplish what I set out to do? It all comes back to intention. When I reflected on this, I realized that I don’t really appreciate the benefits of going to the gym—I’d much rather go for a nice long walk. So I don’t even bother wasting the energy trying to push myself if my intention isn’t really to go.

As I thought about it, I realized that this applies to everything. Intention already has a firm place in my work as a marketer. Every time we put a plan, proposal, or a creative project together, we are thinking about our intention—our objective. And if we’re not fully committed to and aware of our objective from the very beginning, whatever we’re working on generally becomes a mess. We end up changing direction midstream, or have to start over on the creative. 

Intention is the reason extrovertic holds the creative brief in such high regard. I know sometimes it’s a hassle to go through the process of discussing the assignment, waiting for the brief, reviewing it with your team, and then waiting for a revision before finally signing off on it. It’s just a brochure, right?? But if we’re not clear about our intentions, we might end up with a brochure that doesn’t accomplish its goals. So, in the month since I’ve returned, it’s been interesting to reflect on my everyday actions and think about my intentions. Does every extrovertic project maintain the intentions of the brief?

The best part of this experience has been realizing that intention (or lack thereof) is something I maintain complete control over. Whenever I want, I can reorient to infuse everything in my life with a bit more purpose and focus.

Try to take some time to “pay attention to your intention” and apply this to your own life. Experiment a little with thinking about why you approach situations in the way you do. Then try changing your approach and see what happens. I bet you will have some fascinating discoveries. It’s amazing what you can learn on a beautiful February day in California.


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