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From Tension to Intention

June 2, 2009

Last Thursday I attended the Mountain BizWorks annual Women’s Business Conference.

Mountain BizWorks is a fantastic non profit that helps everyone, not just women, get started creating their own business.  They offer a foundation course to help potential business owners understand the basics of running their own show, an accounting course to teach everything from standard bookkeeping on up to Quickbooks,  one-on-one consulting for advertising and marketing, have networking events for members, and can even help their members get a loan!

The event I attended was strictly for women business owners, though, and let me tell you, the energy in that room was fantastic! At one point we each had to complete the following phrases:

“My hope is…”

“My dream is…”

“My purpose is…”

After we finished, we had to read our answers to everyone at our table. It was both exhilarating and frightening; if you’ve ever chased a dream, you  know that letting other people in on it is very, very scary.  What if you fail? What if your idea isn’t good? What if other people make fun of you? This experience turned out to be wonderful, though, because everyone at the table was very supportive.

I was amazed at the variety of answers from the women at my table! I have to say I was completely thrilled to hear that each of our dreams had an undercurrent of hope for a positive future, not just for ourselves but for the world as a whole.  I truly believe we all want to make the world a better place, and each of our dreams and hopes did that in slightly different ways.  It was a wonderful way to feel connected to the women surrounding me!

After this exercise and some other short talks, keynote speaker Adair Cates took the stage. Adair is a speaker and author, and last year published her book Living With Intention: Ten Steps to Creating Your Dreams. Part of the reason I went to the conference was to hear her speak; in fact, I have a picture of her on my current vision board!

Before her presentation, each of us were given a worksheet and a rubber band, and she quickly dove into the information on the worksheet.

Adair asked us to define the word “tension”, which was at the top of our sheets.  My answer was “Tension is the feeling of being out of place, anxious, or stressed. Something doesn’t fit.” Once we all had time to write down an answer, Adair gave us some more traditional definitions of the word, including “a force related to the stretching of an object”.

Next we were to answer the second question on our worksheet; to define “intention” in your own words.  I said “Intention is expressing a desire to yourself and the Universe.” It’s really hard to define the word intention without using the word “intent”! Adair had some folks come up and read their answers, and also gave us some definitions, including “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result”.

Next Ms. Cates talked to us about her own life and experiences, which were so interesting! She recently went back to teaching full time and only speaking and writing part time, which was a change for her, and she’s not sure which direction she’ll head in the future.  I love hearing about people who are following their dreams but experience ups and downs, because it really, really helps me stay positive about my own journey to the center of myself.

She really wanted to show us how to change our lives from something that’s filled with tension to something that’s filled with intention, which is what the rest of her talk was about.  To start with, she moved into speaking about her book. She said although her book contained 10 steps to living with intention, she was going to talk about three of them during our time together.

The first step she recommended is to Create Your Vision. She quoted Bob Proctor, saying, “If you see it in your mind, you’re going to hold it in your hand”.  I’d also like to add a quote I love from Norman Vincent Peale, which is up on my refrigerator, “Hold an image of the life you want, and that image will become fact”.  As I’m typing this post I’m realizing that, once again, I have not been all that consistent with doing this, and I’m going to start again today!

Adair had each of write down one area of life where we’d like to see improvement; the choices she gave us were abundance, livelihood, leisure, well-being, relationships, personal growth, and legacy.  I immediately wrote down “abundance”, because starting my own business means I don’t always feel like I have abundance in areas like owning enough shoes with unbroken laces, outfits I actually want to leave the house in, and my bank account!

Next we had to write down a specific and measurable goal with a date when we would have this goal achieved.  I wrote down the number of coaching clients I hope to have each week by July 31, 2009.

Adair’s second step is Let Go. In this case she spoke about her tiny closet and how when she buys something new, she knows she has to remove something from her already crowded space! She then told us that if we can replace a limiting thought with a positive one, we’re on our way!

The exercise on our worksheet relating to this step was “Write one limiting belief that is holding you back from reaching your intention”. I wrote down that my limiting belief is that “I’m not outgoing enough, not a good enough sales person, to meet enough people at this event”.

The reason I wrote that down is that I sometimes clam up when I’m around large groups of people.  Although I am an extrovert, I often get shy and uncertain of myself, and don’t want to push myself or my services on others.  However, I will say that on this particular day I met lots and lots of people, and handed out quite a few business cards, so once I let my limiting belief go, I was quite successful!

The last step Adair gave is to Define Your Purpose. She told us about a quote she cut out and put up in her room when she was only 12 years old, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose”.  Isn’t that beautiful?

The last two questions on the worksheet were “Re-read your intention. Why do you want it?” and “What’s one small step you can take ASAP to get you closer to your intention?” I answered the first question with, “I want to be prosperous while helping to be part of the shift in our consciousness and thinking.” My answer to the second question was, “Handout five business cards today.”  I actually ended up handing out many more than five, imagine that!

Adair wrapped up her talk by explaining to us what the rubber band each of us had been given was all about. She explained that she used to tell people to put it on their wrists and pull it back and snap themselves with it each time they started in on negative self-talk and telling themselves their limiting beliefs were true.  Luckily, her masochistic streak is over, and she’s changed her directions to be less painful.  On this occasion she instructed us to put the rubber band on one arm, but to switch it to the other arm each time we started in with our negative self-talk.  The act of noticing the self-talk and switching the rubber band to the other arm brings us to the present, and makes us take note of the lies and stories we’re constantly telling ourselves.

I took my rubber band off when I got in the shower that night, but it’s still hanging on the door knob of my bathroom door.

In fact, it’s my intention to get up after I finish this post, to put that rubber band back on my arm, to start paying attention to and letting go of my limiting beliefs, and to keep pursuing my purpose.

Thanks, Adair, for the inspiring talk!

Be Joyful!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2009 2:24 pm

    Sounds like a great conference. This post is filled with tons of great insights and information. Thanks so much for writing this!

  2. June 4, 2009 12:57 pm

    This was an eye opener as usual!! I can totally relate to your problems. I am totally underconfident when it comes time to sell myself (like at job interviews for example). Even when I do something good I have to justify why really, it was quite easy. I think it comes from ALL the rejections I’ve had job-wise in the past year…

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