Cultivating Intentionality

Updated: Feb 27



Here we are at the start of another New Year.

Here we are coming back from the holidays and likely feeling a flood of tasks, projects, demands on our time.


Do you feel overwhelmed? I know that I've been aware of this feeling knocking at the door.


What do you do at these times? Do you rush in to get things done, to attempt to relieve the tension, not taking the time to discern? I know I often do. And when I take the time to slow down, set some space to discern and the execute on the priorities, it's so much more deeply satisfying.


As a unabashed Enthusiast, I find that it's vital for me to integrate my enthusiasm with cultivating the skills of intention, focus, and discernment. These are critical core skills that need to be reawakened in me this time of year.


We are in a time in history where we are being inundated by demands - real and perceived (though we experience these as real as well). And we experience ''micro-demands'' (that have big cumulative impact) from our devices. All those dings and buzzes are micro-demands on our attention; we shift our attention to determine 1) who is reaching out to us; 2) what are they saying? 3) how urgent is this (for them and for me). And that's just one text! The accumulation of these things add up to significant demands upon our nervous system.


If we do not cultivate intentionality around managing these demands, we can often feel flooded by them, and our sense of agency can atrophy.


Do you want to cultivate core skills of intentionality and discernment in this new year?

I do.


This morning I walked down to one of my favorite cafes, and instead of diving in to tasks, I brought a book that felt like the most important one amidst eight of them clamoring for my attention. It's called "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less". by Greg McKeown This will be my third time reading through this book.


I highly recommend it to you if you feel like you want to feel less stress, and if you want to develop the set of core skills of "the essentialist".


I believe that our core skills take practice. And if we don't use these muscles they atrophy. Positively, when we regularly practice discernment, intentionality, setting boundaries to focus on your priorities, then these muscles will become stronger, and the stronger muscles will make it easier to focus on our highest intentions.


What will you do in these first few days of the New Year to cultivate focus, discerment, and intentionality? And who in your circle can you include so that you can become an ad hoc community of practice for these core skills?


For the spatial visual learners among us... here's a Visual Summary of the



#essentialism #cultivatecoreskills #intentionality #start2020withintention #appliedimprovisation

©2019 by David Westerlund. Photo credits: Ramona Laird, Alvin Shim, and David Westerlund.