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From Intent.com: You Are Not Alone

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”
― John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

The thing they don’t tell you about getting older is how hard it is to maintain relationship. As a grade-school child, you’re in a room with 25 other kids your same age from your neighborhood and for roughly eight months, you have built in best friends. That’s how it goes for 13 years or so and then you slowly add more and more people until you realize, unless you’re intentional, you might not know anyone.

I can’t name one person I met in college. Seriously.

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As an adult, I’ve learned that if I want to have more than surface-level friendships, I’m going to have to put in the extra effort. I don’t know that I’ll ever find the consistency I had in grade school. I work from home. I’m a single adult. If I want friendships, I have to make them a priority. Here are some best practices I’ve collected over the past years:

1. Don’t expect your friends to be psychic. I’m not even sure the people advertising themselves to be psychics are psychics, but we expect our friends to know when we’re sad or sick or feeling left out. While you don’t want to end up in a one-sided relationship, involvement with another person is always going to require putting yourself out there in some form. If you’re feeling blue, invite a friend to dinner. Decide you aren’t going to let it ruin your night if they aren’t available. Maybe think of 3 or 4 people to ask just in case. The point is just to get some quality time!

2. Know what you love. It can be really frustrating hanging out with people who love football to watch football if you don’t love football. Who’s fault is it really? If they know they love football, they are only being authentic to what they love. What do YOU love? If it’s not football, that’s totally fine! Is it hiking? Is it crafting? Is it going to concerts? The more you know about what you love, the easier it is to find your tribe or to invite people into experiences with you versus always feeling like you’re tagging along with someone else. It’s no one else’s job to find out what you love so take the time to really think about it and then share it!

3. Reconnect. There has to be some advantage to all the social media we’re glued to these days. Maybe it’s an opportunity to reach out to family or friends you lost touch with long ago. Upon moving to LA last year, I reconnected with one of those grade school friends I mentioned after I noticed on Facebook that she’d also moved to Los Angeles after graduating from college in Texas. We sent a couple of emails back and forth and scheduled lunch. It was a little nerve-wracking walking up to the restaurant. Would it be weird? Would we even have anything in common anymore? But, from the moment we sat down at the table, it was as if we had never missed a day!

 

It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to say “I feel alone” because it means you want people around and so much of society these days says you’re weak if you need people. To that I say the world isn’t big enough for everyone to have their own islands, so community has to happen. I also think that some of our best refining comes in the context of community.

It is where we learn to be selfless and also to stand up for ourselves.
It is where we learn to love ourselves and also to put others first.
It is where we learn what hills we want to die on.
It is where we learn the value of “thank you” and “I’m sorry”.
Those seem like worthy lessons.

So, don’t forget.
You are not alone.
You’re here and I’m here and so we can go ahead and put the notion that you’re alone to sleep.
You are not hopeless.
You are not unworthy of love.
I can say that with full confidence because your heart is beating.
So get out there!
A lonely someone is waiting on your friendship.

Why Can’t Work Be More Fun?

workFor many, work is a 4-letter word. Songs are written about how much we hate it. There are television shows that share how awful some jobs are. The source of our greatest complaints in life are either about our family or our work.

But what if instead of seeing work as a sentence, we saw it as an opportunity to do more of what we do best? What if we actually found work fun? Unthinkable! Impossible! Stop kidding around and get back to being serious – this is work we are talking about. Our “work ethic” says that work is supposed to be tough, challenging, complicated and demanding. What if we had it all wrong?

If we could use more of our talents and live more of our passions, we could raise the enjoyment, engagement and fun in our work. But most of us get pushed into work situations instead of intentionally choosing them. We think money matters most when it comes to work.

However, talk to those who are exceptional at what they do and love doing it and they will share that they used fun, engagement and impact as criteria for selecting work, a job or a career – not just money. After all, you choose what you will have to do each day. It seems reasonable to choose something that engages and inspires you, not one that will be a challenge to get out of bed for each morning.

Besides being a workplace and life coach, I am an adjunct professor for a college in South Florida. Most of my students have no idea of not only what they want from college, but what things they should be studying to be ready for life after college. They have not been taught how to look within themselves to see their unique abilities and passions, and how to review their world for the places that will let them do what they do best. They are setting themselves up for work that they won’t find fun, exciting and engaging. We are creating the next generations of those who will continue to write and sing about how bad work is and how we have to just put up with it until they get to come home – or die. Every moment of life is one worth living wisely and with intention. And if work uses the greatest number of the moments of our lives, isn’t it worth it to find a way to build fun AND impact into our work?

This makes me want to ask 2 questions:

  1. If you could realign to a field, job or position that would activate your greater talents and passions, what would it be and how could start to make the change?
  2. If you can’t make a job or career change because of your current situation or commitments, how can you look at what you do and find more things in the workplace that feed your spirit, soul, talents and passions?

Here are some examples.

Steve is an entrepreneur – his work is to evaluate business ideas in which to invest. His job is so much fun for him, he told me he can hardly stand it. He is excited and “on” every moment.

Marie waits tables – work is fun for her. She can’t wait to meet the next person, share stories and hear theirs. She takes on extra shifts, not for the money, but for the time with new people.

Bob is the CFO for a company. Month end is his favorite time of month as he reviews the performance of the company, prepares reports and makes presentations. For him, it doesn’t get better than this.

Tess is an administrative assistant. Though she is good at what she doe, it isn’t her favorite work. She is intensely creative so she asked to coordinate the office events and write the company newsletter. These raise the fun meter in her role.

We choose our level of happiness and fun. If it isn’t as we like it, we must change it. There are always things we can do to improve how we see the world, and what we do in it. As George Bernard Shaw shares, “Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” Make the moments matter. Make the most of everything. Don’t wait for things to change, change them.

Love life. Love work. Have more fun. Make more fun. It is possible. It is up to each of us to make it happen.

7 Quotes to Inspire Your Connection to Mother Earth

Earth Day only happens once a year but we think it’s important to remember our connection to our environment and planet every day. Whether it’s a simple thing like drinking your morning cup of coffee outside to take a moment and appreciate the green grass and nice weather or if you’ve taken the extra steps to start composting your household waist. There are so many things we can do, big and small, to show appreciation for Mother Earth and take steps to take better care of her. A lot of the things we promote on Intent  – meditation, connection, being present – are all related to the understanding that we are all bonded with the world around us. We are connected to each other and the living things on this planet, and when we appreciate that fact we begin to lead happier and lighter lives. So for our weekly quote post we gathered some inspirational sayings to inspire a strengthened bond between you and our earth.

 

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Intending to Keep the Faith During Job Hunting

job huntingby Rachel Kossman 

It is my intent to stay positive as I search for a writing and web-editing job, but I’m struggling. The job search is time consuming, frustrating, and seemingly endless. It can often be fruitless for long periods of time, which is a truly demoralizing feeling. I feel as though a black hole is swallowing every cover letter and resume I send out to the interwebs.

I told myself I would do at least three things a day, even if they’re small, to forward my job search – sending out a networking email, writing a follow up message, searching LinkedIn for connections, starting a posting, or sending in an application. It was manageable, and there were days where I did twenty tasks, not just three. I was chugging along, gaining optimism the more I put myself out there.

Then, I got an interview for a full time gig I could easily label my dream job. A phone interview led to an in person interview, which led to a second in person interview, and then a cross-country phone call with a third employee. I thought I had it in the bag. All my energy and excitement hung on the prospect of this job.  Yesterday, they gave it to somebody else.

So now I’m back to square one. Slowly plodding away, one task at a time. This time, I’ve upped my expectations for myself: at least five tasks a day. It has only been three weeks since the interview process started, but it feels like ages ago. I’ve lost my steam.

I want to stay focused and determined as I look for people and companies who will believe in my writing abilities, and pay me for the content I produce. But with this experience of nearly nabbing my dream job — being told I’m great, but not quite great enough, it’s seeming even more difficult to remain positive.

Everyone told me job searching would be hard. But isn’t the truth that things aren’t really hard until you experience them yourself? Everyone told me how much I would struggle, and part of me knew that I would. But I said to myself “It’ll be a challenge but I can manage, it won’t be that bad!” And that statement seemed true when this interview opportunity came along. I had worked hard, and it had seemed to pay off. But now I’m feeling down, and it seems like my hard work has landed me nowhere, and I’m struggling.

California’s unemployment rate is nearly eight percent. With a statewide population of just over 38 million, that means more than 3.5 million people are out of work and looking for jobs. And that doesn’t include the folks who are working a job they don’t want, and are searching for another position on the side.

I have to remind myself that I’m not the only person facing this battle.

I have to remind myself to stay motivated, and not let my frustration and sadness get the best of me, because those emotions don’t lead to productivity, and what I need right now is to keep moving and working toward my goal.

I have to remind myself that instead of a retail or waitressing job that pays little and wears your body down, I have found an amazing nanny job for a wonderful family that pays my bills in the interim.

I have to remind myself that I’m in always sunny Los Angeles, so having an irregular schedule with days that don’t start until 5 PM means I can hike with my golden retriever in the mornings and still have the afternoons to work on job applications.

I have to remind myself that even though this feels like a giant back step, it’s a great sign that I scored an interview for a job I truly wanted, and that has to mean there are bigger and better opportunities out there for me.

I have to remind myself that if three tasks a day (and on good days, many more) led to that opportunity, pushing myself to do five will only help me succeed faster.

And I have to remind myself that I’m only 25 (with my entire life to work) and that regardless of whether I’m job searching for one more month or six more months, in the scheme of my life, this will only be a blip.

Rachel is an aspiring writer and journalist, born and raised in Los Angeles. She lived in Boston for six years, where she attended Northeastern University and wrote for Boston.com and the Boston Globe, Her Campus, Bay Windows, South End News, and Tech Target. Rachel spent much of 2012 backpacking and blogging her way across South America. Follow her on Twitter @rachelsarahsays, and check out her blog on RachelKossman.com.

10 Quotes For the Food Loving Soul in All of Us

Ahh, food. How do we love thee, let us count the ways. Food is the fuel of our existence, the centerpiece of our social behavior and can even be our best friend in times of trouble or need. We have a complicated relationship. Some of us are wary of you and some of us over indulge in the delight. We definitely have our hills and valleys, but at the end of the day food is a vital part of the human experience. Actually, it’s a vital part of the living experience in general. So we’re toasting to the good eats in this week’s quote post. We rounded up a few of our favorites – some of them inspiring, some of them make us laugh, all of them are the truth. So grab a fork, dig in, and share if you too are a foodie.

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From Intent.com: Feeling infinite

This is one of my favorite little snippets from Garden State, a movie I first saw in college and have loved ever since. It’s about a guy who has spent his entire life medicated to the point of feeling nothingness who meets a girl who is the essence of aliveness. When she starts to feel unoriginal or silly, she doesn’t sink into sadness. She’s not overcome with depression. She reminds herself of the truth- that she is an original and at any moment there is infinite capacity for anything to happen.

Let that blow your mind for a moment.
(I can wait.)

You might be sitting at your desk at work.
Maybe you’re on your couch at home.
At any moment you could get up and go do something.
That is one set of possibilities.
You could stay where you are.
That is another set of possibilities.
You could keep breathing, you could not.
Maybe that’s deeper than we need to go.

But, seriously.
You could apply for a job.
You could quit a job.
You could make a bold profession of love.
Literally ANYTHING could happen right now.
And when your brain starts to creep around the corner of really grasping that, you can start to be excited about the possibilities. If there is a part of your life you don’t like, you are poised to change it. If there is a thing you wish could happen, now is just as good a time as any. You could move at any moment. You could stop moving at any moment. There are infinite possibilities for this moment that is always now.

Don’t be a bystander in your own story.
Know that you can be an active participant.
So what are you going to do now?

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Create the Green Dream with Home Automation

home automationby Elizabeth Eckhart

If you’re a homeowners like me who is interested in “going green” as much as possible, you should consider tapping into the many advantages of home energy control; new technology for home automation is making it so that we are not only conserving energy, but also choosing a money-saving alternative. A variety of technology and electronics manufacturers are taking notice, which means we finally get to benefit from multiple companies creating new, energy efficient products.

If you have already made the intention to refurnish your home, clean up your lifestyle, and contribute to a greener house, perhaps automation is where you, like me, should begin your search!

“Going green” is an expression that is used more and more in technology and business, and while it brings to mind the efforts of nature activists, and charitable causes to save the world’s resources, it is also becoming a big push in the business and consumer world (the one most of us live in!), especially when looking at home automation and appliances.

Whether it’s consumer electronics giant Samsung releasing networked appliances or home security companies like ADT’s new Pulse integrating more home automation features into their service offerings, allowing users to employ lighting and temperature control in the home, it’s clear that “smart” homes are quickly becoming an affordable reality. Essentially, home automation systems today can control many things in the home that have always been separate systems and make them work more efficiently than ever before. I’ve been looking at options to do everything from controlling cooling and heating throughout different zones in my house, automatically turn lights off and on as needed, open windows or shut them remotely, and even turn up the water heater as necessary or adjusting it to a lower temperature when it is no longer needed. Successfully automating all these things would waste less energy, cost me less, and have a positive impact on the environment!

The Latest and Greatest in Home Automation

Even Google made a foray into the world of home automation by gaining control of Nest Learning Thermostat, and as someone new to the home automation game, this was my first purchase. The Nest is basically just a thermostat that actually learns the preferences of a homeowner and controls the environment accordingly. For example, the Nest knows that I like it to be 68 degrees when I wake up, but can turn off the heat or air conditioning when I leave for work; when I get home, the thermostat ensures the temperature is comfortable, automatically dropping down to a lower level when no longer necessary.

Thermal powered lights are another popular product that I’ve tried; just like it sounds, they are lights that are powered by the solar energy that has been absorbed during the day, providing illumination at night. If you live in an area with a deregulated energy market like I do, it’s easy to find websites and resources for buying energy that comes from solar and other renewable sources, and so using your own solar at home cuts your carbon footprint down even further. Plus, it’s also a simple switch to solar powered motion sensor lights that are weatherproof, which are ideal for lighting the way outdoors or in the garage without the need for a light to be turned on for hours at a time since they’ll charge themselves during the day.

One product I’ve considered, but not yet made the jump to, is a full system for the whole house like mControl, which is ranked at the top of the list for companies providing the best in home automation. The system offers a way for homeowners to control every electronic device in their home, lighting, and climate. Relying on digital software, the mControl makes energy management more efficient and can address home security as well.

The Future of Home Automation

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the world of home automation. In the future, homeowners are likely to turn to cheaper do-it-yourself methods, from solar power to systems they can control to conserve energy and put more money in their pockets. Creative minds will take home automation to new heights, and if you can make the switch now, I’d highly suggest giving a few of the top-rated products a try!

Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago born and bred blogger who is passionate about keeping the environment clean. Some of her favorite writing topics include new renewable energy technology and various ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

7 Quotes to Help You Find Hope After the Storm

April showers bring May flowers – so the idiom goes, but who talks about how hard those April showers can be to get through? There are weeks during the year when it feels like the flood tides are rising and all you can do is let go into the current. Sometimes those weeks turn into months or longer, and that kind of depression takes different shapes in every person. However, there’s hope. There is a crazy idea that no matter what storms we whether there will be sunshine on the other side, and if we can make it there we’ll be better people for it. There’s hope and optimism that hard times lead to better things. Hope that our trials and tribulations will pay out in positive dividends. We have to believe that to keep going. At Intent we encourage that hope because we believe it to be absolutely true. It turns out we aren’t the only ones – check out these hopeful quotes below and spread them to anyone that could use a little joy.

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Intent Former Editor Chelsea Roff Gets “Best Shift Ever”

Chelsea Roff
Photo Credit: Chelsea Roff’s Facebook page

Good things happen to good people – that’s karmic belief. This week Intent’s former blog editor Chelsea Roff was the subject of Break.com’s “Prank it Forward” series where they surprise deserving individuals with life changing gifts.

For those that don’t know, Chelsea left Intent last year to pursue creating her own non-profit organization that shows the vital importance of yoga in eating disorder recovery. Chelsea herself suffered from extreme anorexia – at one point dropping to 58 pounds and caused her to have a stroke two weeks before her 16th birthday. She spent 18 months recovering under the custody of a Dallas hospital. When she was released her therapists suggested that yoga might be good for her – and it turned out to be a life changing experience.

To give back to the community that gave so much to her Chelsea started an IndieGoGo campaign last July that raised over $51,000 in four days. For those four days Chelsea camped out above the “You Are Beautiful” mural in Santa Monica, refusing to leave until she reached her goal. Now that money is going to fund research based studies in yoga studios and treatment centers around the country. To help get the funds to hire a full-time staff for the organization Chelsea has also been moonlighting as a waitress. Did we mention she’s only 24? Chelsea Roff is the definition of using your own talents and abilities – and the power of intent – to save the world. To reward her for all of her selfless good work, her friends and co-workers teamed up with Break.com to provide Chelsea with the best shift ever.

It starts off with a kind stranger leaving a ridiculously huge tip – that Chelsea insists on sharing with the rest of the wait staff. Then a free trip for two to Hawaii, followed up by Chelsea’s dream job where she’ll be able to use the work she’s been doing with Eat. Breathe. Thrive. in conjunction with a funded medical center. To top it off Chelsea was surprised with a brand new car and a visit from her very first yoga teacher that showed her so much about strength and being proud of your body and the space you inhabit.

We are so proud of Chelsea, who will always be a member of the Intent family, and all of the things she’s done. It’s such a wonderful thing to see her get the rewards she deserves for doing such amazing, wonderful work. Congratulations to Chelsea! You deserve it, girl. And we can only hope that Chelsea’s journey also inspires all of you to show the potential of setting an intent and following through with it. We really have the power to make meaningful change in people’s lives!

Learn how you can help Eat. Breathe. Thrive. or find one of Chelsea’s programs in a city near you here.

8 Quotes to Ignite Your Passion

Do you have a case of the winter blues? It’s spring but the weather around most of the country isn’t acting like that. That makes it a little bit difficult to get into the warmer spirit of Spring – we get it. But the grey coldness is ending and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. To help you reach it, we want you to get warm. Not just temperature wise, but indulge in your favorite activities. Reach out to your favorite people. It’s time to get close to the things that make you feel the warm fire in your heart.

That also means getting in touch with your passions. What makes you vibrate with energy? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What makes you feel like your best self? If you aren’t sure here are a few quotes to inspire you to find what you’re passionate about and ignite it in time to stave off the last of winter and propel you into Spring.

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To connect with others following their passions, check out these intents on Intent.com

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