For more than 2 decades, I have worked around horses. My life is full of lessons learned at the barn, one of which is the art of intentionality. Horses have a strong intuition for the energy fields around them and can sense your intentions, your fears, your anxieties, and your excitement. They feed off the energy they are presented with so whatever you are feeling, you will see it reflected in your horse like a mirror. Intentionally controlling your emotions helps you be successful whether you are working with horses, other people, or by yourself.
From the moment you begin to interact with a horse, you are teaching them. You are telling them whether you are a predator or not. You are telling them if they are safe and can trust you as their leader, or if they need to figure out a plan B in case your way doesn’t work. While they can be extremely tolerant, horses are not forgetful. It can take a long time for them to forgive and forget a bad experience. This is where the art of intentionality comes into play.
I say it’s an art because there are many interpretations of correctly executed intentionality. Some might argue that it’s more of a science because you have to know exactly what the end result is and have the perfect concoction of ingredients to reach that result. Intentionality is more of an art, however, because when you are working with living creatures (horses, humans, or others), the same method may not work for every individual.
Working with intention means that you have a purpose for your actions. There is a method to the steps you are taking to reach your goal. Intentionality is prioritizing a list of tasks, thinking through how words and actions will be received, and continually asking if these steps are getting you closer to your goal. Take a moment to think beyond the immediate future and to the longer term consequences of your actions.
If your goals are health-related, you must be intentional about how often you workout, what you eat, and how much you sleep. If you have financial goals, like it or not, you have to have a plan for your money and be disciplined, trusting the process. Your goals may include completing an educational journey, climbing the corporate ladder or starting your own business, or maybe even slowing down to enjoy the time life gives you. Maybe your goals include improving familial relationships or reconnecting with old friends. These things don’t happen on their own or overnight and require intentional effort to find success.
My dad always says, “There are consequences to all actions.” This small phrase has helped me evaluate my intent as I approached various questions in life. Sometimes the consequences we face are really bad. I try to stay away from those! Sometimes though, those consequences can be incredibly positive and those are the consequences I strive to approach with intention, focus, and grace.