When we are striving for success, we step right into action and do as much as possible to reach our objective—but we usually give no time or attention to how we need to show up in order to achieve what we really want. In other words, “being” is about your mindset, while “doing” is the application of your mindset. When we prioritize “being,” we improve the quality of our “doing.” It’s not about inaction, but a call for action grounded in thoughtful self-reflection and alignment.
What does it mean to be intentional in our being? It means taking the time to reflect on our values, desires, and goals and aligning them with our actions. It means living with purpose and intentionality rather than simply going through the motions of life.
Living with purpose and intentionality is an introspective journey. It requires a deep understanding of your values, dreams, and goals. If you find your actions consistently align with these, then you are likely living with purpose. It’s about not just going through the motions but having a clear why behind your what. If your actions bring personal fulfillment and align with your long-term vision, that’s a strong indicator of intentional living.
“Being” intentional refers to conscious alignment between your actions and your inner values. It’s about making choices that reflect who you truly are, not just what you do. It is the basis for a meaningful and purposeful life.
One notable figure who embodies the shift from “doing” to “intentional being” is none other than the media magnate Oprah Winfrey. Famous for her accomplishments in television, film, and philanthropy, Oprah has consistently emphasized the importance of living with intention.
In the early stages of her career, Oprah was relentlessly driven by the need to succeed and achieve—a cycle of addictive doing that, while leading to professional success, often left her feeling emotionally drained and unfulfilled. However, a pivotal moment came when she realized that she was constantly reacting to the demands of her career rather than being guided by her own values and intentions. Her transformation began when she started prioritizing her well-being and personal growth.
I had a similar experience in my own journey. In my corporate career, I was in a constant state of “doing.” My focus was all about climbing the corporate ladder and getting to the next level until one day, I found myself in a leather chair in a fancy boardroom responsible for billions of dollars in spending—and I was miserable. What I hadn’t understood at the time was that I wasn’t “being” who I really was. I wasn’t “being” aware of my real values. I wasn’t “being” connected to my inner truth.
In order to shift from an addiction to doing to intentionally being, start by embracing mindfulness. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. I was a skeptic at first, but eventually, I gave it a try. What started as a small step has evolved into a daily practice that has allowed me to become more aware of my actions and choices and make intentional decisions that align with my values and goals.
Mindfulness is a start, but you should also prioritize self-care. Taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being is crucial for living an intentional and fulfilling life. This could involve activities like exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, or engaging in creative pursuits. Tapping into creative hobbies is something that I find extremely valuable because it fuels my imagination.
Here are some examples of how to make the shift towards intentional being:
START YOUR DAY WITH A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE
Set aside a few minutes for mindfulness meditation or journaling. This can help you cultivate a sense of calm and clarity before the busyness of the day sets in. If you decide to journal, try answering the following question: “What are the three most important things I would like to focus on today, and why are they significant to me?”
SCHEDULE INTENTIONAL BREAKS THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY
Instead of working non-stop, schedule intentional breaks throughout your day to recharge and refocus. This can involve taking a walk outside, practicing yoga, or simply sitting in silence for a few minutes. These breaks are what I call an “Inspiration Break,” a brief pause throughout your day to recharge yourself so you can be more intentional. Think of it as a reset for your mind or a chance to catch your breath so you can show up as your best self.
Learn to say no to activities and commitments that do not align with your values or goals. By setting boundaries, you can create more space for intentional living and pursue the activities that truly bring you fulfillment. If an activity consistently feels draining or you start to resist it, then it might not be in harmony with your values. If an activity constantly requires you to compromise your well-being, it likely doesn’t align with your authentic self. Take note of these signs, as they can guide you in deciding which activities to decline and help you maintain your boundaries effectively.