When I woke up today and heard the sad news that we lost Muhammad Ali, a legend in sports and beyond, I felt compelled to write about his significance in my life. I admired this legend, not just because he lived his life the way he wanted to live, but the fierceness he held to his beliefs and the compassion he showed to people around the world. Moreover, he promoted a new reality not just for himself but for others to believe in; shattering the reality of what others had of about him and inspiring people to dream bigger and do better.
The way he lived his life and recent passing compelled me to write about how we can better connect to our goals and intentions. I am not sure how this icon developed his own goals and intentions, but as a coach and teacher, I have learned a bit about how to design them with my clients and self. I am using my sadness to write and share a bit of my work with you, in hopes I can offer you some insight and inspiration.
His passing coincided with my focus on goals and intentions - specifically, on how to create them, refine them, and to make them as real as possible. Without intentions and goals, I have found it is hard to speak up or lean in when life becomes difficult; to make decisions when there is a lack of time and information, and to know if the way I am living is aligned with what I want to be and do in my lifetime.
As a yoga therapy teacher I am constantly working on how I - along with my clients - can work towards a more intentional life and value aligned life, in order to live a fuller and richer life. For me, I have noticed the more defined and embodied my intentions and goals are, the more ease I can identify and practice the habits that bring me closer to them or further away from them.
One effective way I have found to work towards my intentions and goals is to create a vision board. I have used Pinterest, magazines, crayons, words, to pencils and much more to create a vision board. Paying attention to the colors, textures, location, shapes, meaning, and timing has helped me make them more real and dimensional. When working on them, I try to be as creative as I can; allowing no limits. After designing them, I share my work with people I trust the most. Then I slowly share them more publicly. Each time, I get feedback and find support with likeminded folks to help support me to reach my dreams. Feel free to try vision boarding your self. If you need more help, google 'vision boarding.' There are a ton of tips to making them.
Another way I practice connecting to my intentions and goals is to ask myself daily, “Where is my attention?” Meaning, what am I allowing my attention to focus on at this moment. For example, am I focused on how callous a stranger was to me or am I focused on the baby steps to reaching my goals? If I keep my attention on the callous stranger, my irritation could grow to anger or more. If I shift my attention to working on baby steps towards my intentions and goals, I could use the energy from these feelings to move closer to them. Allowing this shift to domino effect towards a world I want to live.
These practices (ex. vision boarding and noticing one's attention) are forms of meditation. The results of meditating on my goals, intentions, and attention is more awareness. According to my meditation teachers and my experiences, awareness will offer me more information, freeing me to make wiser decisions.
I believed Muhammad Ali developed his internal compass (ex. awareness) early in his life on what he wanted to be and accomplish, using his opportunities wisely to practice them. Obviously, more than 'awareness' is needed to achieve goals, but without it how do you know if you are living out your dreams like how Muhammad Ali lived his?
The following quotes are by Muhammad Ali, which inspired me to write this article:
What keeps me going is goals. - Muhammad Ali
It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself. - Muhammad Ali
I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.' - Muhammad Ali
I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want. - Muhammad Ali
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. - Muhammad Ali
Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are. - Muhammad Ali
I've made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven't lived in vain. - Muhammad Ali
The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. - Muhammad Ali
My only fault is that I don't realize how great I really am. - Muhammad Ali
I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others. - Muhammad Ali
To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich. - Muhammad Ali
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