The Law of Intentionality

The Law of Intentionality

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John C Maxwell’s “The Law if Intentionality” states that growth, doesn’t “just happen”. Growth must me intentional!

What is your plan for intentional growth? Do you have one?


Intentionality isn’t a substitute for hope. Intentionality alone will get you nowhere. Intention + a plan + doing the right work will take you in the right direction. Note to self… “The right work” is the operative phrase here!

Early in my career I heard the phrase “luck is where opportunity and preparedness meet.” That phrase stuck. I have consciously thought about that phrase every week for the past 20 years. That’s roughly 1000 times.

I truly believe that we create our own luck. And I believe that luck requires a lot of hard work. Intentional work.

There are three key ingredients to my own personal Law of Intentionality. I’d like to share them with you and encourage you to take what you need from them. Ultimately, I encourage you to “intentionally” discover your own Law of Intentionality and create your own “luck”.

My “intentional luck plan” includes:

  1. An insatiable desire for personal learning,
  2. An overwhelming desire to see my future plans and dreams fulfilled
  3. A strong sense of responsibility to and for my family and their wellbeing.

These have been the three legs of my personal growth stool.  Most of the great things that have happened to me in my life have stemmed, in some way, from one of these areas of my life.

Desire for Personal Growth

When I began my professional career, some 30 years ago, I realized that my personal growth and development was paramount to my success.

Having dropped out of high school with literally a few weeks left in my senior year and having only attended college with a half-hearted effort, I felt that I was behind. I felt that somehow I was educationally, “less than”. And I wanted to do something about it.

I had never been a reader. I didn’t enjoy it, it bored me to death and I really saw no point in it. That is until a mentor of mine introduced me to the world of personal development books. WOW! I was hooked.

I began to read Dale Carnegie, Og Mandino, John C Maxwell and many others. These great men sowed into my life. They gave me a renewed hope and a desire to learn and grow.

I must admit that I went into this journey kicking and screaming. My mentor told me to read every night, in bed… for at least 15 minutes. I can still remember lying there, frustrated, bored, one eye on the book and one eye on the clock. When the clock struck 15 minutes… BAM I would slam the book. Whew, I made it through another day!

Eventually, I adjusted my attitude. I began to enjoy my 15 minutes with great people who were willing to sit with me every evening, imparting their wisdom in me. They molded my mind; they filled me with hope and possibility.

I believe that nothing I have ever done in my life has ever benefited me more than starting to read and never stopping. Much of my luck, my preparedness for opportunities that would come my way has been fueled by the wisdom that I have gleaned from great authors and their amazing books.

Do you have a reading habit? If not, why? If not, let me encourage you to pick a book and begin today. I have a few recommendations for you… check out my podcast, The Leader’s Bookshelf, where I do a short (5-8 minute) review of some of the books that have helped me.

In addition to reading, I am a conference and online course junkie. We live in such a great time. There is so much opportunity for personal development, for personal growth and for learning. The sky’s the limit.

I satiate my appetite for learning by attending every conference I can. And if I can’t go, I take the course online. What a world! We can learn and grow daily, with a laptop or a smart phone… virtually ANYWHERE!

Excited and Driven by the Future

According to The Gallup Organization via their amazing Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, one of my foundational innate talents is “Futuristic”.

Gallup says that people especially talented in the Futuristic Talent Theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They organize others with their visions of the future.

When I first took the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment and determined that this was one of my innate talents, it was like putting on my favorite pair of slippers and settling in to enjoy a good book by the fire. I resonated so much with this label.

I know it’s not PC to label people. I get it… but it is what it is. The Gallup assessment is a psychometric assessment of one’s innate (God-given) talents. Over their 70 plus years of scientific research, Gallup has determined that there are 34 general talent themes that we all posses. This assessment is science based and it’s scary accurate. I have seen lives transformed through this strengths-based approach to personal development.

I’m not here to talk about StrengthsFinder… I’ve written much about that and will continue to do so.

Back to the “futuristic” talent in me; I have an uncanny knack for being able to look at the facts and circumstances and envision where they could take me/us. I tend to look to and think about the future most of the time.

The future excites me to no end. The possibility of what could be ties me to a strong desire to see growth and develop for my personal benefit and for the ultimate benefit of my loved ones.

My possibility thinking and my outlook for the future tend to keep me prepared and at the ready when opportunity comes my way. I call that making my own luck through my own application of John Maxwell’s Law of Intentionality.

I’m Responsible for My Results

Finally and ultimately comes my intense sense of responsibility. Not so coincidentally, “Resposibility” is another dominant talent theme from my Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment.

Gallup says that people exceptionally talented in the Responsibility theme are take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

I strongly believe that my word is my bond and I take that seriously. I have spent my life developing and maintaining the integrity of my “good name”. I believe that the only thing we have to offer our families after we leave this planet on our last day is our good name.

I believe that being responsible and taking responsibility for what I do and who I am is part of my commitment to intentional growth.

In The 15 Laws of Intentional Growth, John Maxwell quotes Eleanor Roosevelt. She says, “One’s philosophy is not expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run we shape our lives and we shape ourselves.”

What I do ultimately affects my family and I take that responsibility very seriously.

As my children became adults they watched what I did, they listened to my words and they determined if there’s congruence between my words and my actions. They measured my choices and developed their own opinions about my personal philosophy.

To stay true to my plan requires intentionality. I am responsible for the lessons I pass to my family. This is a huge responsibility and the results are bigger than just my personal results, they are my legacy.

I shudder to think where I would be if I had not intentionally chosen growth and self-improvement over the years. I shudder to think what my legacy would have been.

Bring it Home…

Maxwell says, “Personal growth doesn’t just happen on its own.” Personal growth requires intentionality; it requires a plan and it takes work.”

He also says, “If you want tangible growth you must make it a tangible target.”

You must be willing to start, to be willing to make mistakes, to face your fears and doubts, and to set tangible growth targets. Please don’t just assume that growth will “just happen”, hope is NOT a strategy.

What is your plan for growth and how will you engage the Law of Intentionality to grow?