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The Power of Intention – Living on Purpose

I spend each December with my a cappella quartet, Fandango, performing throughout Vancouver.  On a particularly cold and rainy day this year we were tired, and not getting the reaction we wanted from the preoccupied shoppers.  We started feeling a bit grumpy – so we took a break to recalibrate.  We chatted and said “OK, let’s create an intention to really focus on connecting from our hearts with each person that walks by”.  We started caroling again, holding that active intention in our minds.  Incredibly, every person walking by shifted from aloof to engaged – smiling, involved, reacting.  That’s the power of intention.   We didn’t “do” anything different – we simply held a mental “intention” or purpose.

Intention is a mental tool that focuses your attention which in turn shapes the structures in your brain. When we act with intention we act with purpose. Considering, and then adding intention to an action or situation creates a different level of consciousness and sets energy in motion to get the results you want. 

You can apply the Power of Intention to any part of your life and supercharge your year, your day, or a specific activity or conversation.

Creating Magic - Female open hand appearing to send out a stream of sparkles and glitter on a golden and black flowing background

5 WAYS TO USE INTENTION TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR LIFE

1/ Holding an Annual Intention

Supercharge your year by holding a single intention or purpose for it.  Think of this as your annual “Theme”. Get away from the list of “goals” and “resolutions” and create one or two words that will be the foundation for your year.  Keep your theme present throughout the year (write it down, put it on a post in note on your office wall or fridge, add it as your screen saver).  Notice how approaching the year with your theme in mind will inform what you “do” without you even thinking about it.

2/ Creating a Daily Intention

Focus and supercharge your day by spending a couple of minutes in the morning to think about that day’s intention. What will the day be about? Is it joy? Is it connection? Is it efficiency?  By simply mentally focusing back to that intention throughout the day, you will feel an energetic shift in results (all without you having to actually do anything different).

3/ Being an Intentional Leader

How you show up as leader has a dramatic effect on a group atmosphere and holding a clear intention will shape results.  Experiment with holding a single intention for a day at the office – or a meeting – or a rehearsal.  e.g. / “Today is about spreading joy”.  “Today is about teamwork”. “Today is about respect”.   Write out your intention, and refer back to it. It doesn’t matter what the specific activities of your day are, you will be approaching them with a different underlying intention. One simple thought will focus your energy and makes things shift.

4/ Being Intentional in Conversation

Think about being intentional in an important conversation.   As an example – consider the age-old conversation you have with your teenager when they forget to phone and tell you that they will be coming home later than expected from the party. What if the intention you held for that tricky conversation was “love and respect” for your teenager? You don’t need to think about changing what you are going to say. Your words and your tone automatically will change if you change your intention. Imagine how differently your teen might hear “Tommy, I need you to call me if you are going to be late” if your intention is to show how much you love and respect him.

5/ Being Intentional about a Specific Activity or Event

Being intentional for any activity or event has a powerful focusing effect on the experience and its outcome. As an example, let’s take the dreaded “networking” event.  What might happen if you held a mental intention of “connecting” with people instead of “getting business”?   How might your actions change as a result?  Intention gives us a sense of control and allows us to “create” our conditions vs. simply “reacting” to them.  Instead of life “happening to us”, we are shaping it.

 

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Top 3 Ways You Can Supercharge Your Rehearsal Experience in 2018

Top 3 Ways to SUPERCHARGE YOUR CHORUS REHEARSAL EXPERIENCE IN 2018 (2)1. BE INTENTIONAL

Being intentional when you perform or rehearse has a powerful focusing effect on the experience and its outcome.  Considering, and then adding intention or purpose at rehearsal creates a different level of consciousness and energy. Adding intention fires off neurons in the brain that sets energy in motion to achieve/or give you the result.   Intention gives us a sense of control. We are “creating “our conditions vs. simply “reacting” to them.  Instead of rehearsal “happening to us”, we are shaping it. Wow!

How: Before you begin each rehearsal, think about what your intention will be for that rehearsal.   Is it spreading joy? Is it having fun? Is it being confident? By simply focusing back to that intention throughout the night, there will be an energetic shift (without you having to actually do anything different).  You can also consciously add intention and purpose to a single action – to a musical passage, a song, or even a Choreography move.  Experiment with this, and feel the difference intention makes!

2.  BE PRESENT

Being present at rehearsal means more than just physically showing up.  It means eliminating all mental interference so you can be fully and mindfully present in each moment of your rehearsal.  Why do we care?  Well – being present in each moment allows the space for the most inspiration and grounded energy, creative flow and performance connection.

How:  This will take some practice, as there are an infinite amount of external and internal interferences to take us out of the present moment.  First step is to let go of any mental interference getting in the way of your being able to be 100% present.  Stuff in your head before rehearsal?  Leave it at the door!  Interference happening during rehearsal?  Say “How Fascinating” and allow yourself to defer the thoughts for later.  Re-focus to your director.  Re-focus to your breath. The point of power is in the present moment! RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!

3. SHOW UP AS A LEARNER

This is why we rehearse. To learn.  To improve.  To grow.  Even our Queens of Harmony agree that chorus rehearsal is about improving their craft.  Yet how quickly we revert to our “judging” mindset when perhaps we sing a wrong note, run out of air, miss a choreo move etc.   At rehearsal, we want to adopt a growth mindset and show up as a learner to open up creative possibilities.  Our journey to personal mastery is a lifelong process.  If we have finished learning, we are dead.

How: Accept that your skill level right now is merely your starting point – and that you are at rehearsal to improve.  Mark your starting point so that you can measure each small increment of improvement. When we show up as a learner, we are in effect saying we do not know everything; that we are open and willing to grow.  The pressure lifts and the space opens up when you relieve yourself of the burden of having to know everything. Think of mistakes as opportunities to improve instead of self-judging failures that shut down your mind

Adopt the mantra “I am a Learner” and feel how your rehearsal experience positively shifts.

 

Lions Gate Chorus clip on CBC

CBC’s Margaret Gallagher visits Lions Gate Chorus and interviews director Sandy Marron, Team Coordinator Cammi Mackinlay and Inner Coach Jan Carley at their Final Dress Rehearsal before their 60th Anniversary Concert Sat. 22 Nov at the Massey Theatre, New Westminster BC  7:30 pm   Info. at http://lionsgatechorus.ca

TICKETS will be available at the door.  Afterglow following the concert.

Hear the CBC Interview:

The Competition’s Over – Now What?

Check out the article I wrote that is printed in the latest SAI Pitchpipe and be sure to  bookmark it for future reference – you will need it!

The Competition’s Over – Now What Pitchpipe Feb 2014

Cheers,

Jan

Jan Carley, Inner Coach of Barbershop

http://www.innercoachofbarbershop.com

jan@innercoachof barbershop.com

How to have a flourishing Charlie Parker kind of year

Charlie Parker was one of the great sax players of the 20th century who once said, “Music is simply melody, harmony and rhythm. That’s it!”  Imagine how those focusing on those 3 concepts could create a simple yet flourishing 2013.

1. MELODY: Choose a simple melody for the year, something that has to do with deep meaning related to compassion, community, and contribution.

2. HARMONY: Consider carefully those with whom you can best harmonize around this melody, those who will align with your purpose and feed your soul most powerfully.

3. RHYTHM:  Create a rhythm or pace – perhaps a range of rhythms and paces — that will ensure both contribution and self-care as you move through the coming year with grace and gratitude

*reprinted with permission from Brian Fraser’s JAZZ THINK TIPS ezine www.jazzthink.com

How does the need to be perfect get in your way?

I love the following quote by George Benson. It’s a wonderful reminder that no one cares if you make a mistake. However, it’s our fear of making a mistake that robs us from experiencing our true potential and making the deepest musical connections with our audiences. 

“The greatest thing I think that happened to me was, one day I heard a record by the number one guitarist of all time, Andre Segovia, and some place in this classical concerto…he made a little bobble. And I said, ‘Andre Segovia made a mistake! If he can make a mistake, who the heck am I? Who cares whether I make a mistake?’ So I played with reckless abandonment, didn’t worry about mistakes any more. Best thing that could ever happen to me ’cause if you worry about the music, you can’t do it with conviction. So I stopped worrying about it and now I have a career that I never imagined.”
–George Benson, in an interview with Aamer Haleem (CTV Morning Live, May 2012)

In our barbershop art form  it is easy to get trapped into solely focusing on technical mastery which can hugely limit our vocal freedom , emotional expression and possibilities for true connections with our audiences. Do you ever hold back, or limit yourself out of fear of making a mistake? I welcome your comments here.

Free chapter download: Start your 2012 Barbershop life with an Appreciative Approach

Seasons Greetings to all Barbershoppers!  As a Merry Christmas gift to you I would love you all to download the first chapter from my hit book, Harmony from the Inside Out, in which the fundamental principle that is transforming chorus directors, teams and choruses worldwide is outlined.  The chapter is called “Playing the A Game – Living in Possibility” . 

Click the link below to download  Chapter 1 and start your barbershop life on an exciting new path for 2012!  BOOK_HarmonyFromTheInsideOut_ch1

Oh, and there is still time to order the book and get delivery before the New Year! … Order now at : http://www.harmonyfromtheinsideout.com

Cheers,

Jan Carley, Inner Coach of Barbershop www.innercoachofbarbershop.com