Living Intentionally Through Story

Today I woke up early to start writing today’s blog post. I’m not a morning person, but it’s amazing how when you are doing something you love it makes jumping out of bed a lot easier. Our book of the week, John C. Maxwell‘s Intentional Living, I thought would be a great book to read the week before the new year. Each week I read and write about the book of the week. It’s a big goal and to be honest, some of my family has thought I’ve gone crazy! I want to learn from those who are really great teachers about leadership and self development so I can be the absolute best person I can be. And instead of just reading and holding myself accountable, I reach out to you. This way I can teach and have a better understanding, and I can share what I’ve learned.

In the beginning of Maxwell’s book, John talks about the importance of story. It’s true stories will stay with people a lot longer than numbers. However he emphasizes being the story.  “Most people want to hear or tell a good story. But they don’t realize they can and should be the good story… …They see or hear a story and react to it emotionally and intellectually. But they go no further. People who live intentionally jump in and live the story themselves.”¹

I love that! I want to live an intentional life that impacts others and I want to be the story. How about you? I think one of the hardest things to do is to start. Funny thing is that I actually had the idea of this blog for a while before I started. I really didn’t know where to start and I had even run a blog in the past. Finally, I had bronchitis in October and what do you know? I finally couldn’t do much besides sit and read or write. That’s were the ideas for this particular blog kind of gelled together, and I took action.

“You don’t know what you’re doing when you start. Nobody is good at the beginning of doing something new. Get over it. Novelist Ernest Hemingway said, ‘The first draft is always crap.’ (Only he didn’t say crap!) And he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. If you want to live a life that matters, don’t start when you get good; start now so you can become good… …The idea is to deliver our best each time we try until one day, we become good. And then one day, we may even have a chance to be great. That’s growth. But we can’t evolve if we don’t start.”²

Starting is always the hardest part. At least it is for me. Starting involves blinding moving forward. You may have a vague idea of how everything will come together. You may have no idea at all. It’s downright scary! It requires some bravery. I think it requires even more bravery the older you get, because you’ve gone through the failures. You’ve learned to do some things that helped you get by. You’ve worked hard at your place in this world and change involves changing everything you’ve built up even if it’s not so good. You risk a lot more when you’re no longer in your 20s. I think it’s why young people can often be so innovative with business and music. Young people take more risks because they are practiced in it. Everything is new to them.

In last week’s book, Good to Great by Jim Collins, he talks about the enemy of becoming great, “Few people attain great lives in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majorities of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is their main problem.”³

Below is a list of John C. Maxwell’s list of words used by those with good intentions, who live intentionally, and those who live a life that matters.

Words of Good Intention           Words of Intentional Living          A Life That Matters4

  • Desire                                          Action                                               Results
  • Wish                                            Purpose                                            Fulfillment
  • Someday                                     Today                                                Every Day
  • Fantasy                                        Strategy                                            Follow-Through
  • Hopefully                                    Definitely                                         Continually
  • Passive                                        Active                                                Proactive
  • Occasional                                  Continual                                         Habitual
  • Emotion                                      Discipline                                         Lifestyle
  • Somebody Should                     I Will                                                 I Do
  • Survival                                      Success                                             Significance

Sarah Jackson

Vigilant Poster Girl


  1. Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell pg 5
  2. Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell pg 11
  3. Good to Great by Jim Collins pg 1
  4. Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell pg 29

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