“I have always felt that one of the chief reasons for success in life is enthusiasm.” —Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
When Christine Ramirez, Dale Carnegie Managing Partner in Southeast Florida, thinks about how to take command and live an intentional life, she says it’s about stopping doing what everyone else is doing. “I think a lot of people look at TV, social media, what their parents did, what their friends are doing, and they get in line, and they do their best, and they think that’s success.”
But taking command of our lives is so much more than following blindly where others have gone or doing what others say. We need to be intrinsically motivated to strive for success and enjoy it when we get it. Christine says, “Living an intentional life is stopping [following others] and saying, ‘what do I want and why?’ and then taking the steps to get there.”
When we decide what we want out of life, then we can pursue it with enthusiasm. “The whole idea behind it is . . . living an intentional life,” says Christine. It’s “a concept that Dale Carnegie, our company’s founder, started when he wrote his original book,” she reminds us.
All of Dale’s writings and principles speak to the idea that we must choose our thoughts, actions, and reactions in order to manifest the life we want and find success. And this is the purpose behind the new Take Command book from Dale Carnegie & Associates. “The concept of take command is really about owning what you want in your life and then getting it,” says Christine.
From harnessing your thoughts and emotions to setting a vision for your life, the concept of intentional living, Dale Carnegie’s principles, and the Take Command insights walk readers through what is an intentional life and how to get there.
Ask yourself these questions: What do I want my life to be about? What legacy do I want to leave?
As Joe Hart and Michael Crom write in Take Command: “Our lives are made up of the tiny decisions we make each day, and if we’re not intentional about our time, those moments will slip away faster than we think.”
Learn 3 Steps to Take Command and Live with Intention.
Step 1: Define your values. Values are the principles that guide our lives and the rules we live by. Take Command tells us that “good values are evidence-based, constructive, and controllable . . . Unhelpful values are emotion-based, destructive, and uncontrollable.”
To determine your values, ask yourself these questions:
- What values do I already operate by?
- How have my experiences shaped my values?
- What are some values I see in people I admire?
- What does a meaningful life look like to me?
Once you’ve compiled your values, choose the top 3-5 most important ones, write them down, and post them somewhere you will be reminded of them. This is critical. We must always keep our values in mind because our values determine how we manifest our purpose.
Step 2: Manifest your purpose and priorities. When it comes to purpose, there’s one with a small p and one with a big P. The small p is the “kind of purpose [that] is synonymous with objectives and goals,” Take Command tells us. This purpose will change through the stages of our lives, and that’s okay. The big P is “overarching, meaning it can stay constant throughout our lives.”
One path you can take to define your purpose is to craft a mission statement. If you’re stuck, start with “I will [do something] for [someone] by [using the skills I have] to [accomplish a result].” Once you know your values and purposes, you can start crafting your vision.
Step 3: Clarify your vision. Your vision should include what you want for your own life and how you want to impact the community around you. But be warned, “if you find yourself saying, ‘I really should,’ it’s likely that you’re writing down someone else’s vision and not your own.” Take Command further reminds us that “we have to define success for ourselves; we can’t let other people’s ideas or expectations of success define what we do in life.”
To clarify your vision, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want?
- What are my skills/interests, and how do they help me achieve what I want?
- What actions will I have to take to achieve what I want?
- What does that look like on a daily basis?
- What does the world need, and how am I uniquely suited to provide it?
4 Tips for Conquering These Steps to Take Command & Live an Intentional Live
Tip 1: Don’t limit yourself:
Take Command tells us to think big: “There is no one here to correct you or tell you that you can’t do something.” It is only by dreaming of a brighter future and heading toward it that we will finally reach it.
Tip 2: make time for reflection:
Set aside a few moments to think and work through each of these steps. This isn’t a task for a quick ten-minute work break. These are serious exercises that will require thought and introspection. Make sure you’re taking ample, uninterrupted time to develop your values, purpose, and vision.
Tio 3: Remember that this isn’t a solitary effort.
Living out our visions to honor our purpose requires gaining the trust and cooperation of others. By strengthening our people skills, communication skills, and leadership skills, we will better be able to involve others in our vision and have them support our intentional life.
Tip 4: Use tools to help.
Whether that’s a tool such as a personal/professional development class or a book like Take Command, there are plenty of resources and opportunities available to help you reach your ultimate vision.
So, go out and find your own success. Move toward it with purpose while honoring your values, and you’ll discover how everything in your life comes together for a brighter future.