Updated: Apr 5
Goals, resolutions, intentions... On one hand they seem similar in that they are a declaration of where we want to go. But look more closely.
I discovered the power of intention setting when I decided to run the New York City Marathon in 2016. Along the way I learned about this really cool company called MyIntent, an organization that does way more than sell bracelets - they help people move their lives forward.
In this week's interview with COO Dave Pan, he talks about how important the process and journey is, not just the destination. Enjoy!
How and when did we first meet?
I met you through MyIntent! I had just joined the company in 2017 and you were a big supporter of our mission and reached out on LinkedIn to connect. Turns out you worked in the same neighborhood that I lived in so we met up for coffee on numerous occasions and have had some fun conversations since!
You're the Chief Operating Officer at MyIntent.org. What does MyIntent do?
Our mission is to be a catalyst for meaningful conversations and positive action. We achieve our mission in two ways. First, by asking our customers “What’s Your WORD?” and creating custom intention bracelets or necklaces that act as wearable reminders of one’s WORD of intention – a WORD that helps you focus on your goals, overcome challenges, or helps you become a better version of yourself. Words like STRENGTH, BADASS, BREATHE, GRATITUDE, and YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Second, we sell the tools to make our bracelets so that our customers are empowered to ask their loved ones, friends, teammates, and clients for their WORD. This leads to powerful conversations as people share their WORD and why.
It seems mindset has become such a "thing" these days. Practices like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness have surged in recent years. Why do you think that is?
Unfortunately, we live in a society where we’re often overworked and overstressed. Working extra hours is expected and celebrated. We just “go go go” the moment we wake up. We also live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with distractions and notifications. So, I think people are looking to “mindset” activities like meditation and mindfulness to combat all of the mental stress and stimulation we deal with on a day to day basis.
What exactly is an intention and how is it different from a resolution or goal setting?
An intention focuses on the why and the journey towards a resolution or goal. The definition of a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something.” Therefore, when you make a resolution, it’s all or nothing.
Let’s say you set a resolution to lose 10 pounds - you either lose 10 pounds or you don’t. More likely than not, you don’t and then you’re left feeling like a failure.
Instead, with an intention, we focus on the why or process behind a resolution. Maybe you want to lose weight to have more energy to spend time with your family. Or maybe the hardest part of losing weight is being disciplined.
Your word of intention might then be ENERGY, FAMILY, or DISCIPLINE. This takes the focus off of losing 10 pounds, and instead, focuses on your why or your progress. If you happen to fall off track and stop working out for a week, that’s ok. Just jump back on track and keep going. Your WORD acts as your compass and a MyIntent wearable reminder keeps you focused when life gets busy.
What is the thought process behind having a one word intention vs a longer narrative?
It’s all about keeping things simple and prioritized. We all have so many things pulling at us and our time – family, friends, work, hobbies – so a WORD is powerful to keep us singularly focused. Then, when that goal is achieved, you set your next WORD.
How does one go about identifying an intention?
We offer up the following three questions for reflection to help you find your WORD:
What is a virtue you want more of in your life?
What is an obstacle you want to overcome?
What are you most passionate about and want to do more?
When you try and find your WORD, remember that it’s not a WORD that defines your entire life. It’s a WORD for what you need right now. Maybe you have a big project for work due in 3 months and your word is FOCUS for the next 3 months or you’ve endured some hardship that you want to overcome and it’s a longer journey. Your WORD also doesn’t have to be the ‘perfect’ WORD – don’t let perfection creep in and keep you from starting towards your goal. Your WORD just needs to remind you of what’s most important right now.
We also have a quiz on our website at MyIntent.org/Quiz
What advice do you have for someone to keep their intention front and center and part of daily life?
Keeping your WORD of intention front and center is important in making sure you stay focused – whether that is wearing it or having it on a card at your desk or a sticker on your bathroom mirror, etc. Have a reminder of your WORD somewhere where you’ll see it daily.
We get so many stories from customers who say that they were starting to get anxious before a meeting and they happen to look down at their BREATHE bracelet and it immediately reminded them to just take a moment and refocus. It’s amazing the impact a simple WORD can have in our daily lives.
This is great. Thanks Dave! Now tell us a little bit more about you in our rapid fire round.
Word printed on your MyIntent bracelet: CREATE
Your side hustle: Airbnb Superhost
Where you are living right now: Living in Miami for 1 year then back to Seattle
Newest hobby/past time: Travel hacking and teaching others how to do it too (using credit card points for free travel)
Most famous person you've met: I ran into Scottie Pippen at a club in Shanghai, China when I was studying abroad there in 2007. I went up to him and shook his hand but this was pre-smart phones so no selfie photo.
Next travel destination: Headed to Buenos Aires, Argentina at the end of Feb.
I chose three WORDS for my focus right now: YES I CAN. Check out https://www.myintent.org/for more inspiration.