Know Your Intention

A philosophical break from just music and conducting posts…

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I don’t normally do this but I wanted to start with a quote from the book The Buddha Walks Into The Office, by Lodro Rinzler: “Once we know ourselves well, we can be true to who we are. The first step is to know our intention – both large intentions, like knowing why we are engaging in our line of work, and smaller ones, such as knowing what we want to accomplish on a given day.”

Have you thought about why you are doing the job you have right now? It’s funny that I read this the morning after I found a letter confirming my in person interview from my first college teaching gig 20 years ago. It was in a textbook (I obviously haven’t opened in 20 years…) I was showing some students. Before I go any deeper, I just have to fondly reminisce about resume paper. Ah, yes, resume paper. Those were the days. With the matching envelopes! You knew you were big time when you applied for a job that way.

I honestly can’t remember what made me go down the path of college band director when I had no prior training in the field. But I did know that I found my home once I started my first day. I also knew enough to resign that job after one year and go get trained in the field! But when was the last time you thought about why you are in the job you are in? But it is an important question to ask yourself from time to time. Your attitude towards your job reflects in the way you do, or don’t do, your job. You might just need to remind yourself from time to time why you went in to the profession you are in. Finding that letter was a good reminder for me.

If you are a teacher, and miserable in your job, you might be projecting that misery on to your students! If you are in any field and hate your job, it does project on to those people you work with every day. Vibes travel!

How about the small intentions. What will your small intention be tomorrow? Maybe it will be just to be happier in your daily routine. Maybe it will be to be nicer to someone who you struggle to get along with at work. Maybe it will be just to smile more. Vibes travel… Lodro Rinzler recommends writing your small intention down and then going back to it from time to time and reflecting on it at the end of the day if possible. Imagine if you had one small intention every day, and followed through.

As a teacher, what is one thing you want your students to walk away with at the end of the day? It could be as small as the confidence that rubs off when they see you confident in what you are doing. It could be how to better handle relationships as they see you work closely with colleagues. Your students notice those things. Your every action imprints on your students. Think about it! You are the cumulative effect of every interaction you have had. I think back to 44 years (oh wait, I mean 21 years) of interactions I have had and can see how my teachers, fellow classmates, family, relationships, and friends all became part of me. And this isn’t just for the teachers. In whatever career you are in, every interaction you have leaves an imprint on the other person. Make it a positive one that will help those around you grow. And those around you leave an imprint on you.

So back to the knowing your intention:
1. Why are you engaging in your line of work?
2. What do you want to accomplish tomorrow?

Why the picutre? Every day is like driving off in to the fog. You don’t know what is out there right in front of you. But understanding your intention will make the journey a more positive one, with no fear of what is the fog. Unlike the movie. When I was a kid, we went to the drive-in to see the original The Fog. That movie made me terrified of fog for years! No more. I venture off in to the fog excited about the unknown!

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