Someone once said to me, "Ya know, Cal, you're just a kind and good dude." He then asked if that's just how I am or if I had to put in a lot of effort to be a "good dude." I answered that it's both. I've always been inclined to be kind to others (thanks parents!), and there is intentional action that I take to make sure that I am continuing to be a thoughtful and supportive person.
In answering that question I realized that I no longer need to place a ton of effort on being kind to others because at this point it's a part of my being.
Now I don't mean to sound immodest here, I just wish to provide a helpful example of how I’ve used the framework below to make kindness a part of my being.
The best part of the framework that I'll share is that no matter your starting place, consistent intentional action eventually transforms your way of being. And though some effort will be required, moving towards your intentional way of being will not continue to be a laborious effort. Assuming we're moving towards something we wish to become, any effort we make will feel like an investment we’re excited to contribute to.
1. Start With an Intention
This could be the way you wish to treat others or the virtues you wish to embody. Begin with the end in mind. If someone asked you a similar question to what I was asked above, what virtue would you wish they asked you about?
Ya know, [your name], you're just a [insert virtue/trait] [dude/gal/friend/preferred pronoun here].
2. Follow Your Intention With Action
Maybe you want to be more patient. Wanting to be more patient is one thing, being patient when the time calls for it is another. How can you remind yourself to be more patient? How can you remember to breathe when you feel yourself getting frustrated?
Write down your intention and then the #1 action that, if you consistently take it, will allow you to more consistently show up embodying that virtue.
3. Build Conviction and Confidence
The more you take intentional action, the more confidence you'll build and the greater conviction you'll harness that this trait is a part of you. Continue to take intentional action and over time, it will become your way of being.
4. Be Who You Set Out to Be
We will never be perfect and embody the virtue we intended to 100% of the time. However, we can come to a place where we can see just how much our intentional action has helped us become more of the person we set out to become.
Create the intention for who you want to be. Follow that with consistent action that allows you to show up in that away. Along the way you'll build conviction and confidence in being that person. Then, enjoy being who you set out to be.
Let's do this.