The Story Behind the Intentional Living Manifesto

Have you even seen a car that’s stuck in the mud. Or, even worse, have you been in a car that’s stuck in the mud? It’s frustrating situation to be in. The car has fuel, it has power, the wheels are spinning so you know that the car works. But it just can’t get any traction.

Mud

That’s a bit how I was feeling in the Summer of 2014. But before I can tell you that story I have to back up a little further. . .

I graduated from New Hope Christian College the spring of 2013. Within a week of graduation I moved and got married to the love of my life. I’m sure it’s no surprise that after the crunch of finals, moving, and a wedding all back-to-back, I was glad to take it easy over the summer. It was nice to take a break from the craziness and enjoy the new life I was building with my new bride.

Once the leaves started turning brown, however, I was ready to start kicking butt and taking names. Originally I’d wanted to go to seminary, but that wasn’t in the budget. So, instead, I decided to take on a challenge to improve my life by introducing new habits on a regular basis. And, hey, why not start a blog at the same time?

I wanted to start by adding a new habit each week. And my wife (in her vast wisdom and knowledge of my tendency to forget reality when coming up with new ideas) talked me down to a habit every two weeks. Eventually I had to dial it back to a habit every three weeks because I was getting overwhelmed. But, even that was so overwhelming that I just stopped my challenge altogether.

I felt like a car stuck in the mud. I wanted to do something significant. I wanted to get in shape. I wanted to write. I wanted to be able to support my family without my wife having to work. But, as hard as I tried I just kept spinning my tires.

I started to do an autopsy on my experiment. What did I do wrong? What did I do right? Why didn’t it work? What would work to help me get traction and make progress?

In the process of starting and failing my challenge I had discovered an important theme: Intentional living. The problem was that I didn’t know what to do with it. It was just a phrase. Something I couldn’t shake, but that I didn’t know what to do with.

Then I went to a conference.

Problogger was hosting an academy with the World Domination Summit conference in Portland, Oregon. I heard about it and jumped at the opportunity! I took a little time off work and bought two tickets so my wife and I could go together.

[Tweet “Sometimes when you’re stuck all you need is a little nudge.”]

I was hoping for some inspiration to help me with my blog.

I got it.

And much more.

Jeff Goins was one of the speakers at the academy. He mostly talked about finding your voice as a writer. But he also talked about picking a fight. He said that every blogger should write a manifesto, a document that picks a fight, that takes a stand. Something that defines what you’re about clearly and boldly.

That resonated with me. I knew that I needed to write something down that would both clarify what my blog was all about and be a valuable resource for others.

So, I set out to write a manifesto about intentional living. I didn’t know yet what it would say, or where it was going to wind up, I just started writing trying to make sense of things as I went.

The manifesto I have today isn’t anything like that first draft. It’s been through several iterations and versions. But as I wrote that first draft it became clear to me what exactly it means to live intentionally. I began to realize the principles behind intentional living that could help anyone to get traction in their life and start making progress.

I’m still early in this journey. I’m still just beginning. But I’ve learned so much already and I’m excited to share what I’ve already learned and what I’m still learning as we go along.

So that’s the story of The Intentional Living Manifesto. Writing it was the thing that helped me to find traction and stop spinning my tires. I hope that by reading it you’ll find the tools you need to get unstuck in your life as well.

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