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Intentional Certainty Brings Clarity…Even On a Trip to New York!

November 4, 2018

Most recently, I was in New York.

I went to New York with a very good friend, and we had planned to travel together because he wanted to go on my next New York trip. So we did it! I thought. I thought it would be fun to go with someone who lived in New York for most of his life. He’s fun to be with and I knew he’d suggest some fun things to do and fun experiences.

And then, I found out about a week before our trip, he had met someone from out of the country and they had planned to meet while on this New York trip. He told me he would meet up with me between his visits with this gal – they were going to have a fun little love fest the five days we were in NY!!

That just did not feel in alignment, to say the least!

I thought, Wow, why are we on the same flight to New York? Why are we going at the same time if he’s just going to “fit me in?” I felt “dissed,” once I got over the shock of this new information.

So he canceled all of the “fitting in” when I shared my feelings about it. And truly, it wouldn’t have mattered if it had been a love fest, or anything else – my intentional assumption was that we were going to do our own things during the day, and then connect in the late afternoon or early evening to meet up and enjoy each other and the city.

I shared that it didn’t bother me whether it was a man or woman he was meeting up with, but I had assumed our trip together was to maximize our time together! So he canceled with the gal, but then I found out he scheduled another evening out with a different friend, even after I shared my feelings and specifically told him how I felt with friend #1.

He knew I didn’t have dinner plans for that evening, but he said, “I’d invite you, but she wants my full attention.” I turned around and said, “I don’t really know who you are.”

Then I realized: that was intentional assumption on my part, not intentional certainty.

He didn’t have any assumptions about our trip, he was certain about the trip.

His Intentional Certainty was:

  1. He wanted to go to New York when I was there
  2. He wanted to go at the same time I was there
  3. He wanted to go on the same flight

Those are all intentional certainties. Now, I’m not sure what his Intentional Assumption was, if any, but my Intentional Assumption was that we’d go to New York together and we would have enjoyable afternoons and dinners (we were staying at different hotels until the last two days where we were sharing a suite).

The Intentional Certainty that would have cleared all this up is if I had asked in advance which nights we were going to have dinner instead of assuming we’d have dinner every night. Because we did get Broadway tickets for one night, so we did make plans for some one evening in advance.

Another Intentional Assumption on my part was that after our evenings together concluded, the night would be over. But he made plans every night to meet up with people after our night together finished – he was ready for round two at 11:30PM.

I never made my assumptions certainties!

It’s similar to going to a restaurant: I’m going to an Italian restaurant and I’m hungry. When I tell the waiter I want the linguine with clam sauce, that’s Intentional Certainty.

Intentional Assumption would be if I said to the waiter, “I’m so hungry, but I don’t know what I want. I can’t eat red sauce. Can you just bring me something that doesn’t have red sauce that I’ll like?” And then when he brings it out, I hate it, because I just assumed I’d want whatever was put in front of me when that’s never the case!

Intentional Assumption is what you think inside: it’s your desire, what you want to see happen. Intentional Certainty makes sure that you communicate specifically to yourself….and the other party what you want. Now, that’s particularly important if there’s someone else involved, but that’s important even if it’s just you!

I’m going to a fundraising gala soon. So my assumption is I’m going to get dressed up and bring someone as a date. Now, that’s not really clear – even for me! That’s the assumption I have about it, but there’s no clarity around it.

Intentional Certainty is when I ask someone to go with me, they say yes, we take the time to coordinate the evening (attire, transportation, etc.), and I find out if there is anything we’re going to do afterwards (I learned that lesson after my New York trip!).

Now, if you know me, you know it’s not in alignment with me to plan everything out – there’s something to be said for allowing for flexibility and spontaneity!

But Intentional Certainty is an excellent strategy to be productive and receive results in fewer communication errors, so it’s definitely important. However, if you’re like me, you can allow for spontaneity once you get there – you don’t have to plan it to death!

When you just plan enough of the big pieces so you can be certain about what you’re doing, you can show up and flow – and that allows all the magic of life to come in!

Let’s recap:

  1. Intentional Assumption – This is your desire around something – what you want to have happen, and what you believe will happen if everything just went according to your secret plan you’ve not shared with anyone.
  2. Intentional Certainty – You create the right environment for your desires, or assumptions, to come to fruition by being intentionally certain. That means not being afraid to ask questions, being comfortable with alternatives to your first choice if your first choice isn’t available, and making a concrete plan that you can hold yourself (and anyone else involved) to. This requires communication, forethought and asking for what you want.
  3. Intentional Spontaneity – You show up and be your authentic self, knowing that even if you’ve planned out your situation, life always throws in some curve balls. Have fun and swing for the fences!

With my recent trip to New York with my friend, he was running solely on Intentional Certainty. He’d made plans – he’d made lots of plans, with me, with other ladies, with his friends, with his son, every single moment of his trip was planned out. Did he allow for Intentional Spontaneity? I don’t know – that’s for him and his life.

Often, we’ll get frustrated and upset when our plans don’t come to fruition the way we intended or wanted them to. When that happens, we have to ask ourselves: was I certain about this, or did I assume things that I shouldn’t have? Did I ask for what I wanted? Was I so certain about my pre-arranged plans, I didn’t allow room for spontaneity to bring me something even better?

The spontaneity piece is more important than you realize – you have to be aware and intentional about being spontaneous!

For instance, with my upcoming gala – I’m thinking I’d like a male date, but what if I met a lovely man there? I couldn’t ditch my date and go out for a nightcap with that man. Now, I could take a female friend, but I really want to bring a gentleman. So instead of considering the spontaneity of meeting someone at the gala, I could create spontaneity with what we do after the gala.

I’m also planning a trip to Croatia next year – I’m going to be taking ten people for a writing course abroad in May. I’m so excited! This is my assumption – how am I going to make it certain?

I’ll create a course curriculum, I’ll find the right people in alignment to make the journey, and I’ll allow for the magic of spontaneity once we get there. And, I’ll definitely ask for what I want!

This recent New York trip felt so out of alignment for me. When that happens, it can be a bump in the road! But life is such a gift, and this experience allowed me the opportunity to think through all these pieces and figure out how and why that trip felt out of alignment.

If I hadn’t gone through that confusing and frustrating experience with my male friend, I never would have gotten clarity on Intentional Assumption, Intentional Certainty, and Intentional Spontaneity. And now I can bring these three principles into everything I do!

So you see, even when things don’t go “according to plan” (and gosh, when do they ever?!), you can learn from the experience. By exploring the areas of your life or business where you’re being Intentionally Assumptive, you can come up with a plan to be Intentionally Certain, and allow for Intentional Spontaneity.

I’m excited to see where this shows up for you this week!

Here’s to being in full alignment!!
Ruth