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Drill with Intent

I'm not going to lie, I was a mess my first few months of Jiu-Jitsu. I'd come back to class and have zero recollection of what I did the previous week. I felt awkward and out of place and fumbly. Half the time I didn't know my right from my left or which leg went where or how to even tie my belt.

Full stop, I wasn't showing up to class with Intention. And that held me back big time.

At some point it hit me that if I was ever going to progress, I needed to set micro-goals. I use the term "goal" loosely here; think "fervent desire". I needed to set an Intention for each class, and once I hit the mat, I had to Drill with Intent.

Game changer.

This past Saturday, I showed up to my weekly co-ed class with one Intention in mind: practice some new frames I'd watched on YouTube, and don't get submitted. Drill with the sole Intention of not setting myself up for imminent failure.

I left sans-submission. Victory.

(To be fair, I'm 100% positive that a few of my rolling partners could have submitted me if they wanted to, but I'm lucky enough to roll with some pretty patient and exceptional human beings. I may have also escaped certain doom by kneeing one partner straight in the eyeball, for which I profusely apologized. If you read my post about rolling unapologetically, addendum: apologize when you should.)

It's a mystery why the Intention piece took me so long to fit into this puzzle of Jiu-Jitsu. I am desperately thorough about pouring a cup of intention into everything I do, especially given the amount of time I spent aimless.

But BJJ was uncharted territory in my neural road maps. Nothing I had experienced before prepared me whatsoever for the feeling of absolute helplessness that I faced on the mat in those first few months. Where I normally placed Intention, instead I inserted apprehension and fear of looking stupid.

And my oh my, isn't that an analogy for life.

Seriously, sit back and ask yourself what you bring with you to new or different situations. Life scenarios. What do you leave at the door, and what do you always pack?

Do you face a new challenge with self-doubt and uncertainty, or do you tackle any obstacle head-on with full Intention of clearing the hurdle? If you're in the latter group, bless you, I'm jealous.

So many times in my life I've given up (or not even started something new) solely because of that cliche Fear of the Unknown. And you know what? It got me nowhere.

When I was nearing the end of my drinking days, one foot in the door of AA and the other in the bar, I wasn't willing to take that final step through the portal. I didn't have any Intention for my sobriety, I only had fear.

What would I do about friends? Everyone I knew was a heavy drinker. That's all I did to socialize! What would I do for work? I'd only ever worked in bars. What if I couldn't do the work and everything just fell apart again? Back to square one? What if, what if, what if. What if nothing.

Hypotheticals are useful, foresight is necessary for success, but drowning in worry and apprehension do nothing but debilitate.

All of that changed when I became willing. Not just willing to quit drinking, but willing to set an Intention for my life post-alcoholism. When I couldn't find that willingness myself, practicing Intention found it for me.

My sponsor had me practice an excercise that changed everything.

Write down all of the things you want to happen on little strips of paper. Put them in a pretty little box, and take one out every morning. Pray on it. That's your Intention for the day. Just focus on that.

I swear the first few weeks, one of the only slips that I pulled said "Just stay sober". That was my primary Intention for countless days, and eventually - I did just that.

This excercise helped me realize that Intention (and the change begotten by that Intention) doesn't have to be monumental. You don't have to show up every day planning to take over the world. But focusing on something, anything, will help pull you forward. Tried and true, my friends, tried and true.

So the next time you wake up, pull a slip out of your mental box of "I wants". Or, even better, create your own Intention box. Set an Intention for the day, feel it pulling at your soul, and leave the Fear of the Unknown at the door. Start small, think big, look forward.

I challenge you to create space for Intention, invoke its power, and amaze yourself with the results.

And the next time you hit the mats, Drill with Intent.

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