The Magic of Clear Intentions: Life Lessons from Jessica Sanchez

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I recently went to our local Creative Morning Speaker Series, at the HistoryMiami Museum — which by the way, is the second oldest cultural institution in South Florida, and is definitely worth a visit.

This was only my second time at a Creative Mornings event, and I was looking forward to a different venue with a different voice.

The speaker that morning was Jessica Sanchez, a young real estate entrepreneur, chef, and owner of Latin comfort food restaurant Loba — who shared her entrepreneurial story with us.

From financial analyst to restaurant owner, Jessica was featured on Zagat’s ‘30under 30’ and also hosted Zagat’s original series ‘Foodways’. She just recently finished producing her own show about couples who work together in the restaurant industry, called SPARK.

Zagat’s Show Foodways – Season 1, Episode 1

Now, it seems like Ms. Sanchez has it all figured out, and she certainly is inspiring to listen to and talk with. But what I found most inspiring was her journey.

It was not all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, no rainbows, no butterflies... for a while.

But yet, here she is — successful, happy, in love, and fulfilled. This is what we all strive for — I know I do. And it can be both inspiring and difficult to see someone at the top, where you want to be. It can feel exciting, yet overwhelming to see that success standing before you and not be clear as to how to start your own journey.

I’ve struggled with this in many aspects of my life, but mainly in my writing. I see an end result and desire it so greatly. But the road to get there is fuzzy, and therefore daunting.

All of the sudden it feels impossible, and as the pressure to reach the goal mounts, the joy of the journey gets lost; so lost that you almost forget why you wanted to even do it in the first place.

This is where creativity goes to die (and I’ve been sitting here for a while).

Listening to Jessica speak Friday morning was not only insanely motivating, but couldn’t have been more timely.

Clear intentions.

That’s what it took.

Jessica explained that recognizing and establishing clear intentions for herself and her actions was really what helped her find her success.

So what are clear intentions exactly?

First, let’s explain what unclear intentions are.

These are result-based actions; focused on end-goals, rather than on the process. Unclear intentions are the ones done without giving any importance to how one feels. And lastly, they’re those in which you are trying to control everything.

Therefore, clear intentions, Ms. Sanchez went on to explain, come from within rather than outside influences.

Having clear intentions means living in the moment, and trusting in the process. Rather than anticipating the end results, it’s about intuitively caring how you’re feeling throughout it all. Consciously and mindfully.

You know, that phenomenon called ‘self-awareness’ or something.

Okay, sounds easy enough.

So why do most of us still struggle with this?

I know I just shared this idea with you 2 seconds ago, so naturally you need some time to establish your own intentions, but what I’m saying is, these can be hard to establish.

Creating intentions that are not result-based? Didn’t we learn that this is how we establish goals? If we aren’t focused on the end goal, what is motivating us to move forward?

This, I think, is where a lot of us falter. We see an end-goal and either A, we rush to get there, not even paying attention to the process; or B, we feel so overwhelmed with the seemingly impossibility of reaching the end-goal, that we hold back from simply beginning.

We never take the first step. We never sign up for the class. We never book the trip. We never pick up the pen.

But to trust in the process, to actually get satisfaction out of the process of getting there — isn’t that enough incentive to get started?

Jessica shared an example of this in her real life. An opportunity came about to produce her own show, this is something that she always wanted to do, and she did it! She followed through and produced her own show.

And at the end of it all, plans had changed and the show wasn’t aired. Not because it wasn’t worthy — but details behind the scenes, companies changing hands, you know, things that are out of her control.

In the end, she said, it didn’t matter. She did it. She produced her own show.

During its production, she got to travel and meet people she never would’ve met, and eat food she never would’ve eaten, and experience something different in life.

Even better, she said that the show not getting aired didn’t overshadow the amazing process she went through to get there, and the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that she got out of it.

How many of us can say that?

It’s a tough pill to swallow, realizing that what you’ve been working towards isn’t actually turning out to what you thought it would be. But you know what they say about plans…

If we trust in the process and live in the moment, then when plans do inevitably change, maybe we can avoid the disappointment and simply enjoy the experience for what it was. Maybe it will lead to a new outcome, a better one than we initially anticipated.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have goals, but don’t let the idea of the perfect ending overshadow the process. Enjoy the ride.

Jessica also tells us that the need for control over a situation is an element of having unclear intentions.

I had a therapist once (TMI, I know) who told me that the more you try to control a situation, the more out of control it will begin to feel — the tighter you hold onto something, the less control you truly have.

It’s these guidelines that Ms. Sanchez followed to get to where she is today. And no, she is not an overnight success by any means. There are a lot of steps that go into following through with, and eventually fulfilling your dreams.

You’re going to fall down and you’re going to make mistakes and you’re probably going to have to remind yourself why you decided to begin this journey in the first place.

By having clear intentions, the process becomes a little less fuzzy and a little more achievable.

And hey, at least you’ll have fun along the way!

Katy Prohira