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The Intentional Action Matrix

Note: See below about the IAM Workshop on July 13, 2020 and downloading the white paper.

Answering the Call to Action

“Do something!”

In the reality that is 2020, that is a cry we all hear more and more often. Whether it’s because of the outcry of overt racial injustice, concerns and fears about non-compliance with public health directives in the face of a  pandemic, or the simple driving desire to take care of your family (and your income!), most of us want to do something—anything!—that will make a difference. 

People usually aren’t very good at just sitting still, especially when we have to sit alone with our thoughts and our fears. Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what actions I need to take in my life and what would actually make a difference. Many people invest huge amounts of their time, energy and sanity worrying about what they could do, never finding a satisfying answer, and end up feeling worse than before.

I have developed a concept to address that problem—the Intentional Action Matrix™ (or IAM for short), and it can help you look at the world differently: from the standpoint of what you can do that is not only powerful and also possible to execute. It also helps clarify where we find ourselves wasting our efforts. The IAM can be represented in a simple 2×2 grid. The main characteristics of the grid are:

  1. The External & The Internal: What is the true origin of the issue? Is it something you’re dealing with in your own head? Or is it something outside of your reach?
  2. The Impersonal & The Personal: Is this issue is about you, or about someone or something else? 

The Intentional Action Matrix helps you think about the issue and organize the information into four quadrants.  It can be illuminating to see where the information falls so you can discern what action one can actually take to make a difference. I have found that this not only can help with issues such as a discernment about your career, but also about how to manage both your internal and external state, and the reactions that arise within you from these situations. Let’s briefly review the four quadrants in the IAM.

  • The External and Impersonal quadrant contains things that are not about you (impersonal) and are outside of your own control. The most effective action that you can take on External and Impersonal issues is to Let Go.
  • The External and Personal quadrant contains things that are outside of yourself, but affect you personally. The most effective action that you can take on External and Personal things is Influence
  • The Internal and Impersonal quadrant contains thoughts that get inside your head and eat away at you, but are not about you. The most effective action that you can take on Internal and Impersonal elements is to Set Boundaries.
  • The Internal and Personal quadrant contains your internal ideas that are all about you and your desires. The Internal and Personal quadrant is the only quadrant that you have complete control over. The most effective action for the Internal and Personal quadrant is to Develop Steps and Goals.

For example, you might need to do some research or write up an article (Internal and Personal) in order to influence a group (External and Personal). Alternatively, you might limit your input of news and social media (Internal and Impersonal) to limit your exposure to issues of the world you can’t change (External and Impersonal).

Next Actions

  • READ: You can download a white paper with more thorough description of the Intentional Action Matrix to see the conceptual details.
  • LEARN: In order to explore this further, I am facilitating an online workshop to review the Intentional Action Matrix and give people a chance to approach an issue in their lives. The workshop will be on Tuesday, August 4, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. EDT on Zoom. Please register on the Google Registration form and while the workshop is free, donations are accepted via PayPal and Venmo.
  • FIND OUT: Further exploration of the Intention Action Matrix will be through workshops, discussions, and other events through Resonare Consulting, which will be listed on the Resonare Calendar of Events and in The Resonating Life Newsletter.

I look forward to seeing you there, and to hearing your thoughts on the Intentional Action Matrix concept!

Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

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