by James Carter
Founder & CEO, Be Legendary
If I accomplish NOTHING else in this life, I will help at least one person achieve their greatest potential.
Knowing your Legendary Intent is essential to living up to your potential. Without it, you are literally throwing darts blindfolded. Who knows, you might get lucky!
Your Legendary Intent continually expands your awareness, opens doors, creates opportunities and provides you the courage to take action.
My goal is to give away this information to as many people as possible. The world needs you, your GREATEST you, now more then ever!
I wish I could just give you an answer for your Legendary Intent. The truth is I am like you - searching for my greatest potential and constantly revising my LI as I reach one peak and see the next. Legendary is the journey, not the goal.
Complete the statement below:
If I accomplish NOTHING else in this life, I will ________________________.
KEY POINT: There is NO RIGHT ANSWER.
You might have been expecting to be given an answer to complete the statement. THE ANSWER which will make you part of the 4% and achieve great things. If so, I am terribly sorry but you must complete the statement for yourself. This is a process of personal discovery and introspection.
I will only make one promise. You will get 100x or more what you put into the effort. This may be the most important time you spend in your entire life. Because it will shape the rest of your life, if you are truthful with yourself.
SUMMARY WHY YOUR LEGENDARY INTENT IS CRITICAL
Quick understanding of why you LI is worth your time! More detail on each below this summary.
Your LI shapes your world as a KEYSTONE belief. Until now, it is likely someone else's beliefs have shaped your world. With your LI in place, many other aspects of your life will fall into place naturally from relationships, to leadership to life goals.
Beliefs Create Reality
We know from the Pygmallion Effect that beliefs - even the beliefs of those around you - create YOUR reality. So, be the one creating your reality and develop powerful beliefs for yourself.
Simplifies Life Choices
Like in the video above, when you know your LI, choices - big and small - become VERY easy to make, in most cases. If you find choices in life are still a struggle, you don't have your LI yet...
Your Legendary Intent (LI) is a KEYSTONE belief.
Keystone means that it affects everything that surrounds it. Knowing your LI changes your life in SO many ways it is hard to comprehend immediately. It changes the vocabulary you use, what you see in the world and how to see it.
It changes the story you tell yourself. And when you tell yourself the right story over and over, you are training your subconscious to seek out opportunities to fulfill that story. So opportunities you may have missed in the past now stand out clearly.
The choices activity in the video shows how having the right image in mind creates ultimate clarity. Your Legendary Intent is life clarity.
Legendary Intent makes life choices EASY.
Watch the short video on the right and you will see how your LI will simplify your life.
Beliefs create reality.
In a classic study that is now called the Pygmalion Effect, researchers told teachers that certain students had unusually high potential for success in school. The children were, in fact, selected at random.
Several months later, the chosen few were far surpassing their classmates. Why?
The teachers gave the high potential students a little more attention, a little more encouragement that were in line with the teachers expectations.
The students own self-image had changed based upon the teacher’s belief. The BELIEF of the teachers had become the student’s REALITY.
In other words, BELIEFS create REALITY.
Let’s Begin Finding YOUR Legendary Intent!
Find something to write on for some brainstorming.
Make a list of your strengths – DON’T judge them at this point, just write them down.
- I am patient
- I am kind to strangers
- I am SUPER creative
- I am CRAZY passionate
- I am a good listener
You can leave out the “I am’s” but make a HUGE list. Trust me, you have a LOT of strengths. Aim for 25-30 strengths.
Ask other people what are your greatest strengths. You will be surprised, probably a few times at what people think.
Look at the list you created… Count how many you created.
Now, cross off 25% of the strengths you wrote down – the strengths you are LEAST proud of or are somewhat ‘weak’ strengths.
Great, now cross off 25% of what is now left. This might be a little more challenging, be discerning but go with your gut. You can always come back and look at them again later.
And one last time, cross of another 25% of the strengths. Think a bit more about this selection but
You should have between one and three strengths left. Based upon your gut reaction, select the single most important belief for you. You can always go back and pick another, and another and examine each one.
Now, look for the underlying beliefs behind that strength. They are there! Below are possibilities of beliefs behind the mock list above:
- Patience = I value other’s opinions
- Kind to strangers = I believe every person has value
- SUPER Creative = I believe in challenging the status quo
CAUTION! Be kind to yourself. Only occasionally does someone have immediate success or an epiphany about their Legendary Intent.
Typically, even if you have a great idea for your LI, you may need to ‘try it on’ or ‘wear it’ as you say the phrase over and over to yourself. You might need to get the feel of it.
Personal Truth – I went through about 25 different iterations of my LI. Even now, I don’t feel I have truly hit the heart of it. But each iteration has opened HUGE doors for me!
In other words, don’t get discouraged.
Take the few that you worked on and begin putting them into the LI format:
If I accomplish NOTHING else in this life, I will _______________.
Some will resonate, some won’t.
Just because it does not resonate, don’t throw it away! Hang onto your notes – in a journal? – because coming back to your thoughts later will be EXTREMELY valuable.
Spend some time on this and play with what you have. Remember, this is quite possibly the MOST important time you will ever spend as it impacts every fiber of who you are and how you interact in the world.
You are still not done. You still need to connect this to a daily action.
Read the story below if you have a few minutes to get an idea of how Legendary Intent can work.
Then let’s work on your daily action.
If you are REALLY, REALLY struggling with your beliefs, you can actually begin with your daily actions!
How do I know if I have my Legendary Intent?
Picture your life at the end – the VERY end. On your headstone is your legendary intent, minus ‘If I accomplish NOTHING else in this life, I will ________”. Just the blank is on your headstone.
Are you satisfied? Are you happy with what is chiseled in stone there for eternity?
Would a stranger reading your tombstone stop and see who you were? Your life is about how you impact OTHERS. You can continue to do so after you are gone.
Are you beginning to see?
YES! This is extremely hard. We have never been taught to think in this way and now I am asking you to figure out your life’s meaning.
The key is that while this is extremely hard for most people, the ROI on your time (once you figure it out) is beyond ridiculous. Life choices and decisions become easier because you know what you are supposed to be doing.
Look at the goals you have set 10 to 15 years from now. Are they in alignment with your LI? Yes – keep going. No – easy to see you need to make changes.
Read the true story below and you will see how one person discovered her LI from her daily actions and created a legendary legacy every day!
How One Executive’s Legendary Intent Impacted Tens of Thousands.
I worked with an executive named Joy who was struggling with the morale of her organization and specifically, her core group of leaders.
We went out to dinner one night and I began to chat with her about her workplace culture and what was happening. She had a difficult time finding any real solid handles to help her understand so we switched to her personally.
I began asking her about her strengths and digging into each one to find an underlying belief. After several strengths, we landed upon one in particular that clearly excited her. She lighted up like a Christmas tree as soon as she started talking about it – her sense of humor!
She felt that her humor was great personal strength. Under further questioning, she realized one of her core beliefs was that “joy” was incredibly important in life.
So I asked her when was the last time she laughed and she broke down crying in the restaurant. Everyone started looking at me with wicked glances thinking I was making her cry. She couldn’t remember the last time she laughed.
You see, she was the executive director at a women’s shelter and in the last several months they had lost 60% of their funding. This was just after the financial crisis in 2008. This meant that she had to lay off dozens of employees and they were not able to deliver services to women who were in desperate need. Clearly this was not just a ‘workplace’ issue as she felt like a failure. She had failed her employees and more importantly, the women she was supposed to serve, which she thought was her life’s mission.
After she calmed down, she took a hard look at herself, her executives and her workplace, she realized that neither she, nor her staff, laughed at work, even before the crash. Abused women is simply not a laughing matter…
After some introspection and coaching she realized her Legendary Intent was:
“If I accomplish nothing else in this life, I will create joy in the lives of those around me.”
She decided that if “I created joy in the lives of those around me” was written on her headstone, she would be thrilled with that. Of course, she LOVED the humor that her name was also ‘Joy’ and the double meaning it gave.
Using her Legendary Intent as a filter, her “daily mission” was to find one opportunity to make someone laugh every day—just one. What she found was that there were far more opportunities than she ever realized and just like stars after sunset, she began to see them everywhere. Within a week, she had to change her daily goal to LAUGH OUT LOUD, as in belly laugh, because it was too easy to make people ‘chuckle’.
Within a few months, the culture in her staff had completely changed and, indeed, the informal culture of the company was changing. Everyone was taking cues from her!
By the end of the year, they were back to 118% of original funding – even more than before the crash!
Joy said that laughing, even some black humor in dark places, opened people up to look at what they did differently. What seemed impossible was now a ‘maybe’ and they felt open to ask Joy about the opportunity.
Joy died unexpectedly a couple of years ago and I called the family to tell them how much she meant to me. I spoke with her husband and it turns out she had been very specific in her will and left her last gift of Joy for me. On her headstone was “She created Joy in the lives of others”. Yeah, I am balling as I write this…
As in the story above, connecting your Legendary Intent to a daily action is really important.
This is actually the fun part because you get to have an impact that precisely dovetails with your deepest belief.
What can you do, on a daily basis, that delivers upon the promise of your Legendary Intent?
The story above is one way. How about another example?
- SUPER Creative = I believe in challenging the status quo = I will do something to improve myself every day.
Yeah, not SUPER creative daily action but it literally was the first thing that came to mind. Also, that is not ME.
The key here is INTENT.
Your commitment to daily action means that every single day your subconscious will be looking for ways to fulfill your commitment. Opportunities will suddenly appear!
When you set your intention, the action you take is infinitely more powerful. And when you are fulfilling your Legendary Intent, you get a surge of dopamine – yes, that addictive response in the brain!
The first time I completed my daily action, I had a small party in my brain. I couldn’t believe it! I was doing it, I was doing it! A pretty funny story actually and all I did was open a door for someone. Changed my life for the better.
So, what is your Daily Action?
KEY POINT = Working to complete the statement for your LI is almost as important as knowing how to complete it. As you are striving for that deepest belief, you will discover amazing things about yourself.
Bottom line, you may not know the answer immediately. Don’t give up! Remember my promise, it will be worth it.
How a Medical Student’s LI shaped her life.
I started my facilitation life as a ropes course instructor and cabin counselor at a YMCA summer camp in California – Go Camp Oakes! If we really want to change the world, we have to help young people be the person they want be.
So to this day I take certain opportunities to work with youth (I consider up to 25 as ‘youth’) and I met a woman who was part of a mindset workshop for medical students. This was actually considered ‘preventive’ work for the students as they were becoming doctors.
The homework I gave them was the Legendary Intent.
Some people have a great sensitivity to the energy of others. I don’t. I really have to work at it, probably due to part of my upbringing but the bottom line is if I am not paying close attention, I will miss important clues about how a person is feeling.
This was the first time in my life that I could SEE energy. This student came walking toward me the next morning lit up like a Christmas tree. Some people say they can see auras and maybe this is what they see all the time.
She excitedly told me she figured out at the grocery store she went to after our workshop. Apparently the checkout clerk guy was extremely gruff with her and quite rude as he griped, ‘Why can’t anyone take their items out of the basket?’
As she was getting ready to be a snotty bitch right back, she stopped and thought about the Legendary Intent homework. She wasn’t sure what it was but she knew she didn’t want to be a snotty bitch. That was not going to take her where she wanted to go and who she wanted to be.
So she changed her perspective instantly looked at this man with ‘new eyes’, recognizing that he is not a BAD person, but a great person having a bad day.
She said she couldn’t believe she was doing it – almost outside of herself – but she reached over and gently grabbed his elbow as he was reaching for the next item. He stopped and looked at her while she looked back for several seconds – a LONG time to stare at a stranger – and tears began to well up in his eyes and he looked away.
She squeezed his elbow and he looked back and she simply said, “Do you need a hug?” (She told me the next morning it felt like the dumbest thing she has ever said but as she was ‘outside her body’, it just came out). The man said no thank you (of course – sheesh men, be a little vulnerable).
Apparently, the man’s daughter was having emergency surgery and he could not leave as there was no one to cover his shift. If he left, he would be let go.
She was so excited by the incredible experience with the grocery clerk, everyone she interacted with until I saw her the next morning was some kind of magical event for her.
As she approached me in the morning she told me she had it! She knew her LI:
“If I accomplish nothing else in this life, I will be a reflection of the beauty in each person I meet.”
She said that on her headstone it would read: ‘She reflected beauty in the world and people around her.’
On a more tactical note, she keeps in touch with me to this day and I get to hear about the wonderful events in her life.
She was also planning on being a pathologist. While you can be a pathologist and reflect beauty in the people around you, it is MUCH easier to do when you are working with people who are alive.
However, even HAD she continued to be a pathologist, she now knew how to connect her ultimate purpose in life with daily action. No matter the job or career path she chose, she would have been able to create a legendary legacy!
KEY POINT = Connecting your LI to daily action lets you live your ultimate life’s purpose every day, every moment.
Well, not exactly.
The Legendary Intent is actually a piece of what we call, Mindset of a Legend:
Obviously, we have started in the ‘Beliefs’ area. They are all important but the beliefs tend to have a greater impact. So we like to start there.
The interaction between is totally awesome too.
REMEMBER – thinking about your Legendary Intent is almost as important as knowing it. This means you are truly operating at a different level than you have in the past.
How deep does this rabbit hole go? As deep as you want.
Legendary is the journey, not the destination.
You have just begun the greatest adventure of your life. Seriously.
I am excited to continue this journey with you and share everything I have learned along the way as I climb my own legendary peak!