Can we be casually intentional? I recently met a very impressive man. At 79 years of age, he had a confident and pleasing air about him. His demeanor made him look younger than he was. I was unable to put my finger on exactly what it was that made this older gentleman so magnetic until I heard him speak before an audience in the country of Peru.
I was privileged to be invited to a series of meetings in Peru where the purpose was to establish an international alliance with that South American nation to benefit its youth. Both the Peruvian team as well as ours had done much of the work prior to our trip. Our official meeting to sign the agreement was scheduled to take place at the Peruvian Congress in front of a large audience.
Our host, Mr. Jorge Marquez, met us at the security gate and then guided our team inside the building. We first walked into a set of offices and that is when I was introduced to Congressman Hunberto Lay. He quickly welcomed us and asked us to take a seat in a very comfortable and nice part of the office. We spoke for several minutes and I was immediately intrigued by what I later labeled as “casual intentionality.” I was still trying to understand what made this man so different when we were ushered into the main event.
Congressman Lay was the keynote speaker; he was introduced shortly after the ceremonial opening of the event. He began his keynote address with difficult and challenging information about the state of his country. He then looked at the young people in the audience and began to speak directly to them. He spoke of his faith, the need to have positive role models, he quoted the Bible, he shared a bright vision for his country, he gave them a call-to-action and then he was done. I lost track of time while I listened to him.
We then continued with the event and officially established a new alliance between Teach One to Lead One® and La Escuela de Carácter y Ciudadanía. But it took me a couple of days to organize my thoughts around what I had experienced while listening to Congressman Lay. I guess I had never met someone who spoke so casually about something so intentional. When he shared the vision for his country and the difficulties they face, he also shared hope for the future. When he spoke about his faith, he did not apologize and he did not insult. He did not read a typed speech; he spoke from his overflow. He did not try to justify his words; he simply stated the truth.
This great statesman in Peru encouraged me to live out what is truly important to me. Without knowing it, he challenged me that it’s not to be a put-on; it must be who I am. It isn’t about thinking what to say or how to say it; it is about letting the core of who we are be the one who does the talking. My intentional efforts must go into living a principle-based life such that sharing the difference between right and wrong can casually and without effort come out of my mouth and my actions. Interested in being casually intentional? Try it! A congressman in Peru will tell you that it is surely worth the effort.