Which is More Intentional: How You Speak or How You Live?

I’ve always been a huge musical theater fan. Show-stopping tunes like “One Day More” from Les Miserables, “The Gods Love Nubia” from Aida, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, and more recently “My Shot” from Hamilton leave me on the edge of my seat.


But what makes these shows so powerful is not just their ability to have key songs cycle on perpetual loop through my head for weeks on end afterward. It’s the messages that they leave equally indelible on my brain.


Although I only managed to see the recorded version of Hamilton on Disney+, one line that has stuck with me was from Alexander Hamilton (who ostensibly made as many enemies as friends for being so vocal and opinionated) to Aaron Burr (whose motto was “talk less, smile more; don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.”)


At one point, Hamilton challenges him: “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?”


While there was inevitably a ton of artistic license taken in the show overall, it doesn’t change the relevance of the fact that Hamilton’s life – at least professionally – was singularly focused, and intentional.


That’s also why I loved the theme of this week’s episode of the Speaking to Influence podcast , as Kevin Nolan, CEO of Nolan Painting, Inc., drives home the importance of being “abundantly clear about what you want in life, (and living) deliberately.”



Part of living and leading intentionally is reflected in their remarkable Nolan Painting Promise to their customers which has driven their success for over 25 years. It states outright that they will:


  • Start and finish on time
  • Maintain a neat, clean project
  • Handle all the details,
  • Stand behind the work, and
  • Assure the highest quality.


Each of these action steps is a direct manifestation of that philosophy that every choice and action must be intentional. And each statement in that promise is something that his employees can articulate explicitly, and mean it.


It's about consciously shaping our lives, careers, and relationships through words and actions that allows us to leave a meaningful impact and create a legacy that lasts.


Even his 24-hour influence challenge is about how to get “abundantly clear” on what you want.


It’s making intentional choices, taking intentional steps, and speaking intentionally and decisively … and it all starts with writing a letter to yourself.


You can listen to the full conversation here or watch it on YouTube here.