Chris Pan From MyIntent Project On The Power Of Connection
Chris Pan is the CEO & Founder of MyIntent Project, a catalyst for meaningful conversations and positive action. MyIntent believes there is purpose inside each of us and they want their efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration. MyIntent is not a jewelry company – it’s a service project focused on meaningful conversations and a community where people support each other living with purpose and passion.
Chris is also the former Senior Consultant at McKinsey & Co, Marketing Director for PepsiCo, and he spent four years working at Facebook as Head of Brand Solutions. We had a chance to sit down with Chris after WORLDZ 2018, and he gave us some amazing insights into the power of connection, the positive benefits of setting your intentions, and the one piece of advice he’d give to any aspiring artist or entrepreneur. WORLDZ is all about finding your purpose, staying connected and inspired which is why we were so thrilled to have Chris and MyIntent Project be an integral part of WORLDZ 2018.
Tell us more about your belief in the power of community and connection — why it matters to share words and intentions — how it bridges us all?
The inspiration for MyIntent was my experience at a personal growth retreat focused on emotional and spiritual wellbeing. We were invited to go deep into what really matters to us, enabled by a full “digital detox” where we surrendered our phones, laptops and even books. I felt so present, connected, and supported with the other 39 participants and five facilitators. I wanted to find a way to relive that magical experience on a regular basis and share that sense of presence and connectedness with my community.
The process of finding your WORD is a “micro-retreat” to connect with your True North. Asking yourself “What’s Your WORD?” allows you to take a moment to reflect on your goals, dreams, values, and beliefs. Just as your watch tells you the time, your MyIntent bracelet is an always-on notification of what to do with your time to be the best version of yourself, and the bracelet never needs recharging! Of course our connection to our True North changes as we grow, so it’s good to periodically ask yourself for a new WORD.
Sharing intentions skips the small talk and gets right to the heart of what we want. We reinforce our intention to ourselves the more we share, as well as enable others to support us. When we support others to share their intentions, we in return strengthen our community.
What do you think ultimately led to MyIntent bracelets becoming so successful and impactful?
My four years working at Facebook ingrained in me a deep sense to make a real difference. Posters with “Focus on Impact” were everywhere and reflected this impact culture and attitude.
MyIntent’s commitment to impact means we spend the time to take people through the sometimes lengthy process of finding their own WORD. This reflection and goal setting process is the magic and difference we make.
We’ve made decisions that prioritize our mission over sales. For example, we deprioritized retail channel with pre-made popular words as they do not offer the same level of engagement and reflection as when we invite people to create their own WORD. As it turns out, when we give people the freedom to create, they choose hundreds of different words (vs. a dozen that we could stock ready-made in retail).
We take the time to go deeper. I remember helping the owner of a new coffee shop who initially said he wants “SUCCESS.” I then asked him what it would take for his new coffee shop to be successful and his answer was to build “COMMUNITY.” A guy initially wanted his girlfriend’s name, and then I asked what do you need to be the best version of you for her, and he said “BALANCE” in my life. I had a parent who wanted her kid’s names, and I supported her with what quality do you want to embody to be the best parent, and she said “COURAGE.”
Lastly, we allow people to buy our tools and help their own communities find their WORDs. This might seem like it would cannibalize our revenue by giving away our “secret sauce” but is core to the impact we want to have. A “maker” is able to have the meaningful conversation to help someone find their WORD, as well as learn wisdom from people they make for. My friend Sarah frequently volunteers to make bracelets at mine, and her own gatherings explained that the conversations at the “bracelet table” were the most meaningful and positive.
We are not a jewelry company; we are a SERVICE PROJECT.
Can you tell us what some of the most positive benefits are from setting your intentions?
Living intentionally is about finding your own answers – what important to you and what works for you. It’s about doing what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. We’re bombarded by advertising and advice on how to be and what we need, leading to anxiety and depression.
Clarity, power, purpose, growth, and fulfillment from setting your own course.
It’s having your True North to guide your daily decisions.
What are some other things you do to help set goals for your passions both personally and professionally?
Take the time to slow down, reflect, and set your compass to True North.
We tend to glorify the grind, but often we can work smarter when we take time to think:
- Am I focusing on the right things?
- Could I invest time to “sharpen the saw” I can cut the tree in a fraction of the time?
- Where could I get support so I can focus on what I am good at and passionate about?
Once we are clear on what you want, it’s easy to prioritize, to say no to things that are interesting but will not help you achieve your goals so you can be laser focused on what you want.
What’s your favorite MyIntent word of all time?
One of the most memorable was “DEATH BED.” I met Conan O’Brien at a brunch, and he said, “Not to be morbid, but can you fit ‘Is this going to matter on my deathbed?’ I get caught up in little things that don’t really matter, and this is a reminder to focus on the things that really do matter.”
Tell us more about the MyIntent community and what your goals are for 2018-19?
We have helped over a million people find their WORD, and wear as a bracelet or necklace in the past year!
One area of growth has been companies using us as a fun personal development and team building activity. It’s simple – take a few minutes at a team meeting or lunch to go through our three easy suggested questions below to find their WORD. Then, place the group order with everyone’s WORDs at MyIntent.org, and the bracelets arrive a week later for ~$10 each with the WORLDZ discount code.
Another area of impact comes from our community of over 15,000 “MyIntent Makers” who purchase our bracelet stamping tools and make bracelets for their local communities. Some make them as gifts at their own dinner party, others use the bracelets as a fundraising tool for nonprofit they care about, and teachers use as a mindfulness tool in the classroom.
For 2019, we are focused on developing training and content so both corporate team leaders and our maker community can effectively lead others in finding their WORD – either 1:1 or as a mini-workshop or team exercise.
What’s the key to finding your “word” and making it truly meaningful in creating your true intention?
Take a moment to reflect on what you truly want. What do you want to remind yourself to be the best version of you?
Here are three questions to help you get started:
- What VIRTUE do you want more of?
- What is a challenge you want to overcome?
- What are you passionate about and want to spend more time on?
Then take it a level deeper and ask yourself why you want those things? What truly drives you? What quality would help you achieve your dreams?
Maybe go for a walk, do some exercise or yoga and let it marinate. Your answer often comes in unexpected moments but remind yourself to keep thinking about it. Do the work.
An option would be to find a partner to help you find your WORD. This is similar to partner stretching on an emotional and spiritual level. Invite your partner to be present, focus on your WORD (they don’t interject with their own experience), and ask supportive and exploratory questions of you. An easy start would be “so what’s been going on?” and just let you speak for a few minutes. Let yourself speak freely, and you’ll notice WORDs emerging. After a few minutes, you might then test a few of the top WORDs with the criteria below:
- Does it make you feel something?
- Does it stretch you?
- Do you need a reminder of this?
Once you’ve locked in on your WORD, share it with others and see how it feels and what additional insights those conversations bring.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to any aspiring artist or entrepreneur?
Get clear on your WHY – your PURPOSE and MISSION with your work.
To find your idea:
- What does the world need more of?
- What is your role in the world?
- What impact do you hope to have?
To refine your idea:
- Who are you trying to serve?
- What are their needs?
- Who will your product, service, or experience enhance their lives?
To test your fit:
- Is this something you are committed to (e.g., a calling) or is it more an interest?
- If you didn’t need to work for money, would you still work on this?
Sometimes we don’t know right away and only by doing will we know. Just make sure to take time along the journey to reflect and get honest with your intentions and reasons for starting your company or creating your art.
As a special gift to the WORLDZ community, use code WORLDZ for 50% off at MyIntent.org, offer valid through 11/11. Great as holiday gifts, team builder, and personal reminder.