Q+A with Chris Pan: Creator of MyIntent Project
It’s Week 3 of the #CHAARGSBFP + this is when you’re really going to need to DIG DEEP + find your motivation. What goal did you decide you WILL accomplish this FitPlan? How have you been keeping yourself motivated to believe you WILL do this? Finding this daily motivation can be tough! To help you stay determined, we want to introduce you to The MyIntent Project — a bracelet organization that works to inspire meaningful conversation + positive energy! Not only does this organization help you get more in touch with yourself, but it also partners with many non-profits to help promote changing the world!
We were very fortunate to get to speak with Chris Pan, the founder of The MyIntent Project, about how the project began + his goal to continue spreading positive energy in the world. According to Chris — “Thinking about your *intent word* allows you to connect to your own spirit + your personal inspiration.” Sound like something you could use right about now?! Once you learn more about Chris + his amazing project you’re absolutely going to want one of these bracelets! Take some time for yourself + start thinking… what’s your word?
// MEET CHRIS, FOUNDER OF THE MYINTENT PROJECT
Tell us a little bit about yourself + what you love!
I’m Chris + currently building The MyIntent Project. I’ve always been passionate about personal growth + making a positive difference. Back at OSU in 2000, I tried to start a student entrepreneurship club that turned into the Business Builders Club — which is how Elisabeth + I connected. I’ve had a journey marked by ups + downs — periods where I felt really challenged + unsatisfied, followed by times when I felt I excelled. One of my favorite quotes is “an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward…”
The MyIntent Project had an interesting beginning, tell us how the project began.
In 2012, 4.5 years working at Facebook, I took some time off to travel + figure out what I wanted to do next. On paper, I seemed to be doing great. But inside, I was feeling insecure, anxious, distracted, + lost. I realized that I had spent all my energy on my intellectual self + some on my physical self. I had neglected my emotional + spiritual health.
As I reflected on what to work on next, I kept asking myself what I thought the world needed more of. I saw headlines of bullying + suicides, + was unfulfilled with stories of what my friends had for lunch on social media. The marketer in me saw a need for emotional + spiritual fitness — simple things such as the practice of being present, of being grateful, of letting go, of acceptance, ++ of purpose + meaning.
For my 36th birthday in 2013, I had a birthday party that included tai chi, meditation, singing, improv, + painting. My friend Ingrid offered to come make “intention bracelets”. I had no idea that would change my life. She asked me for a word + I chose “impact” because I wanted to remind myself to make a difference with my life. A couple of weeks later, we had dinner + she gave me a kit as I was moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
I’ve had 11 words since that first word “impact”. I get a new word every month or two. Some of my words came after a few days. Sometime I would wear a “blank” necklace when I am finished with one word + seeking out my next word. I went to Burning Man with a “blank” necklace + came out with 2 words — serve [others] + courage [for myself to face my own fears].
Each word has been a daily reminder of something I needed to learn as well as a great conversation starter.
Tell us about what the MyIntent Project represents to you personally?
I started making these bracelets at my own gatherings called “SpiritSunday” where we had live music, yoga, healthy food, painting, + people would ask if they could get a bracelet for their mother, friend or colleague. People started to share stories of how their word changed their lives. As I read these stories, it became apparent this was not about jewelry, but rather a platform for people to connect with something bigger. So late one night, I wrote the mission of this project — to be a catalyst for meaningful conversation + positive energy.
What causes have you partnered with?
As I started thinking about how to scale this operation to make more bracelets, a friend recommended partnering with a nonprofit called Chrysalis [changelives.org] — they provide resources + job placement for those living in homeless shelters. LA has the #1 homeless population in the country, concentrated in Skid Row [east downtown LA]. So last month we started renting part of a warehouse in Skid Row + hired on 4 of Chrysalis’ clients to provide employment + coaching with the goal of putting them on a path to self-sufficiency.
We have also raised funds for a number of causes from Kindred Adoption to Malaika for Life [Malaria Medicine] to Generosity.org [clean water] + more. We want to support changemakers making the world more beautiful. Our first music video is coming out soon featuring the song “Beautiful World” by 7 East.
How does the MyIntent project promote positive energy + inspiration in the world?
One of my favorite concepts is from “Wayne Dyer’s Power of Intention” where he talks about how the word “inspire” comes from “in spirit” — being connected to our spirit: our own inner voice. Meditation is a great way to get connected to our own spirit + tune out all those external voices — from our friends or society. As each person thinks about his//her own intent word, it connects him//her to his//her own spirit + inspiration. Our storytelling efforts [e.g., upcoming music videos)]will put a spotlight on people putting positive energy in the world.
How can CHAARG girls implement these into their personal journeys?
Asking the question “what’s my word?” + staying connected to that word of intent. To help find your word, here are a couple of prompts: 1] What is something you want more of in your life? 2] What is a challenge you want to overcome? Wearing it as a bracelet is an easy way to be reminded constantly as well as share with others + receive support.
Words to live by:
Follow your heart, no matter what — that’s where my source of strength + passion comes from. It’s been critical to follow my own path. I dropped out of medical school after 3 weeks — hardest decision of my life. But it was what my parents wanted for me, + not what I wanted. My heart is in business + I eventually ended up at my top choice — Harvard Business School.
What’s your passion?
New experiences — it can come from my travels [30+ countries] but lately it’s come from the thousands of conversations I’ve had making bracelets for them. I get a little peak into what matters for each person or hear a bit of wisdom. Last night, someone asked for “this is water” inspired by the David Foster Wallace speech. I had never heard of it before but found it very inspiring. Marking bracelets for others has been an incredible *job* — I’ve learned so much + received so much positive energy back.
What’s your favorite type of workout?
As a competitive person, I love a solid game of basketball or volleyball. Lately, I’ve been exploring yoga + going on more hikes.
If you could workout with anyone [dead or alive] who would it be + what workout would you do?
Michael Jordan — whatever he wants to teach me, but mostly just want to watch him dunk!
What is your favorite meal? Favorite indulgence?
Been having a lot more quinoa, kale, + fish lately. [recipe here]
One piece of advice for our CHAARG girls?
Remember that fitness is broad — intellectual, physical, emotional, + spiritual — they are all interconnected
CHECK IN WITH US!
Feeling inspired + excited to get more in touch with yourself? We sure are! As Chris put it — “As each person thinks about his//her own intent word, it connects him//her to his//her own spirit + inspiration.” We want to know: What’s Your Word? Share with us what you have chosen as your *intent word*! Make sure to tag #CHAARGSBFP + @CHAARG + #MYINTENT + @MYINTENT in your post today!
// FEATURED BEACH BAG PRODUCT: The My Intent Project bracelets! They have necklaces too ; ) Follow @MyIntent on Insta for more inspiration on spreading positivity! [You guys are going to love reading the stories people have shared!] ALSO: Chris is giving you girls 20% off these bracelets with the code: CHAARG [thank you, Chris!]. We are so thankful to have this amazing company a part of the #CHAARGSBFP.
Here are two of our CHAARG girls [+CHAARGterns ; )] who have a MyIntent bracelet…
KAYLA — “I could have picked a lot of different words for this bracelet, but after thinking about it for awhile, I realized that above all #MyIntent is happiness. I’m a firm believer in finding joy in everything I do, in smiling at the little things, in laughing until my stomach hurts, + in cutting out things in life that only bring me down. Life isn’t always perfect, but if you’re able to get past the occasional gray clouds, the sun will always be shining right behind them 🙂 we get one shot at this crazy thing called life, we owe it to ourselves to make it a good one!”
TERESA — “Currently, I wear two of these bracelets to represent the daily reminders I am learning. #MyIntent is presense. There have + will be many changes in my life, but my journey is leading me to exactly where I’m supposed to be! Thus far, my journey has led me to here + this moment is for me. I need to be present + focus on what really is important. I should always look for the good that is already here, not that is to come. I will practice loving the present! For my second daily reminder, #MyIntent is worthy. The events I see in my life are a direct reflection of the things I feel I am worthy of. I have the power to change what I see by focusing on changing my thoughts + feelings. There is always positive in the present, it it up to me to see it!
+ Teresa [@tasandoal], OSU CHAARG