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Bali. A place of legends. Exotic. Eastern. Remote. Stars. Jet-setters. A handful of friends headed to Bali recently. However, we weren’t after the “normal” things one expects from a Bali getaway: world-class spas, beach, resorts, night clubs, terraced rice paddies, volcanoes, or peace & quiet, we headed to Bali for another reason. And only one reason. We went to see the mola-mola.

What is a mola-mola I hear you asking? Well, it’s basically an unusual (weird-looking) sunfish. Google it. It’s definitely weird. They weigh over 2,000 pounds on average and look like a fish that was pieced together from “scraps.” And yes, that’s why we went to Bali.

For us (my wife, Kelli, and me) it started out as a belated 25th Anniversary trip. During the planning process, we started diving, became friends with a group of local divers, and became fascinated with the mola-mola.

We planned our trip to Bali based on the mola-mola season (July-September). We focused our dives on seeing the mola-mola, even to the exclusion of other marine life. We talked about the mola-mola. Studied the mola-mola. Went diving with a local dive shop that “guaranteed” they could help guide us to the mola-mola. Made up our own song about the mola-mola (to the tune of “Pharoah Pharoah”). Yes, we’re weird. Just like the mola-mola.

The mola-mola likes cold water. We don’t. We normally dive in water that is 29-30 degrees centigrade. The mola-mola likes water that is 18-19 degrees (and colder). Though we consider ourselves warm-water divers, we toughed it out and dove in this frigid water.

We had 3 days of diving. On the first day, we came up empty. No mola-molas. On the last of 3 dives on the second day, we saw the mola-mola. I even have a grainy video that I posted on my FB page. We were ecstatic. It made the cold water seem warm. Eight divers and two dive masters (our guides) got up on the boat and burst into singing. We were giving each other high fives. We were checking our cameras for pictures and videos. We were successful. We saw what we’d come to Bali to see. We had been focused on the mola-mola and we saw him (her?).

Now, you may think we’re weird. Come to think of it, I think we’re a bit weird. But the point is that we were intentional. We were focused. We did not let other distractions get in the way or take our eye off our goal.

As we sat around the pool (picture above) after our dives on the second day, I was pleased. It was a great feeling of accomplishment. Yes, the mola-mola was definitely cool to see. But more than that, it was a sense of accomplishment. Of setting out intentionally to do something and then doing it.

Intentionality is key to world-class leadership as well. Regardless of your leadership role, being intentional yields dividends. You’ve heard the adage, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” On the other hand, if you’re intentional, you’ll scout out the road that will take you to your destination. Your goal. You’ll develop a plan and work it. You’ll remain focused.

We knew the mola-mola came to a specific feeding/cleaning station in Bali. We knew the best time of year to go. We knew what gear we’d need to stay warm. We knew our target. Our goal. And we made a plan to accomplish that goal. And we did. And it felt great.

Walking back to the hotel from a local restaurant one night, we ran into another group of divers who were vacationing in Bali. They heard about the mola-mola. They were fascinated by our stories and experience with the mola-mola. But they were not intentional. They didn’t have the right gear to dive in the cold Bali waters (they’d been diving in other parts of Indonesia). They weren’t committed to really “go after” the mola-mola, yet they wanted to see one. It’s kinda funny really. You’ll never run into a mola-mola on the street walking back from a restaurant (though I did show them my video on my iPad). You’ll never run into a mola-mola in warm waters. If you want to see and experience one, you’d better be intentional – have a plan, remain focused, execute the plan.

Are you intentional in your goal-setting and goal-achievement? Do you allow distractions to get you side-tracked? How do you stay focused?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

3 thoughts on “Intentionality

  1. Love the story of the Mola Mola. My intentionality if I ever go back to Bali will be to stay at the Bali Desa Suites! What an awesome place. That would be rest and relaxation to the nth degree! Did it in 2004, would do it again in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t need to see one Mola Mola! That would be my intentionality about visiting Bali.

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