Seven Ways to Live Life with Intention

NOTE FROM AL: It is a damned shame what is occurring in Kevin Clash’s life right now. He has resigned from Sesame Street and as Elmo’s puppeteer amid lawsuits and allegations of having relationships with underaged males. It is always tragic when a person does great work professionally, but makes horrible personal choices. I will keep this post up as it represents Clash’s professional career accurately. I may or may not take it down at a later date.

Kevin Clash – Model of Intention

Seven Ways to Live Life with Intention – Al Getler

I learned something new on Sesame Street today. If you live your live with intention, you can accomplish some pretty amazing things.

That is brought to you by the letter “I”.

Kevin Clash and his Life of Intention

Kevin Clash grew up in a housing project south of Baltimore. He had four siblings and parents that worked hard to support their kids.

Kevin had spotted puppets on TV operated by a guy named Jim Henson. He was taken by the puppets and wanted to make his own.

He spotted his father’s overcoat lining hanging in a closet and used it to create his own, hand-sewn puppet. He placed it on his parents’ bedroom dresser and hoped for the best.

“What’s his name?” his father asked Kevin walking into the living room holding the puppet.

When Kevin told him, his father said, “Fine. Next time, just ask me.”

Kevin’s siblings describe how the neighbors and the school kids asked why Kevin didn’t play sports and wondered about the kid that rarely came outside. As a family, they all knew he was a little different from other kids. He was inside making puppets.

During high school he would do puppet shows in and around Baltimore and was spotted by a local TV kids show host. Kevin Clash landed a job as the puppeteer on the show and quickly became a neighborhood celebrity.

What Kevin really yearned to find out was how this Jim Henson guy, now on a new PBS show called Sesame Street, made the beautiful Muppets apparently sewn without seams.

Love in His Life

Kevin then saw Kermit Love on the Dick Cavett show. Love was one of Henson’s key Muppet constructors. Kevin, a senior in high school, knew he just had to meet Kermit Love.

Kevin’s mother was on the case and called Kermit Love in New York City. While they could not afford a trip there, Love gave Kevin an open invitation to visit him. As fate and a class trip had it, Kevin ended up in New York City and met the man who would change his life forever.

Not a Muppeteer, Yet

Kevin graduated high school and did head to New York, but not to work for Jim Henson. He performed on two TV shows with puppets he constructed. One was The Great Space Coaster Supershow and the other was with TV icon Captain Kangaroo.

During this time, Jim Henson called Kevin and offered his a role in the Dark Crystal, but Kevin turned it down with two shows in hand.

As fate can often have it, both TV shows were canceled. Henson, however, was not done with Kevin. He offered him a spot as a puppeteer in a new movie starring David Bowie. Kevin took the job on the movie The Labyrinth and it would change his life.

A Flash of Red Fur

After the movie, Kevin was sent to work on Sesame Street. One of the veterans of the show was frustrated that he just couldn’t do anything with this red furry character he struggled with. In the Muppet dressing room, he tossed it at Kevin and told him he was welcome to try to make the puppet work.

On a trip to Baltimore, Kevin used his intentional drive to figure the character out. As he rode back on the train after leaving the parents that had loved their son unconditionally throughout life, he figured it out.

The innocence and the love of this character immediately connected on Sesame Street and a star was born.

Elmo Tickles the World

Elmo has become a worldwide icon of the joy of viewing things in a childlike fashion. Kevin and Elmo have appeared far from Sesame Street together and Kevin has become a very wealthy and important man in the world of meaningful entertainment.

Kevin Clash went from growing up in a place where success was not anticipated and a tall, black kid playing with puppets was frowned upon, to becoming an international success both in business and as an entertainer.

One of Many Emmy Awards

Seven Ways to Live Life with Intention

Anyone can live with intention. Living with intention is not age-restricted. Living with intention can be applied to achieving your life’s goal or a goal in your life.

Here are seven ways to live life with intention:

Decide on Your Destination – It doesn’t matter if it is learning to play the guitar, driving a golf ball straight down a fairway or becoming a great public speaker, decide what you want and see the end in your mind’s eye.

Do, See and Try Everything You Can to Get Yourself to Your Destination – Once you decide what it is you intend to accomplish, make things happen. If it is the guitar, go to concerts featuring the best players. If it is golf, take lessons and befriend better golfers than yourself, if you want to be a better speaker, join a Toastmasters group.

Attract Opportunities with Your Intention – Kevin Clash’s mother called Kermit Love because of her son’s intention. Love said yes to a visit because that intention came through the phone line. After meeting him, Love knew Kevin Clash was the real deal. He had the intention to succeed

Immerse Yourself in Your Destination – Those around you may refer to it as obsession. Some closest to you may even resist your intention. Immersing yourself in your destination may even frighten those closest to you. If you do a good job explaining your goal and you have a healthy balance in your relationships and friendships, you will eventually show people you are serious and fright will turn into might as they support you.

Be Yourself – If your goal is to be the puppeteer for Elmo, to be Eric Clapton or to be Christie Kerr, you will be disappointed. There are people who have their job already; those people. Become the best person you can be as you work towards your destination. Learn from people who have arrived in a place you intend to be, but don’t be them.

Celebrate the Mile Posts Along the Way to Your Destination – The best thing about a driving towards a destination is that there are mile posts along the way. There are even exists if you decide you have gone about as far as you would like and are happy where you are. Celebrate those mile posts. Let those closest to you know you are happy where you are. If you are just taking a break, prepare for the rest of the journey.

Arrive at your Destination – Be proud of your accomplishment. You worked hard. You did it. Don’t forget those people along the way that helped you get there. Be proud of yourself.

Intention is a power thing. Live with it and amazing things will happen along the way. Live without intention and you will still go places, but they may not be the places you wish to be.

Intention gets you out of bed in the morning. Intention gives you a reason to keep going. Intention gives you purpose. Intention helps you cross finish lines and that is rewarding.

“Elmo like intention!” is what everyone’s furry, red friend would probably say.

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Do you know someone who lives their life with intention? What makes that person noticeably different from others? Share your thoughts in the Disqus section after this post or by clicking HERE if you are reading it in an email.

Al Getler is a newspaper, website, book and magazine publisher. He is also a comedian/ventriloquist and a speaker on leadership, customer service and personal branding.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.