"If we're successful, we'll have people go up to each other and say, hey, what's your word? And it will just be like asking someone, 'where are you from?'"
Chris Pan, founder of The MyIntent Project, is on a mission to call others to join in an "intentions project," a collection of wearable jewelry customized with a word or phrase indicative of each participant's intention for their futures.
Thinking back, Pan says "I had left my [job] doing product management, and I was traveling, I had gone through a break up, I was going through sort of a dark time in my life and I was using a number of different things to feel better."
Upon meeting and working with Ingrid Sanders, a woman who initially made and sported the intent bracelets, Sanders asked Pan to contemplate his own intent word.
"She asked me for a word of intention, and the first word that came to me was the word 'IMPACT,' because I [hadn't been] working full time for [about] a year and a half, and I wanted to remind myself to make a difference with my life and actually have an impact on the world."
When Sanders handed down the bracelet kit to Pan, he had his friends start making bracelets for one another at gatherings in Los Angeles.
There, Pan realized value in the budding conversation surrounding everyone's intent words. It was "transformative," he says. "I knew there was some magic here."
Pan describes the product as "chocolate covered broccoli," an interesting comparison that, in fact, makes complete sense.
"The jewelry part is kind of the chocolate — it's [the] shiny object that gets you in. But really, we're much more about personal growth and reflection," and that aspect of it is like the broccoli.
After picking up some momentum, Pan saw Jay Z at SoHo House and felt inclined to present him with a bracelet.
Jay Z, Pan says, loved the concept, and soon Rihanna, Beyonce, and Kanye West were among the celebrities rocking their intentions.
One day, while meditating in Bali, Pan opened up his phone and saw a tag from Time.com — Kayne West wore his MyIntent bracelet on the cover of the magazine.
"I was like all right, I guess I can't give up," Pan said.
Pan says the MyIntent brand is "just the enabler to prompt people to think about their intention — why they're on this earth, their purpose, how they want to grow. But it's not about us."
So how do we figure out our intention words?
Pan explains that when picking a word, customers are called to think about a word that could fall into one of three categories:
One, virtues: Compassion, patiences, etc., that people want to have or do to better themselves.
Two, challenges or passions: What's the biggest challenge in your life, and what do you need to do to overcome it? Or, what do you want to do, but don't have time for?
Three, personal memories: Something close to your heart that really means something to you in your life.