For Success – Set Your Intention

This article was originally posted in July 2015.  I am going to write a blog series on the concept of intention because I have seen it be the dividing line between the very successful and the moderately successful – in any area of life.  I have enlisted the help of my current and past clients so over the next few weeks you will read several guest posts as well.  If you would like to contribute with a story of how intention has helped you get where you want to go, or an example of how being unintentional may have hindered your progress, please email me.


“Set your intention.” This is what I heard from my first spin instructor. This was many years ago. I asked her later what she meant. Because I noticed at every class she would say, with some enthusiasm, “Set your intention.” I had heard this expression before but I wasn’t sure what it meant. In the dictionary, intention is defined as a plan, but that didn’t fit and it didn’t seem that was what she meant – make a plan. So I said, “What do you mean when you say to us, ‘Set your intention’?” And she said, “You decide. You make a decision — where you want to go and how this class will be for you and where you will end up. For example,” she said, “I set my intention every day to be happy or to have a good day or to have a certain outcome at work.” And I said, “Is that a plan?” She said, “No. It’s an intention.”

But since it is not defined that way in the dictionary, it is sometimes hard to know what it really means. Intention is a decision. It’s a decision to have what you say you want to have. It seems that possibly, this definition of the word “intention” has come from sports. At least, it is used in sports. Hence the use of it by spin instructors.

It is that intangible thing that players bring to their performance when they decide to make the basket; when they decide to win the game. It’s not the plan basketballthey make to make the basket or win the game. It’s that extra thing. It’s that determination. It’s that decision – “this is how it’s going to be because I said this is how it’s going to be.” It’s that power and strength that comes from inside and from saying, “It’s going to be this way because I said so.”

Have you ever had an experience of setting a strong intention and following through against all odds? What would happen if you consciously set an intention – at the beginning of your day, of a difficult conversation, of a meeting with a potential client? What might change?

About the Author

Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching attorneys and management since early 2008. She wrote a book, published by the American Bar Association, "Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance." She coaches attorneys and managers one-on-one, and provides in-house training designed to improve productivity and bring accountability to the organization.

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