Last week, I republished an intention blog that I wrote about a year ago. (http://www.mclarencoaching.com/intention-the-real-game-changer/) Since then, it has become increasingly apparent to me how valuable intentionality is to my clients, to my friends and to myself. It is a very effective concept that is rarely used but when implemented can change everything. And I am learning more and more how it works and how to explain it. Up until now, it was a concept I could coach people on, but could not really explain well.
Because of this, I have decided to write a series on intention. I will examine it from many sides and I will also have a lot of guest bloggers (past and present clients mostly) who will share their stories as well – where intention works and where it does not work. My intention 🙂 in doing this is to show it to you so you can effectively use it; and to learn more about it myself.
In last week’s blog, I suggested that intention is not a plan, but a decision; that it contains not only actions, but intangible elements as well. That it is a purposefulness and an internal drive toward whatever you are intending. You can intend to have a productive day, a peaceful conversation, a connection with a person, to land a particular client or to make a certain amount of money.
You can also set an intention to have a certain internal experience or state of being. Imagine how this would change things if you had an experience of yourself as productive, confident, collaborative or clear. It is often the state of being that affects what we produce anyway. For example, you may wish to get seven things on your list done today, but if your state is “tired” or “distracted,” this will affect how efficient you are. What if you could set an intention to be focused? What might happen then with your list?
Here’s an example — my first guest blog:
A few weeks ago I set my intention for the week to be peaceful. I do not generally live in a peaceful place, but instead live in a busy and chaotic place that I often create for myself. Setting my intention to be peaceful for a whole week was a stretch for me. Midway through the week I was starting to feel the busy and chaos creeping up on me as I went to meet a friend for coffee. Like usual I was feeling guilty for taking time for something personal during the work week. When I got to coffee my friend had a belated birthday gift for me that was a beautiful wooden fixture with sand suspended in colored water. When you turn it over the sand shifts, sometimes it looks like the ocean and other times it looks like the mountain. Watching the sand in the blue water brings me so much peace. I put it on the center of my desk and I turn it whenever I feel the busy and the chaos creeping in. This gift could have come earlier or later, but it didn’t. It came and brought me peace when it did because my intention was to be peaceful.
–Lacey Keys (Olson Hagel)
Here are the things I notice from Lacey’s blog. First, that she set an intention to be something she is not usually — that she stretched herself. Second is that she realizes by setting her intention that it is often she herself that gets in the way of experiencing peace and that she has more control over her state than she previously thought. Finally, I notice that she drew to her just what she needed to feel peace – the gift from her friend. Did this magically come to her because she set an intention for peace? Or did she see it as peaceful because that is what she was looking for? I will let you decide and I will suggest to you that it probably does not matter. This is the way that intention works. She left her week of “peaceful” intention with something that will continue to bring her peace.
Play with it. Set an intention for a way of being. What way of being supports what you want to accomplish today? More on this next week.