Based on Results, You Have What You Intended (Intention, #7)

I always learn so much when I have other people write my blog posts. I’ve been learning a lot about intention this last few weeks, and now I want to share my own recent experience with intention. This one I call, “Based on Results, You Have What You Intended.” This concept is a great way to look back on what you have generated and learn from it. Let me illustrate.

Last week I started my new book study series, “Leadership and the Art of Possibility.” As I always do, when I started to build this workshop, I set an intention of the number of people I would have in attendance. (Note I did not say that I set a “goal” of people I “wanted” in attendance. The declarative language is imperative to strong intention-setting.)

I said, “I will have 30 people in this workshop.” And I held that intention throughout. I declared it in writing and to other people and I sought support.  Then I did my best.

And on day #1 of the workshop, how many people were in attendance? 21!  I looked at my result and I applied the concept that works best for me. I said, “Based on results, I intended to have 21 people in this training.” Then I asked myself, “Why did I have that intent?” and “What else was I really intending?” Because I know the answer is NOT, “I intended not to achieve my result.” It WAS, “I intended something else.” So, what did I intend and what can I learn? I intended to have exactly the people I have. It is the perfect mix of people. At the end of the first class, I went home elated to be with exactly this group of people. They fit together; they are engaged; they work well together. That is what I intended.

And so what can I learn? This is an open question and will be answered differently by different people. It’s a question to answer gently and perhaps a little from intuition. It’s a question without judgment.  It’s a question asking that you go inside and look at what there is to learn about yourself. I learned that I give 100% to my business. It is important to me that EACH person who comes into my trainings has contact with me personally and that this training is appropriate to those people. I also learned that I can trust my intention, my actions, and my results. Meaning, I don’t feel remotely unhappy about the result because my true intention was give it all I have and to have this group of people.

Why is this important learning for me? Many years ago when I was still practicing law, my markers for success were very serious – I took them seriously – and I could not let go even when I gave everything I had if the result was different from what I said I intended. I learned from my workshop intention-setting experience that I now subscribe wholeheartedly to the principle of being “committed but not attached.” This means I give it all I have, but I am not attached to my result.  Given where I have come from, this is good news for me.

(Note that my learning was my learning and personal to me.  Another person might ask the question and look back and say, “I intended to take it easy and not put all my effort in” or “I am more comfortable with a smaller class” or “I didn’t believe I could do it.”  Those were not my realizations, because mine was about my own inquiry about my own actions, beliefs and ways of being.)

Here is my recommendation. (1) Set intention. It is so important to learn if you can meet your intention regularly. Whether you do or whether you don’t, there will be much for you to learn. If you don’t set intention, there will be little to learn. If you regularly set intention, you will get better and better at manifesting what you say you want. (2) Have your intention be a “stretch” for you.  If you set easy intention there will be no challenge and little to be learned.  (3) Always look at your result and back at what you truly intended in order to learn about yourself.  In this way, you will not only learn about yourself, but get much better at manifesting that which you say that you want.

Please email me at if you have an intention story you would like to share.

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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