Guest Post by Linda O’Neill
I am a firm believer in the power of setting deliberate intentions. Intentions create a way of being, serve as guidance for how we respond to the circumstances around us, and provide inspiration to our lives. Setting deliberate intentions allows you to make decisions, handle conflicts and overcome challenges with greater focus and clarity.
Unlike goals, which are often future-oriented and achievement-based, intentions are an evolving process – they are based on today, but change and grow as we do.
However, simply setting an intention and wishing it would be so is not enough to create the desired result. You must act on the intention to realize its power. When you set an intention and apply your attention to manifest the ideal result, amazing things happen!
Harnessing the Power of Intention
Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood make this point in their book The Passion Test, “Action keeps attention engaged. It is not the action that creates the desired result; it is your intention directed through the process of attention that creates the result.”
A common model to describe this phenomenon is the “I AM” model. The I AM model states: Intention + Attention = Manifestation.
There are no “rules” for setting a deliberate and effective intention, but to harness the power of the “I AM” model, I recommend following these guidelines:
Clarity is key, so create your intention to be true and honorable. There are times our emotions can get in the way of what we truly want, so it is important to take time to process emotions before creating the intention.
Focus on the Present
Intentions are now. An intention is not about what you’re going to try to do, want to do or will do. An intention is not a request or an attempt. It is a commitment!
Say it Out Loud
Being committed to an intention is crucial for it to manifest. For many, accountability increases when a commitment is spoken out loud.
Short-term or Long-term
You can set an intention for any timeframe; maybe it’s a specific intention for a meeting, a positive thought for a challenging day, an intention for the first month in a new role, a focus on a significant milestone or guidance on how you want to live your entire life.
- Short-term: Setting an intention can help guide even a short amount of time. If you wake up in the morning knowing you have a hard day of work ahead, you can set an intention for how you will approach that day, such as “I am thankful for my job. I am calm, thoughtful and open.” Remind yourself of the intention throughout the day, especially during the stressful moments.
- Long-term: Establishing the kind of person you want to be, could be a helpful long-term intention; such as “I am known as a kind person” could be a guiding principle for any decisions and every aspect of your life.
Intentions are only as powerful as the attention you apply to them. Have you ever wanted something for yourself and yet it just doesn’t come to fruition? A silly example is to have an intention like, “I am healthy and strong,” and then eat pizza, cheeseburgers and ice cream every day and never exercise. What’s missing from the manifestation of this intention? It is not receiving the attention it needs to manifest.
Intentions are only as powerful as the attention you apply to them.Tweet
If your intention as a manager is “I grow strong people who are set up for success,” you must apply the intention in your approach in conversations, your thought process, and your actions. For example, if you have a negative experience with an employee and need to provide feedback, your attention determines how your intention manifests. Approaching the conversation thinking, “this person made me mad; what an idiot” will yield entirely different results than a thought that aligns with your intention, such as, “this is a valued employee who made a mistake, and I’m going to help him learn and move forward productively.” By applying attention to the intent, it will manifest into a better outcome of the meeting, a better relationship with the person and a better-trained employee.
If your intentions aren’t becoming powerful, reexamine your attentions. Do they map to your intentions?
Conversely, does your attention align with your intention, or do your actions include negative thoughts and behavior?
With the “I AM” model, intentions manifest most powerfully when they are given diligent attention and become the filter for attitude, thoughts, and behavior.
I encourage you to develop an intention about a choice or a decision in your life and harness it with your attention. When it manifests, you too will be a firm believer in the power of setting deliberate intentions.
Linda O’Neill is vice president of strategic services at Vigilant. She is a passionate advocate for continuous learning and shares her drive and talents with Vigilant members as she works with them to create high functioning organizations, at the individual, team and systemic levels. As part of the Executive Team, she is also responsible for sales, marketing, and internal communications.
Prior to joining Vigilant, Linda ran her own organizational development consulting business. In this capacity, she assisted leaders, ranging from high potential supervisors and managers to senior executives, in creating sustainable visions, strategies and actions aimed at reaching their own, and their company’s full potential. Before founding her consulting business, Linda was a senior vice president at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, a world-renowned strategic communication agency. There, she led teams of more than 100 people and was accountable for a large percentage of the company’s revenue.
When not at work, you can find her hitting the trails or the beach with her two crazy Australian Shepherds and her (not-so-crazy) husband.