“When you left the house today, you had the intention of putting clothes on and you did. You didn’t try to put your pants on today. You simply put them on. The same has to hold for all of our intentions…We make the intention, and we act on it.”
— Patch Adams
In a previous post, we discussed that willingness to practice and practicing itself are what dictates action. But what dictates practice? Even though our focus is on actions and practices, they aren’t the starting point. We start by creating and discerning our intention.
Create and articulate your intentions before you determine your goals or practices. Getting clear about intentions reveals the purpose for your actions. Then goals and practices will be deliberately designed to support realizing the intention. Practices and actions designed without an intention end up being “shoulds” – generally satisfying some ideal or standard rather than forwarding our intentions.
“Getting clear about intentions reveals the purpose for your actions”
How do you articulate an intention? First, start by allowing yourself some quiet, introspective, and uninterrupted time. For this moment, let go of all the goals and intentions you may have created previously (you can come back to them later if you want). This is a new moment, a new opportunity for discovery. An intention is the “aim” part of “ready, aim, fire”. You are creating your aim – the direction you want to go.
Open your journal and begin to explore. You can begin to discover and create your intentions by inquiring into questions like these:
1. What do I want to accomplish in my business (or in my job) & why?
2. What areas of my business are the most important to me? Why?
3. Why are the areas of work and life I care about truly important to me?
4. What do I want people to remember about me/the work I’ve done? Why do I care about that?
5. What do I value? How do those values translate to my work or living my life? Why do I care about that?
One of my practices is to review my intentions weekly. This ensures I don’t lose sight of them as I go about my week busily engaged in “doing”.
What intentions are driving your actions today? Are your actions choicefully nestled inside your intentions? Or are you on autopilot?
Andrea Bednar is Founder & CEO of PoP Associates LLC. She works with business leaders to grow and sustain their business by focusing on well designed practices that are consistent with their values. Her intention is Conscious Business Leadership and her practices as a consultant and executive coach are designed from there.