Many people are either sleep-walking through life, walking to the beat of someone else's song, moving through a significant life transition or just spinning. Whatever the condition - each of us craves a sense of purpose, we yearn for a directed certainty of our life's trajectory and we pray for a sound foundation that will hold us fast in the face of life's capriciousness.
What is Intention? How do we get it and what might we get from it? Let's start with the dictionary's definition and see what we can learn. Intention and its siblings intend and intent encompass every aspect of our speech - verb, adjective and noun. The word, intend is a verb designating action and movement. It derives from the words to aim at and to stretch. It encompasses having a purpose or a plan; how something should be used or designed and to signify purpose.
The word intent is an adjective, thus a descriptor indicating a mind firmly fixed, engrossed and strongly resolved. In the law, it relates to culpability or, as I see it, "ownership" of a force of energy in mind or in action that is consciously chosen. And, intention is a noun - the naming of something. It reflects the determination to do, or to be, something definable. Determination is a commitment and, I believe, often a prayer.
So, taken together, Intentions are designed to be a stretch - always beyond reach but never so far away as to collapse our will; they require letting go of wishing and the engagement of commitment and they make demands on us to find our courage, to take a stand, go public and get into action!
We declare to the universe that we are on the way, even if we don't yet possess an accurate map. Intentions are directional, volitional, conscious and charged with energy. With clear intention you can piggyback the energy of the universe, fuel your dreams, gather allies and supporters, and marshal your resources.
What then can keep you going? How can you avoid collapse in the face of ongoing uncertainty? The answer is in the power of Intention. Developing guiding Intention is no easy task. Difficult to come by and often showing up later in our lives, it takes time to maturate and manifest.
Designing and declaring your intention are the first steps out in faith. Embrace that you are on the road and don't know what you will meet. All you can depend upon is this very moment and your intention supports and inspires you to fully occupy it. You learn faith and trust as you take ensuing steps and gain increased clarity about what truly matters. You learn to hold fast to what is essential and trust that what you will create will be everlasting because it resides within you; it belongs to you and defines you.
Questions for Living from Intention
- Make your Intentions about "Being" rather than "Doing." How you intend to "Be" informs every aspect of your experience. What do you think the difference might be in your life?
- How might an emphasis on "Being change your relationship to outcomes? Would your sense of well-being rest on the outcomes of your effort? If the actual outcome fell short of your desired goal, could you still feel successful?
- With Intention as your guide how might the nature of your work, relationships, and life change?
- What would tell you if have deviated from your Intentions? What concerns, fears or feelings might emerge?
Tips to Staying on Track and Moving Forward
- Form an "oversight committee"- Find people who are striving to "live bigger" themselves and tell them what you are working on. Ask them what they have done, what's worked, what hasn't. Chose them because they can be cheerleaders, have walked this road themselves and are genuinely supportive of your growth.
- Find others who want to work together on Living from Intention and meet together on a regular basis. Hire a facilitator or coach who will work with your group. Assign homework, share challenges and learn from each other.
- Seek out a Spiritual Director or therapist.
- Get a great coach with whom you feel aligned
- Take classes, workshops or teleclasses. Invest in yourself.
Leslie K. Malin. M.S.W., A.C.S.W. works with independent professionals and business owners who are exhausted by the unpredictability of getting success by chance and want to create their success by choice. She is a coach, entrepreneur, and public speaker as well as a published co-author of "The Essential Coaching Book: Secrets to a Winning Life." She is currently working on her next book, "Meeting Yourself on the Way to Work: Finding Meaning from 9 to 5." You can reach Leslie at 516-671-5662, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.lesliemalincoach.com.