I often start my day asking myself what ‘my intention is’, just for that day, as a tool to keep me clear and focused for the day ahead. Depending on what the previous day was like and what I know I have to do for that day, my intention can vary from wanting to be calm, organised, have fun or to be more like a positive role model. In fact the possibilities of what my intentions are can be endless, and, only limited by what would serve me best for that day. However, invariably, the outcome can often be quite profound.
Take for instance a friend of mine whose intention was to sell her house. She imagined who the ideal family would be, how she would like the experience of selling to be and then waited. One perfectly suitable couple did come along, but for some bizarre reason their details got misplaced. Not being put off my friend reminded herself once again what her intentions were. It took an evening out, at a different part of town from her usual haunt, for her to happen upon the couple once again.
And there’s another friend who during a terrible illness decided that whatever she could physically do, no matter how small, she would make it pleasurable. This meant that when she was almost bed-bound she rediscovered old videos to watch and treated herself to afternoons of chocolate and movies.
Intentions are not the endless lists we make of things we ‘intend to do’, you know the ones where secretly you know they are never going to happen. They are instead the honest and immediate response to our current situation. Intentions are a way for us to focus our conscious mind on what we want to achieve, with a particular attitude, and emotions we wish to achieve it with. Intentions are also a bridge to our unconscious mind which seeks for anything positive to replace an old and sometimes broken negative response to a similar situation. Or as Diana Cooper explains, ‘An intention is like an arrow in flight. Nothing can deflect it. So, aim carefully.’
So, what does this all mean anyway? Trainers and therapists have known for years that to create a lasting change or to have an instant success our unconscious mind has to ‘feel the emotions’ first, see the image second and hear the words lastly (in percentage terms 60%, 30% and 10%). When we take time to set a new intention for the day we not only hear the word but can often picture what the day would look like and also how that would feel. To our unconscious mind that is full permission to search for any opportunity that matches these criteria’s, to take full advantage of them even when we are doing something else. In fact, I sometimes find that when I reflect on whether I’ve achieved my intention I’m surprised that even with change of plans or having even forgotten about it consciously, I’ve actually achieved it.
Creating an intention for the day, the week or even the month is a fantastic coaching tool which only takes minutes to create and can provide us with a measure of success even when our direction or goals are unknown. For instance, if your intention is to be curious or adventurous whilst deciding which job to take; you may not have made your mind up at the end of that day, but you could easily have proof how you were curious or adventurous and what was uncovered because of it.
For me, setting my intentions is likened to brushing my teeth. When I’m going out to a meeting, facilitating a workshop, getting ready for the day, and even meeting up with friends, part of my preparation is setting my intention of how I want to be and the difference that will make to others.
So, if you were going to shoot for an intention this month, what is your target and how will you know you’ve hit bulls-eye?
Until next time, aim high and aim carefully.