Setting Your Intention

Last week, I returned from the International Coach Federation's annual conference in Long Beach, California.

Over the course of the next few days, I will share with you some of the learning I have taken away from that conference, learning that may prove useful for you, as well.

I did something different this year. I went to the conference with a plan!  I went there to make some specific business connections, to forge relationships with those colleagues who could help me out in a particular way. In the least, I wanted to talk with folks who might be in the position to know other people who could potentially help me.

It turns out that I made just such a contact on the afternoon of my arrival in Long Beach, and it was with the first new person I met from the conference!  I was pleased.  But the best part is that since I had told one of my long-time colleagues of my intention, she not only remembered that I had a goal, she also asked the new person the question as soon as she thought of it.  I only had to follow up.  How cool is that?

With this intention in mind, I obtained several more valuable contacts, just by asking people whom I knew to be well-connected.  That’s just the beginning, of course.  I still needed to do the follow-up.  But the plan got me in motion.  The plan helped me focus my actions, to remember to do what I would have regretted not having done after returning home empty-handed.

Setting your intention may not a necessary ingredient for reaching your goals, but it sure makes the path shorter and more direct.  It is also not a guarantee that your goals will be attained.  But, again, it surely does help.

It’s just like using a map.  If you know where you are now, where you want to be at the end of your journey, and what you want to see and do along the way, not only will the best route become clear, but it will be obvious when you have strayed too far from the path.

Here are just a few situations in which setting intentions can be valuable and just a couple of suggestions for where you might look when contemplating your own needs:

Conferences – What are my goals in attending?  What “persona” do I want to try out (e.g., being more outgoing, more reserved, more reflective, more brave)? Whom do I want to meet?  What do I want to come out of the meeting? Who do I need to “be” to have these outcomes?  What do I need to do to have these outcomes?

Classes You Are Taking – What do I want to be clear on before I leave?  Who can I buddy up with to study?  How focused to I want to be or need to be today?

Classes You Are Leading – What do I want the participants to take away from the course, the section, the class, or the exercise?  How am I contributing to the attention students are giving me?  What if I behave differently today, this week, from now on?

Vacations – Why am I taking this vacation?  To rest, rejuvenate, get a change of pace, meet new people, renew my relationship(s), step outside of my typical way of being, take photos, bring back something?

Career – What do I want from this career?  Is it still good for me?  Should I do something else?  Who is building up my career?  What comes next?

Meetings – What can I do to make this meeting be more valuable?  What are others expecting of me?  What am I expecting of others?  

Your Turn

  • Take a look at your calendar.
  • What’s coming up this week or this month that could use a tweak?
  • Ask yourself: Am I satisfied with the way this might turn out?
  • If yes: Wonderful!
  • If not: What do I want as an outcome and what do I need to do to improve the chance that it will happen?

Getting clear about your personal “road map” is some of the work that goes on in coaching.  If you would like to learn more about coaching, I welcome your inquiry.

But whatever else you do, make the decision to make your day, your week, and your life, intentional!

-Steve Reiter
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