This article is twentieth in a multi-part series that adapts and excerpts my entire book, The Coach Within: 28 Big Ideas for Engaging the Power of Your Own Wisdom, Creativity, and Choices* (Everything Goes Media, 2017).
19. Setting Intentions
“Our intention creates our reality.”
— Wayne Dyer
“Setting your intention is like drawing an arrow from the quiver of your heart.”
— Bruce Black
In casual parlance, intending to do something is very iffy. It has an I’d like to…but quality. There’s a maybe I’ll get around to it implied. Let’s call this — at best — having an intention. In coaching, we set intentions and it’s serious business.
The intention a client sets is something she means to bring about, something important. She sets the destination and heads off in that direction.
What sort of intention can you set?
It can be specific, like a goal (I intend to clean out and organize my garage by the end of April) or broad, as a new attitude or mindset might be (I intend to only speak positively of my friends…or keep my mouth shut).
It can be little (I intend to bring my new neighbor a plant) or big (I intend to save enough money so that I can retire at age 55).
It can be short-term (I intend to show up at that dinner party on time) or long-term (I intend to volunteer in more meaningful ways so that I know I’m making a difference).
Do you recall in the idealizing section (big 16), how you could idealize before any situation to improve upon its outcome? Setting intentions can work the same way:
Before getting out of bed in the morning: I intend not to rush today. I intend to slow down, stay centered, and take one thing at a time.
Upon arriving at work: I intend to work from a prioritized list today and keep interruptions to a minimum.
Before stepping in your home at the end of the day: I intend to leave my work at the office and enjoy my family’s company. I intend to keep my cool if my kids are acting up.
Before bed: I intend to get a good night’s rest and wake up refreshed.
Like idealizing, intentions don’t guarantee outcomes, but they go a long way to guiding better results into existence. In this lesson’s homework, you’ll work through a very step-by-step process for setting your key intentions.
Your Coaching To-Do’s
⎕ To understand how multifaceted this concept is, and feel the full gravity of setting a critical intention, work through this list two or three times (using your journal and silent reflection as needed) to set intentions.
Idealize (big idea 16). What is it that you most want? What is your ideal outcome?
Cultivate. Nourish your budding intention. Give it love and attention. What kind of support does it need?
Create. Apply creativity (big idea 2) to bring your intention more fully to life.
Focus. Clarify your intention with positive, specific language.
Decide. Formally set your choice as an intention. (Picture a setting Jell-O mold.)
Commit. Solidify your choice by committing to it. (Now picture concrete setting.)
Be not do (big idea 14). Be with your intention first. Let inspiration from that place dictate your doing.
Do something. Inspired by your intention, take an immediate step that demonstrates your commitment to it.
Hold yourself accountable. Big idea 9 has lots of ways to do that.
Write your intention down and post it in a place you’ll see it often.
Let belief in your intention allow you to detach from it.