I spend each December with my a cappella quartet, Fandango, performing throughout Vancouver. On a particularly cold and rainy day this year we were tired, and not getting the reaction we wanted from the preoccupied shoppers. We started feeling a bit grumpy – so we took a break to recalibrate. We chatted and said “OK, let’s create an intention to really focus on connecting from our hearts with each person that walks by”. We started caroling again, holding that active intention in our minds. Incredibly, every person walking by shifted from aloof to engaged – smiling, involved, reacting. That’s the power of intention. We didn’t “do” anything different – we simply held a mental “intention” or purpose.
Intention is a mental tool that focuses your attention which in turn shapes the structures in your brain. When we act with intention we act with purpose. Considering, and then adding intention to an action or situation creates a different level of consciousness and sets energy in motion to get the results you want.
You can apply the Power of Intention to any part of your life and supercharge your year, your day, or a specific activity or conversation.
5 WAYS TO USE INTENTION TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR LIFE
1/ Holding an Annual Intention
Supercharge your year by holding a single intention or purpose for it. Think of this as your annual “Theme”. Get away from the list of “goals” and “resolutions” and create one or two words that will be the foundation for your year. Keep your theme present throughout the year (write it down, put it on a post in note on your office wall or fridge, add it as your screen saver). Notice how approaching the year with your theme in mind will inform what you “do” without you even thinking about it.
2/ Creating a Daily Intention
Focus and supercharge your day by spending a couple of minutes in the morning to think about that day’s intention. What will the day be about? Is it joy? Is it connection? Is it efficiency? By simply mentally focusing back to that intention throughout the day, you will feel an energetic shift in results (all without you having to actually do anything different).
3/ Being an Intentional Leader
How you show up as leader has a dramatic effect on a group atmosphere and holding a clear intention will shape results. Experiment with holding a single intention for a day at the office – or a meeting – or a rehearsal. e.g. / “Today is about spreading joy”. “Today is about teamwork”. “Today is about respect”. Write out your intention, and refer back to it. It doesn’t matter what the specific activities of your day are, you will be approaching them with a different underlying intention. One simple thought will focus your energy and makes things shift.
4/ Being Intentional in Conversation
Think about being intentional in an important conversation. As an example – consider the age-old conversation you have with your teenager when they forget to phone and tell you that they will be coming home later than expected from the party. What if the intention you held for that tricky conversation was “love and respect” for your teenager? You don’t need to think about changing what you are going to say. Your words and your tone automatically will change if you change your intention. Imagine how differently your teen might hear “Tommy, I need you to call me if you are going to be late” if your intention is to show how much you love and respect him.
5/ Being Intentional about a Specific Activity or Event
Being intentional for any activity or event has a powerful focusing effect on the experience and its outcome. As an example, let’s take the dreaded “networking” event. What might happen if you held a mental intention of “connecting” with people instead of “getting business”? How might your actions change as a result? Intention gives us a sense of control and allows us to “create” our conditions vs. simply “reacting” to them. Instead of life “happening to us”, we are shaping it.