The Power of Intention
Henry Ford once said “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” either a liberating insight into the power of your intentions, or a sobering one depending on how you look at it.
I have been reminded repeatedly over the past few weeks about the power of our intentions, that ability to align our thoughts in such a clear and focused way that somehow we find ourselves achieving what we set out to without necessarily planning every action along the way.
These intentions can be immediate, so just before entering a meeting bringing a conscious intention to the forefront of your mind brings a focus that can have some powerful results. ‘I intend to remain calm and objective throughout this conversation’ is one for me that rings true for a recent meeting I was involved in, and true enough I did just what I intended and came out with a result I was more than happy with. I wonder if I had spent the five minutes before that meeting listening to the ‘think you can’t’ part of Henry Ford how different the outcome would have been. I know for sure when I am in the space of positive clear, intention my internal voice is a lot quieter and measured. Step into the other space and all hell breaks loose as my, not so helpful, internal voice so kindly points out all that could go wrong and all I want to avoid, it gets pretty noisy in there!
Knowing that the only person you can completely control is yourself helps to bring the idea of positive intentions to life. When coaching I find myself listening to many coachees trying to work out what they can do to change a situation, generally their focus is all on factors outside their control rather than on themselves and what they are doing and could do to change the situation they find themselves in. A shift of focus onto themselves brings about a new energy and sense of liberation when they identify the things that they have total choice over and noticing when asking themselves the question ‘what can I do?’ how many resources and options appear.
Alternatively long-term intentions can bring about significant life changes even when they sit in our unconscious mind for most of the time. I am reminded of a friend who for many years had talked about relocating so that she could live surrounded by open space and where her work and lifestyle sat comfortably alongside each other. Having worked in the city for many years with a highly successful career this ‘pipe dream’ as she called it, felt impossible. One evening, over a drink, some five years or so ago we talked at length about her ‘pipe dream’ and as the glasses of wine flowed along with the conversation she started to move from a view of all that was impossible about her vision to describing it in detail, as if she had already achieved it. As we went our separate ways, to run for the last train home, as those one ‘quick drink after work’ catch-ups often end up being, she shouted “I am going to make this happen, you know!” I caught up with her again recently, although this time we weren’t in a city bar with a glass of sauvignon, we were in her kitchen drinking tea, looking out on rolling hills and talking about how well her new business was going. She was true to her parting words that evening 5 years ago, and from then held firm her intention to have the best of both worlds, as she described it. Moving away from her deeply entrenched professional behaviour of planning every detail, and moving to a place of not knowing how she would achieve it, she trusted she had the skills and resources to figure that out as long as she held firm to her intention and sure enough it is no longer a ‘pipe dream’ and more ‘living the dream’. Is that all down to intention, who can say, what it would appear to suggest is that getting clear about your intention, trusting you have everything you need, and if you don’t you will get it, to make it happen, is something not to be dismissed. She didn’t think about it every waking hour, she simply found herself aligning and creating opportunities that moved her closer to her long-term goal, many of which she just would not have been aware of had she remained in her place of ‘impossibility’.
There is of course the “law of attraction” according to Rhonda Byrne, the author of ‘The Secret’ which adopts the principle that “like attracts like”. The idea, that if you think about the things you dream of that, this will attract those very things causing them to manifest in your life. Likewise, worrying over a worst-case scenario will cause your fears to be realized. Whether this feels a step to far, the principle remains the same that channelling our minds into positive thinking can produce some interesting results and, in any case, for me, it feels a far more pleasant way to live life!
Founder, Director of OD, LeadEQ