Intentions get a bad rap.
Instead of seeing them as a guide for who you want to be and how you want to live, we say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
We say that because we equate intentions with doing nothing. And that’s a cardinal sin in the society we live in today. We must always be “doing.” By contrast, intentions develop from thoughts and feelings, the precursor to action.
I want to rehabilitate intentions because, at their best, intentions show us who we want to be and what we want to do. In fact, intentions are goals in embryo.
Ahh, goals. As a former HR professional, I can talk to you endlessly about goal setting. S.M.A.R.T. goals? You betcha! Goals are tangible. They can be proven outwardly to others. Through your efforts, goals are meant to be recognized externally.
Corporate HR Director
When I worked at a large hospitality company, I focused on compensation, benefits, and H.R.I.S. I spent half my time working with corporate office employees, the other half doing specialized work for the hotels.
As time passed, I saw a need for a new role, a dedicated HR Director just for corporate office employees. I shared my idea but it didn’t go anywhere. Deep down, though, I wanted that job. I wanted to take care of the employees at corporate office.
Years later, I returned to the same company in that very role, Corporate HR Director. I was thrilled!
Goal or Intention?
During my first incarnation at this company, becoming a Corporate HR Director was simply an intention. I thought and felt we needed a committed role just to take care of corporate office employees. “Goal in embryo.”
I didn’t do anything to get the job I wanted. If I had set a goal to get that specific job, I would have single-mindedly pursued only jobs and opportunities that led “there.” No project management, no chairing the strategic planning committee at our children’s school, no working in the meat industry.
So, was being a Corporate HR Director at this company a goal or intention?
I believe we need to set intentions at the turn of the year. Goals have their place, too, but not in this liminal space.
“Being,” which is the primary force behind intentions, can feel wishy-washy. What do you mean, I don’t need to do anything to make something happen? That’s crazy talk!
Well, you know why you need to “make” something happen. Because you must always be doing.
Visualize intentions like the North Star. They guide but don’t direct. In comparison, goals point.
There is one North Star. See the lesson in that. One North Star, one intention. Set one intention. Write it down. Say it aloud. Find ways to remind yourself of it.
Change your thoughts and you change the world. No action required. Don’t believe it? Try it. You’ve got nothing to lose because there’s no effort involved. In fact, your only job is to resist the impulse to act. All you need to do is sit with your intention.
You can connect to your heart’s intention through movement. Yoga works for me. Meditate. Pray. Write. Breathe consciously. Yes, it can be that simple. Focus on the breath to drown out the internal noise. Click below for a quick illustration on four-count breathing.