Do you know the difference between setting intention and setting goals?
There was a time that I would list my goals and barrel through them thinking that completing them was what I needed to do to feel successful. I made lists, knocked them out, and made new lists.
Yet even so, I couldn’t shake the feeling that, no matter how many goals I checked off those lists, there was always something elusive I couldn’t seem to grasp.
What I came to learn is that goals alone are not enough to bring success. You have to pair them with intentions, too.
In her book, Letting the Upside In, Lori Cash Richards writes, “I honor my own intentions more than I did in earlier decades. Since energy follows thought, I set clear, positive intentions that affirm what I want to create.”
But how is setting intention different from setting any other kind of goal?
If goals are flowers, intentions are the seeds.
When you set your intention, your goals follow—not the other way around. You don’t gain the intention of becoming an entrepreneur because you created the goal of owning a business. Owning a business became your goal because you set the intention of becoming an entrepreneur.
This may seem obvious, but acknowledging the nature of this process allows you to consistently put the horse in front of the cart. And that in turn keeps you moving forward toward your goals.
But enough pie in the sky.
Let’s take a look at a real world example.
How It Works
During the financial crisis of 2008, I was coaching the General Manager of a private club. I helped the GM and her team create a goal of meeting their budget, at the same time setting an intention that the recession would not come into the club.
They revisited that intention at all weekly team meetings.
Team members were encouraged not to talk about how bad things were out in the recession-rocked world. Instead they just told each club member, “We’re glad you’re here,” and focused on serving them.
Holding the intention of creating a positive atmosphere allowed the team to focus on providing quality service to club members. Feeling supported and cared for, members continued to come to the club again and again.
And as the team saw the results, they gained further conviction that just continuing to do this one simple thing—provide great service—would make a big difference.
Despite the recession, business didn’t drop off—it increased.
The club finished the fiscal year in the black and well ahead of budget. At the same time, their intention to not allow the recession into the club allowed them to make it happen without layoffs or wage freezes, and with continued full benefits for all team members.
THAT’s the power of intention.
You Can Do It Too
Setting intention works in many aspects of business—from starting a new enterprise, to building a team, to managing growth.
And honestly—it’s dirt simple.
Next time you think about one of your goals—business or personal—see if you can pair it with an intention. Then, focus on the intention, and let go of the goal as much as you can.
That way, you’re attention is on the process, not on the outcome.
The results will amaze you.
What are the intentions behind your business goals? Let us know in the comments.