For a lot of people, “intention” is a word used in yoga class. It has a semi-spiritual undertone and feels a little too far on the oodgie-goodgie side of mindfulness for the average professional or young boss. I remember one of my early yoga classes where the instructor asked us to set an intention for the practice, and I looked at her like she was bonkers. Wasn’t the point of being in yoga to stretch out the kinks and work my core a little? What did I need an intention for?
Well, now I’m a firm believer in living intentionally. It’s the shiz, and here’s why: by setting intentions for a specific meeting, my week, or even my interactions with my fiancé, I can more effectively drive toward the outcomes I want, hit my goals, and be the person I want to be. Intentions can be quick. Although I set intentions for my week or month ahead pretty formally in my Bullet Journal, Kara and I might quickly set intentions with each other on the way to a sales meeting or networking event, and I will make a mental note of who I want to be when sitting down to dinner with Doug.
Fierce Leaders think of intentionality as having several components: Planfulness (setting the intention for what we hope to accomplish), Purpose (being intentional about the underlying reasons for the actions we take), and Being (making intentional choices about who we are being and how we show up).
Let’s break it down.
Planfulness (yup… we’re making that a word) is probably the most obvious one. We all know that we get what we plan for – or if we want to go even MORE cliché and a bit cheesy, we can bring up the age-old adage, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Yes… to be a Fierce Leader, we make plans or goals and strive for them. We set goals that are within reach – but only just barely – and we work like hell to achieve them. We think about the big picture vision, break it into steps, and start climbing. We plan. And with that plan, we can bring along the people around us, because they know what we’re driving toward and by when as well.
Purpose is a bit more nebulous, but you’ve heard about it if you troll the TED talk circuit like I do, or read anything with Simon Sinek’s name on it. He said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He was talking about customers in a business context – but when we think about Fierce Leaders, we’re thinking in the context of influence and engagement. People want to be a part of something meaningful… nothing does that better than a strong purpose that underpins what you do. So if you want to make that plan you came up with actually happen, make sure you’ve got the purpose to back it up.
The “Being” bit of intention is the wonkiest (that’s why it’s in quotes), although it’s gaining lots of traction with the rapid growth of the Coaching profession. “Being” is about making active choices about who we are and how we show up. Fierce Leaders think about the values they stand for, and live in alignment with those values so fastidiously that everyone knows what they’re about. They’re also intentional in the relationships they have, being explicit with everyone around them as to what a successful meeting or encounter would be, and who they will be during the interaction.
How do you lead with intention?...
- How do you make a plan?
- How do you define a purpose behind your plan?
- How do you make active choices about who you are and how you show up?
Related blog posts:
- Click here to read our note on the definition of Fierce Leaders.
- And here for the first element - leaders who bring the fun are fierce.
- Stephanie Judd, Co-Founder, wolf & heron