The Power of Intention

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“Say “yes” to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.” David Brooks, NY Times

Your intentions are potentially life-changing.

You know them when, You cannot stop thinking about an idea Your “aha” moment is becoming deafening You identify with others who have traveled a similar path  It is an idea that makes you feel young all over again Your present situation has either run its course, is destroying your spirit or just plain bores you. You have reached the tipping point where you have to act

Of course there are common derailers that interrupt the flow from thought to reality. These include fears that inhibit risk-taking and unexpected events that come out of left field to interrupt our plans.

But when our intentions are conceived at the core of the true self or soul, then what we dream unfolds in ways that surprise everyone including ourselves.

Let me use a personal story. By now it is no secret that we have moved a significant part of our life to Mexico. What drove such a move? Quite honestly, I really cannot say for sure. I find that many of the reasons people give for moving to another country boil down to groupthink, clichés, and sentimental overtones.

Major life changes go far beyond motivations like the low cost of living, excellent climate, intriguing cultural experiences, and even learning another language. Big moves are born in our unconscious desires. And the gestation period for these dreams is often longer than nine months. But there is an idea in us that has to eventually become a reality.

I had been mulling on the idea of living in yet another country for a long time but it was what happened after the move was made that made the power of intention more potent.

After coming to Mexico it dawned on me that I wanted my life’s contribution to be to help  Latin American executives find inspiration in themselves and pass that on to their organizations. I was already doing this type of work in the United States and did not have a single contact in Latin America. Then a year or so ago the intention became a reality. Out of the blue (the universe was conspiring with my intention?) I found myself working with first one then eventually dozens of Latin American senior executives. Looking back I conclude that intention unfolded in three steps

  1. Intend – An idea you cannot get out of your head.
  2. Risk – Having to reset our own inner self-limits (what ifs?).
  3. Act – Improvising how to make it work. You make the decision to launch the process despite the many unknowns..

Remember the ancient mariners who out of curiosity and a sense of adventure felt compelled to sail into the unknown. They acted despite their belief that the world was flat and that they could fall off the edge (risk).

So they faced their fears and acted anyway. As they unfurled their sails (action) they were eventually rewarded with the discovery of new continents.

What is your soul-driven intention right now? What would be the cost of not acting on this prompting? What are your first action steps?

I love the words of the French writer and aviator Antoine de-Saint Exupery “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Start with your inchoate and powerful yearning. Honor the inner prompting. Find a way to make it happen.


About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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5 Responses to The Power of Intention

  1. Jodie Johnson says:

    Cedric, Thank you for this post. It dawned on me while reading it that at the moment I have no big Power of Intention. Sure I have experienced this in the past, but at this time in my retirement life that is a missing piece. I am going to save this particular post because it has inspired me to think of the power, joy and wonder of having a soul-driven intention again and when the feeling hits me next I will recognize it and be driven to act.

    • cedricj says:

      Jodie, the “big” powers of intention are often interpreted in our culture as a profession or job and when we retire it seems that we have left that path. You are an exceptional teacher that has touched the lives of so many special needs children. Now in retirement you put a lot of that energy in giving your grandchildren a sense of security and continuity in the family.

      Think of the power of intention as a river that goes underground. You have something flowing in you that is as yet unconscious. But deep within you the pieces are being put together. Stay tuned and the intention will emerge.

  2. Jodie Johnson says:

    Thank you for the vision of the river within……I am going to respond more often to your blogs just so I can get responses like this one…….you are amazing!!!

  3. genie says:

    Highly descriptive article, I liked that bit.
    Will there be a part 2?

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