How to Activate Purpose with Intention
I discovered intention in a yoga class. I learned to “set my intention” in every session, kept it in mind throughout, and that focus helped me achieve results. People often ask us what the difference is between Purpose and Intention. The purpose of practicing yoga was to find an exercise routine that I would enjoy enough to keep doing. However, adding intention to that meant that every session included a plan for the day to achieve my purpose.
Purpose has to do with a “settled determination” to get to a particular aim or end. Intention is defined as an “aim that guides action.” With an aim, there is an effort directed toward attaining Purpose. This is why Intention is greater than Purpose and has the power to change our communication– it’s like a business plan, and when executed against it produces results.
We have seen over and over that when an intention becomes a focus, it is the fuel that lights up our minds and guides us in the steps to take to get to our desired aim. In a beautiful post on Intention on Inc.com, Rhett Power says intention “brings energy to our words and actions and assures they can accomplish our purpose.” In our communication, the intention to make something happen brings a commitment to our words and helps us determine what is necessary to be said and what is not, what is in alignment with that intention and what is not, activating our authentic voice.
Intention alone will not have an impact because though it brings us a plan, we still need to execute against that plan. Thus, the real impact is created when we focus on an intention that motivates us in our hearts and souls, that gives a reason to get up in the morning and keep going. Rhett Power writes, “When the words we speak, though, and the actions we perform, align with our ‘direction of the heart,’ we feel the energy of our conscious intention.”
A “direction of the heart” activated a successful ask for promotion by one of my clients. Here’s how that Intention affected the conversation:
“It was amazing because I said, ‘Here’s my intention in this, in this company and in the world,’ and because I had to stick to my conviction of this intention, I was able to ask for what I wanted.” She went on to speak about how it changed her experience of the situation. “It just removed the fear of ‘where’s this gonna go?’ Putting my intention in front, I can still be strategic, but I can almost disarm the other side because I’m speaking from the point of truth, my soul, my heart, my belief system and therefore I have to be true to myself.”
Thus, Intention and Purpose are different because Purpose is just an aspiration unless it is activated. Intention is Purpose with a path to get there, and the clearer and more passionate we become about our Intention the more likely it is to energize us to act and speak in such a way that we realize our purpose by activating others, too.
For more on how to use intention to activate purpose, please see Let’s Be Real: Authenticity, Presence, and Intention.