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Intention-setting can sometimes be dismissed as eccentric and reserved for metaphysical and spiritual conversations.  Often, many of us corporate professionals gravitate towards the goal-setting process, seeing it as more concrete and tangible.  We equate intention-setting to being “wishy-washy” and whimsical; completely underestimating its impact.  As a natural Type-A Virgo, I am a solid advocate for setting goals, especially S.M.A.R.T. ones.  However, in the last year or so, I have begun to intentionally incorporate intentions into my process.

I personally like to think of intentions as a broader purpose that encompasses our overall desire for well-being. It determines how we want to be and feel in the moment, regardless of whether our goals are achieved or not.  While it is less specific than a goal, it still has a very significant part to play and may even be a stronger motivator for accomplishment for some. 

To illustrate the distinction between goal and intention, consider the following example.

 You may have a goal to negotiate a promotion to Senior Manager of IT by the end of 2018.  However, your intention could be to see each moment, good or bad, as a learning experience and to maintain your sense of self through it all. 

An intention is felt while a goal is more often seen. 

Below are three concrete ways you can begin to incorporate intentions in your corporate career.

Be Intentional in Your Job Search and Selection

As a career coach, I spend most of my time in sessions with clients who are having a less than fulfilling experience in their jobs.  In some of those cases, we determine that the reason for their dissatisfaction is a lack of alignment between their personal and career needs vs their companies’ cultures.  My initial question is often the same. 

Were you intentional about finding a company that would meet your needs?

In most instances, the answer is “No”.  Being intentional in your job selection means looking beyond pay checks, titles and even job descriptions.  It means going the extra mile to determine whether you would be happy and fulfilled showing up to work every day. 

Be Intentional in Your Daily Tasks.

At the start of the new year, many of us set career goals often around salary increases, promotions, travel, new jobs, leadership roles, etc.  The excitement is palpable as we can visualize ourselves achieving our goals.  However, by end of Q1, majority fall off track and just continue to show up without really showing up.   One of the reasons is that we become inundated and obsessed with simply completing tasks, often finding ourselves following other people’s agendas.

Are you intentional in how you define productivity?

Are you spending time on the tasks and activities that drive you towards your goals? Or do you define productivity by how many random tasks you complete? Are you blown off course by whatever email drops into your inbox?  Are you accepting every meeting you are invited to? Are you defaulting to one-hour meetings even when the topic at hand requires only a ten-minute discussion? It may be difficult to completely control 100% of your time at work.  We all know how it feels to have a perfectly planned day only to have to spend six hours putting out one fire or the other.  However, practicing being intentional as you plan and execute your day will also set expectations and train people on how to relate with you in the workplace.

Be Intentional in Your Relationships.  

I think we can all agree that building relationships can have a significant effect on your career – favorable and unfavorable.  While mentors, coaches and like-minded colleagues can help move us in the right direction, there are other relationships that are not in our best interests. 

Are you intentionally surrounding yourself with the people who are empowering and inspiring you?

 Begin to take stock of the people in your life and quickly ascertain where they fall on the spectrum.  While no one is perfect, you may begin to find certain people who are not contributing to or may be detracting from your wellbeing and career success.  You may also find certain interactions to be energizing, intellectually stimulating & supportive. Figure out how to surround yourself with the right people to help you along your journey.

It may turn out that the needs you have are not being met by anyone in your circle.  Begin to think about how to attract those you need closer to you.

One powerful way to begin this process is to just…START! Each day before you get going, decide who you want to feel.  Do you want to feel fulfilled, inspired, and productive?  If Yes, begin your day with a moment of stillness that includes intention-setting.  Even when you falter on your goals, you can always count on your intentions to keep you going.

Intelle offers career coaching for Black, Millennial women in corporate careers.  For more career and wellness boosting strategies visit us at www.intelle.us