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TP Intentionality the Secret to Getting More of What You Want

Intentionality: The Secret to Getting More of What You Want

It’s springtime. In Houston this means the likelihood of rain. Sometimes lots of it.

And predictably, the evening news will feature flooded cars.

People standing near their cars with surprised, worried, and fearful expressions.

Complaining that it rains in spring here.

Viewers will watch the news and question, “What was he thinking? Did he really think he could make it through that water? Didn’t he consider the consequences of having a flooded car?”

If you miss it this year, just be patient.

You can watch it again next year.

In today’s article, we’re going to look at this event through the lenses of desires, intentions, and outcomes.

What happens when our desires and intentions don’t align?

How can you create intentions which result in desired outcomes?

Let’s start here…

What’s the difference between a desire and an intention?

Desires and intentions are related but they aren’t the same.

A desire is a strong feeling of wanting something or wishing for something to happen,

Desires can be driven by physical needs, emotional wants, or aspirations. A strong desire might be a craving.

I’m thinking the man in the picture had a strong desire to be on the other side of the flooded intersection.

A desire might be expressed as a goal, want, or need. Desires are important. We need to know what we want.

An intention, on the other hand, follows a decision.

An intention is a conscious commitment to how you will approach the actions to get what you want.

When we are intentional, we consciously create a posture, mindset and language that guides behavior towards a particular goal or outcome.

Being intentional is to be conscious of how we will show up for the task.

Being intentional requires a sense of direction and commitment.

Intentions are grounded in values and awareness.

I’m thinking the man with the flooded car wasn’t intentional in his actions.

The responses to his viewers’ questions might provide insight:

  • What were you thinking? I was thinking I really wanted to be home for dinner.
  • Did you really think you could make it through that water? I guess I just wasn’t aware. My mind was somewhere else. Trucks were making it through…
  • Did you consider the consequences of having a flooded car? Let’s change the subject. By the way, would you give me a ride to work next week?

“A desire is what we want. An intention is how we decide to get what we want. Thoughtful intention gives a higher likelihood of the outcome we desire.” – Ken Roseboom

Masterful Leaders are Intentional

Back to my favorite topic, leadership.

Masterful leaders are very aware of what they want (desires) and how they are trying to get what they want (intentions).

Masterful leaders are keenly aware of their environment, the people they are leading, the barriers they are overcoming, and their plan to produce the desired outcome.

This intentionality shows up in their conversations.

Masterful leaders are intentional with their posture, the tone of their voice, and the words they choose.

They have specific strategies for different people and audiences. They create an atmosphere consistent with the conversation and the outcome they want to have.

Watch a masterful leader in conversation.

  • Are they deepening connection with an empathetic posture, voice, and slower cadence?
  • Are they holding a boundary with a firm voice, a grounded and stable posture, and short, simple sentences.
  • Are they motivating and influencing with high energy arm movements, an animated face, and a louder voice?

Ready to become a more masterful leader? Start here!

How to Become More Intentional in 3 Easy Steps

“Leaders lead through conversations. Masterful leaders have clear intentions and desires for each conversation.” – Ken Roseboom

1. Get Clear on What You Want.

A heartfelt desire creates focus and paves the way for thoughtful intention.

The strongest desires can be described as hunger. A fire in your belly with a heartfelt yearning in your heart.

Answering these questions will help bring clarity to what you want*:

  • What do you want to stop?
  • What is missing?
  • What do you want more of?

2. Make a Decision.

Once you have clarity about your desire, it’s time to make a decision.

A clear and simple decision will make the next actions more focused and effective.

“The most important step to being a better listener is to make the decision to be a better listener.” – Bruce Anderson

“In order to change on old habit, you must make the decision to become a different person with a new habit.” – Ken Roseboom

The more this decision becomes a clear declaration of your goal, the more likely your intentions will align, and your outcome will be achieved.

Earlier we noted the driver’s unconscious decision was to “get home for dinner soon.”  A more conscious decision might have been to “get home for dinner soon without incident.”

3. Create a simple intentional plan

You are now clear about what you want and have made a clear statement of the change you will make.

Now it’s time to set your intentions on how you will achieve your goal.

Remember the guy with the flooded car?

He was clear on his desire.

He made his decision to get there.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have a grounded, mindful, and intentional plan on how to get more of what he wanted.

Don’t be the guy with the flooded car!

Instead, think through the steps of what needs to be done to reach your goal.

Here is an example of an intentional plan

Let’s say you are a leader who has decided to “be a better listener with a goal of a collaborative solution.”

Here’s what your intentional conversation plan might look like:

  1. Set your intention. Keep it simple as a cue. Maybe something like “I will be a curious and active listener.”
  2. Ground yourself with a mindful moment. Take a few deep breaths and wiggle your feet into the floor. Notice any physical sensations, thoughts, or emotions that arise within you. Become aware of your surroundings.
  3. Check your posture. If someone were to walk into the room would they see you as an active listener?
  4. Check your mindset. Are you truly open to the other person’s viewpoints? Are you withholding your judgements with a keen focus on understanding the other person’s intent?
  5. Check your emotions. Are you truly curious about the other person’s ideas? Are you open to change, innovation, and collaboration.
  6. Practice empathy. Imagine being the other person in their shoes. What is their history and experience? What are their words, gestures, and face really saying?
  7. Seek clarity. What’s not being said? Collaboration takes time and requires that each person be engaged in the conversation with the same understanding.
  8. Seek to be understood. Ok. You have been listening very well. But collaboration requires you to make your thinking visible. Be succinct and check for their understanding.
  9. Close strong. Recap decisions and agreed actions. Summarize the conversation.
  10. Express appreciation. Thank the other person. Also appreciate and acknowledge your own efforts (even if they don’t!)


You may be thinking that active listening is difficult and requires intention.

And you’d be right.

If the path to masterful leadership was easy, every leader would be masterful already.

If you’re ready to set the intention of becoming a masterful leader, a coach can light the way and help you speed your progress. You can learn more about how that works here or book a call with Coach Ken

*I want to acknowledge Rick Tamlyn and his book Play Your Bigger Game for the three questions designed to activate personal growth hunger.

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Ken Roseboom

Ken Roseboom is the President of Thinking Partners. He partners with leaders to increase impact, create aligned teams, and deliver better results. He leverages the Alignment process, assessment tools, expert coaching, and years of front line leadership experience to support his clients.