On social media, and all around, we often hear “setting intentions” and “act with intention”. I completely agree that we should do that, and that being intentional can assist us in reaching goals, improving relationships and interacting with the world in an improved manner; however, Ms. Ally Love, Peloton instructor and leader of “The Love Squad” recently spoke during a ride about the concept of “intention” versus “impact” and it really struck a chord.
Frequently people use intentions as a crutch, or a justification for missing a target or poor behavior. They say things like “I did ___ with the best of intentions” yet didn’t complete whatever it was, or ended up having an interaction that was hurtful or negative in some manner. Our intentions, while important, still require the NEXT steps; the playing out the action/scene and seeing if we can walk through the variations of impact. How will the person react? What will this change in your life or the life of another? Will the impact match the intention? Will there be ripple effects beyond yourself and/or an immediate person that might cause ill advised/unintended events? Can the way in which the intention is presented be adjusted to more softly convey the message? Is there a scenario where the impact is perhaps mitigated because of better timing, location of the event, or just adjusting the means of communication?
Of course we can never accurately figure out how everything will work/play out 100%, but we can try to enter into scenarios with BOTH our intentions coming from a good place, AND our impact in the forefront of our mind. If we can learn to take that pause and examine BOTH, we might be able to have more meaningful/positive interactions that cause less harm.