written by Erica Quam
I was talking to a coach this week who shared one of her accomplishments. (I have coaches begin our calls by telling me what went well, what they’re proud of, and things they’ve accomplished since the last time we spoke).
This coach shared, “My accomplishment was...I actually set an intention.”
“Alright! Cool!” I replied. “What did setting an intention look like for you? What did you do?”, I asked.
The coach described what happened. “A reporter had called me up and left a voicemail. He was writing a feature story on me and wanted to set up an interview. I just got really nervous. I hate doing interviews. They terrify me! I never knew what they’re gonna ask, I never feel prepared, and most of the time I get misquoted or even worse - things just taken out of context.”
“Okay,” I said...”then what?”
She continued, “I stayed up late that night worrying about what questions this guy would ask. The next morning, instead of calling him back, I put it off and worried some more. My stomach was in knots and I was pissed at myself...I was thinking...this is just so stupid. So, I picked up the phone and began to dial. As the phone rang something popped into my head. I remembered something we had talked about during one of our coaching calls. Before anyone answered I quickly hung up the phone.”
I responded. “Hmmm...interesting you stopped yourself. What did you do next?”
“I closed my office door, turned off the lights, and closed my eyes. I asked myself those three questions we had talked about: 'who do I want to be, how do I want to feel, and what do I want the outcome to be?' I just jotted a few thoughts down on a piece of paper. I took a couple more deep breaths. Then I picked up the phone again.”
“Then what happened?” I asked.
“I was amazed. It was my best interview ever! I felt like I knew what the next question was going to be even before he asked it. It was like we’d known each other for a long time...and were just having a relaxed conversation. I really felt like we connected - like he understood me and really got what I did. Now, I can’t wait for the article to come out. I’ll send it to you when it comes out.”
“Oh, and get this...before we hung up, he said he would send me a draft...so I could look it over. He wanted me to let him know if anything was incorrect or if he misrepresented me in any way. He really wanted to capture the essence of me as a coach. Do you believe it?”
Setting an intention is a powerful tool. It's directing the mind to take aim. You can set an intention for BIG moments - like for the new year, for the season, or for a big event.
The most powerful application is incorporating intention as a habit...or better yet, a practice.
Set intentions for the small things that come up each day - to move towards a better outcome.
Here are a few examples of when you can tap into the power of your intention:
- walking out to practice
- meeting with your team
- asking for a raise
- giving constructive feedback to an assistant coach
- before a conversation with a challenging athlete
- seeing a parent that drives you crazy
- going home to your family at the end of a long, stressful day
The process for setting an intention is simple:
When you take time to pause, you allow yourself to focus. Harness the power of your attention (that's usually just splattered all over the place!)
When you observe your breath, you come into the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future (what hasn't happened yet) or dwelling in the past (things that may not happen again) you come into the HERE and the NOW (the only moment that matters).
To set an intention, try this 3 question formula: 1) who do I want to be? 2) how do I want to feel? 3) what do I want the ideal outcome to be?
This is something that doesn’t have to take a lot of time and can be one of the most powerful things you do each day. Move away from reacting to everything and move towards responding. That’s when you'll really begin to create better outcomes.