Attention Versus Intention
Intentionality is a topic that relates to everyone on personal and professional levels. It’s about knowing and focusing on your purpose. When you lack purpose, you may find yourself suffering from intention deficit disorder which leads to procrastination and distractions.
That brings us to a key point in understanding intentionality, which is to identify the difference between attention and intention. Attention is what you are paying attention to; it’s what you are looking at in life. Intention, on the other hand, is the “why” you are a looking at it i.e. the motive behind where you are sending your attention.
What’s Driving You?
There is a lot of emphasis on the question of what you should do with your life and how you are going to spend your time. What we neglect to focus on is what it is that drives you? (The Why of Intention). Think about your profession or how you spend your time each day. You know what you are doing, but do you know why you’re doing it? If you don’t know the why, then why are you doing it in the first place? It may sound like a silly question, and yet when it isn't answered it runs in the background of your mind and causes you to check facebook, play with your phone, daydream etc rather than focus on the seemingly important tasks at hand.
Intentionality is about asking the question and taking the time to answer what is really driving you? When you know what is driving you, the answer to what you should be doing becomes much more obvious. If you don’t know what it is that drives you, you won’t know where you are going, and therefore what to really focus on in your life (or even in your day).
The intentionality hierarchy is a breakdown of your focus at any given moment. First, you must ask the question, “What am I about as a person?” (Intention) If you are going to give your time and energy to anything in life, you need to identify what is important to you. Once you know what you are about and why you are here, then it becomes much easier to answer what (Attention) you should do because now you can ask yourself, “Does what I’m paying attention to align with my intention?” With intention, you have focus and can take clear action in the directon your life is geared to go.
Identifying Your Attention Versus Intention
To identify your intention, the first question to ask yourself is, “What is important to me about what I am doing with my life?” Write down your answers and ask the questions again, but this time question only the answers you just wrote down. Continue to question your answers and eventually you’ll get to a theme. The same language is going to keep coming back. You may even start to experience an emotional connection with the answer to your intention.
Step two is to take your answer and hold it in your heart or the background of your mind. Be with it and see if it’s true for you. Once you have that, you can start asking if what you are paying attention to in your life connects with your intention. If it doesn’t, you may be giving up what you ultimately care about for whatever you happen to be doing in the moment.
This process of identifying your intentions allows you to focus on what really matters in your life.
The coaching room offers a variety of programs grounded in emotional intelligence and NLP.
We offer EQ days to help individuals develop their emotional intelligence. EQ days offer a great way to explore the questions posed here and begin your journey to a more intentional life.