Right Intention. Right Action.

Right Intention. Right Action.
by Aileen Gibb, MMC

 As I write this piece today I find myself intrigued by the relationship between intentionality and action. Without action, intentionality is orphaned to the world of make-believe. Now that’s a powerful thought, sitting as I am today with what I delude myself into believing are good intentions to make progress towards enrolling participants in an upcoming event. Yet I find myself paralyzed and taking little action. What is stopping me turning my intentions into action?

 I call my coach. 

 I start from the awareness that I know what I’m ‘supposed’ to do: call this person, email that person, send a photo to another person, gradually working through my list of invitees. Yet I’m still not doing it. It’s that word ‘supposed’ that’s stopping me. If I’m ‘supposed’ to do it, have I, in fact set a true intention to make it happen.

“What”, my coach asks me, “is my true intention here?”

This becomes a great pivot for me to self-reflect and inquire into my intentions for this upcoming event.  I realize that I have not set specific enough intention. I thought I had: envisioning  people sitting in the room with me in two months time and feeling committed to them being there.

 Wrong (or non-specific) intention though, leads to wrong (or no) action. My high level intention to run my event, does not translate into specific step by step action that moves me towards making it happen. I need more tangible intentions that will eventually lead to the fulfillment of the bigger dream.

 So I shift my intention and break it down into clearer steps.

My intention — even in the course of my conversation with my coach — becomes ‘call these two people and call them NOW”. My coach actually hangs up the phone while I go and make the calls and invites me to call him back when I’ve done it. Immediate intention, immediate action.

 Next I set a smaller and clearer intention for tomorrow. I WILL call Ian, James, Anita and Sue. Even as I write this commitment as a clearer intention I want to add more names to the list — feeling the momentum building once that first intention is fulfilled. Cary, Bruce and Kelly get added to my call list. And that’s enough. If I let that list get too big again, too quickly it will move farther away from the action required to fulfill the intention. It just becomes some big, unwieldy task list again. Better to keep it small. One step at a time.

And that’s where I get my big ‘aha’ about intention.

 My real intention, the one that’s going to serve me best, is to have the intention about my process and not my outcome.

My intention becomes “make the calls” rather than fill the event (which of course will be the result of fulfilling my intention to make the calls).

 Intention finds its home when I directly relate it to an action I can take in the immediate future.

 That creates an intention I can, and will, fulfill.

 One intentional action step at a time.


Aileen Gibb


Aileen Gibb, Master Masteries Coach with the IAC, is currently taking her coaching to the next level, through her work in the field of leadership conversation, with individuals, entrepreneurs and mission driven, next generation, businesses. Her current client base spans leadership in  the computer games business, with toxin-free health and beauty products, across loyalty sales, advertising and property development and in pursuit of the shifting scopes of the energy industry, where she spent a large part of her own career. Her favourite quote at this time is: “the kind of conversation I’m interested in is the one which you start with a willingness to emerge a slightly different person” (Theodore Zeldin) — a quote which sums up the invitation she extends to all her coaching clients. Check out www.aileengibbinspires.com for current events and availability. Aileen currently splits her time between her adopted home in the Alberta Rocky Mountains of Canada and her native homeland in the northeast of Scotland. 

Scroll to Top

IAC Login