Intention vs. Experience

by | Mar 11, 2021 | 0 comments

Are you really helping people feel understood, valued, and cared for? Or is it just your intention?

I think I have a good grasp of what it is to be a servant leader. I am a good person, honest and well-intended, but I know my journey is far from complete and there is more work to do.

How do I know this? I thought about my thinking.

I realized that my tally of thoughts was often more about my experience, my perception, and my objectives than the other person’s. Was this reducing my effectiveness as a servant leader? Of course, it was!

So, I needed to shift and eventually got clarity on what now seems so obvious. The shift was awkward at first, but soon felt natural. It made communication so much easier, reduced the drama, and increased both my energy and my desired impact to be of service.

Here is my discovery…

Step 1: What Is My Intention?

I started asking myself about my underlying intention and getting honest with myself. Was my INTENTION aligned with my values and desire to be of service? Sometimes I find underlying “stuff” related to old habits or insecurities around control, avoiding anxiety, being right, or lingering resentments.

I learned through mindfulness techniques that just accepting and acknowledging these underlying items allows me to release them and move forward with my higher and more valued intent.

Step 2: Recognize the Reality of Experience

How people will experience me comes through their own lenses. They may react based on their judgement of my intent vs. my true intent.  Assumptions, judgments, and misunderstanding abound in communication.

The solution: State my intention. If I do not state my purpose or objective for communication, the other party is left to their own judgement. My intent is hidden unless I speak it out.

Step 3: Ask Vs. Assume Needs and Expectations

I have learned to ASK a person what they NEED or expect. If I do not understand a person’s needs, how can I truly be of service? Sometimes there is a conflict between a persons’ needs and mine, but it is much easier to NEGOTIATE a productive collaboration when we know each other’s needs and expectations vs. assuming or being oblivious to them.

Step 4: Accountability & Building Trust

Finally, I need to be ACCOUNTABLE and deliver on agreements no matter how small. This means regular check-ins to ensure the other person agrees that I am meeting my commitments and vice versa. It is so important that I make the effort, using whatever process or reminders I need, to follow through, otherwise how can they trust my words and me.

That’s it! The fruit of this process is improved communication, trust, energy, and alignment with my values.

Do I follow these steps all the time? No, but I am much more aware. I choose to act on my highest intention most of the time; I accept that I am not perfect, and I move forward.

I challenge you to examine your own thinking and communication process to determine if you are really being of service.

Are you really helping people feel understood, valued, and cared for? Or is it just your intention?


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