Are you team expectation or team intention?

energy goals Sep 19, 2023

Last week, I had a great conversation with a new coaching client, and we discussed an upcoming event. She said (something like), "I don't have any expectations, but I do have intentions." Brilliant! How perfect!


I've been on a bit of an expectation kick lately. Still, this distinction between having an expectation (outcome-based) and setting an intention (energy- and process-based) was too good to leave unexamined.


It's tough not to have expectations when we go to a trial; after all, we are programmed to believe that if we work hard, we will get results. We train, proof, stick to our rituals, and bring proper hydration, but we are surprised and frustrated when that preparation doesn't pay off in the form of a Q. This is because underneath everything we say aloud is the expectation of the desired outcome - Q, win, title, points, etc. Expectations are sneaky that way.


Intentions, on the other hand, are inherently open. They don't presume to know the result, but they take into account how we want to feel (energy) and how we want to execute (process). "Have fun" is an intention. "Get my dog to the ring calmly and focused" is an intention. Intentions are less about the specifics and more about the journey of it all.


Setting intentions does NOT mean we give up on outcome goals. Yet intentions require us to stop needing to control every aspect of how we achieve those outcome goals. We loosen our grip, as it were. We allow for there to be multiple ways to achieve our goals.


And if you're thinking, "But in order to Q, I actually do have to score x," I say maybe. My first QQ (agility) happened when the judge did not call a clearly missed contact. Her mistake was my gain - I Q'd and technically didn't earn it. Stuff happens, including little miracles and gifts.


I'm planning to set more intentions going forward. I'm not only going to set them for trials but also for classes, training sessions, and even morning walks. Knowing how I want to feel will guide my actions and support my process goals throughout. Seems like a powerful shift to me - what do you think?

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