woman demonstrating the power of intentionality

Definition of Intentionality

During the past several weeks, I’ve suggested a number of strategies to help you become present to your moment by moment experience. A final strategy I want to teach on this important topic is “intentionality” which is a powerful declaration about how you intend to “show up” in some moment of time. It is not a destination, something you are striving for, but rather a psychological/spiritual state you create, from deep within. It is a place you “come from.”

A passage from the Book The Hero’s Choice: Living from the Inside Out, describes what this is about.

Kathy was stressed enough for both of she and Hal. On their way to the courthouse, she asked him for the umpteenth time how he was feeling. “Aren’t you even a little nervous?”
“A little,” he said. “You never know what might happen. But, overall, I feel great.” (p. 252)

You Can Choose How You Want to Feel

Hal didn’t feel great because he was certain about how the judge would rule. He felt great because he had taken full responsibility for his inner state of being. He created, rather than leaving to chance or circumstances, the psychological state he desired to come from. And, he was learning that by creating a positive (powerful, resourceful, loving) inner state, he would attract good (remarkable) outcomes into his life. What he put out is what he got back. He was no longer victim but creator of his life. He was now truly living inside out.

Hal closed his eyes for a few moments. This morning, I choose … He finished the sentence in a number of ways, visualizing the outcomes he desired. More importantly, the way he wanted to feel and be throughout the morning—no matter what happened. Then he stood.
“Where are you going?” Kathy asked.
“I’ll be right back.” He walked down the hallway and up to his partners, who were engrossed in conversation. They stopped talking when Keith noticed Hal approaching and alerted the others.
“Hi, everyone,” Hal said. “I just wanted to say good morning. It’s good to see you all.”
They stared and smiled at him awkwardly. Except for Gutierrez. “Whatever you have to say, save it for the meeting.”
“I’ll see you inside, then.” Hal turned and walked back to Kathy and Mitchell. (p.253)

How to Create Intentionality

How do you create this state? It really does begin with intentionality. Ya gotta want it. Hal created it because it felt so good. It was incredibly rewarding, far more than all the payoffs he was getting out of feeling like a victim of his partners, wife, father, life. It gave him the ability to take destiny into his hands, and by so doing, feel real joy, peace, and goodwill.

You know how to create your psychological state. Imagine you’re feeling down or upset and then get a phone call from a really great friend whom you haven’t heard from in a long time. During the conversation you go from down to excited. You get off the phone feeling quite a bit better. The call was the trigger you needed to change your psychological state.

The Psychology of Your Emotional States

There is a psychology that accompanies depression, anger, fear, lack of confidence, etc. And there is a psychology that accompanies confidence, happiness, love, gratitude. These states include your physiology and your self-talk. By changing your physiology and self-talk, you can change your mental/emotional state. What is your physiology when you are afraid? How do you talk to yourself? What is your physiology when you are confident? How do you talk to yourself? You can practice intentionally shifting from one state to another.

It begins with “I choose.” The words are a declaration of your conviction and intent to come from a more empowering state. You have to feel the words as you say them. You have to feel real intentionality and then deliberately assume the physiology and thinking (self-talk) that accompany this state.

Practice “I choose…”

So I invite you to practice. Think about the state you desire and then do three things: First, create the physiology that goes with that state. Imagine the state and the physiology will come to you. Assume the posture, facial expressions and so on, of this state.

Second, identify the thoughts and self-talk that accompany this state. Come up with some specific, positive statements that reflect where you want to come from.

Third, now make statements that begin with the words “I choose….” These statements express your intentionality. Say them powerfully and with conviction and you will be creating the mindset to bring about the results you desire.

Use this technique at the start of the day or as you’re facing a challenge. By doing so, you’re taking command of your programming and setting yourself up to succeed.



  1. Harold

    Would you give some examples of statements for self-talk?

    • Roger Allen

      Hi Harold,

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you seeking some examples. Here is what I’m talking about:
      “I choose to put a positive spin on situations and events.”
      “I choose to step up to challenges with confidence today.”
      “I choose to believe in myself.”
      “I choose to be present and pay full attention to others as I communicate.”


      Of course, the statements depend on the day and what you have going on. Hopefully, these examples help.

  2. Harold

    Hello Roger
    Great examples, thank you!

    I realize there are three major triggers in my life that I allow to take me to a low feeling. All three are people who have some kind of power over me. When i react to them: it’s victim, then anger, depression, resentment. How did Hal find the strength to make the choice to go over and shake his old friends hands? He needed a powerful up lift or a surge of strong new feelings. How did he find that feeling?

    • Roger Allen

      Hi Harold, accept my apologies for being slow to respond to you. It is apparent that you have a good deal of self-awareness to identify your triggers and emotional reactions. You’re obviously on a good path.

      As you know from my book, Hal did go through a process before he was able to shake his old partner’s hands. His initial reaction to them was similar to yours–he felt like a victim, angry and depressed. Over time, he began to realize that it’s not what others do to us, so much as what we do to ourselves that keeps us in a negative emotional state. Hal’s perceptions about his partners were distorted. Gradually, he began to realize this and change his viewpoint as well as his behavior. This takes a lot of personal responsibility. It was when he took full responsibility for his thoughts, feelings and behavior within his relationships that something shifted inside him. He was no longer a victim. He had freedom to act instead of being acted upon. His surge of positive feelings came from full responsibility for his emotional reactions. Sometimes this happens quite suddenly, as we achieve new insights. Sometimes it is a more gradual process.

      How would your thinking need to shift so you were not giving these three people so much power? What can you do to take a greater measure of responsibility, not for what they do, but for your responses to what they do? How would you talk to yourself so you were no longer a victim of them or their actions. I’m not suggesting these people are harmless or innocent in their actions. But are you willing to take 100% responsibility for your reaction to them? As you do so, you find new freedom. By that I mean new options to either leave the relationship, communicate differently (more authentically or assertively), behave differently or frame it in a new way, in a way that isn’t so painful.

      I hope this gives you some help.



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