Focus, Expectations & Intentions

What an epic failure I am.

Everything I set out to do didn’t work out.

Somewhere I got off track and totally lost focus.

I’m done.

I’ve heard these lame excuses so often from my clients, I’ve lost count. And no matter how often I’ve heard them, they still bother me. Because once again, it means I have to get my client to stop spinning out of control and get it together. It’s a good thing I love what I’m doing, otherwise this would become such a drag on me. Selfish and uncaring of me to say this? No. I speak the truth.

Many of my clients come to me because something is not working in their lives any longer. Their relationships are suffering, their positions at their organization are on shaky grounds or going nowhere, and even their dogs have started hiding from them.

What is going on here? It’s easy. They have either lost the three things critical to their happiness, or they never had them in the first place. What are these three things? Focus, expectations, and intentions.


Let’s begin with Focus. This is a fairly simple concept to understand, right? Wrong. I hate to break it to you, but focus doesn’t just mean “staring at something long enough to see it clearly.” There is so much more to the word than meets the eye (pun intended).

Focus is all about energy—where you direct it, where you keep it, where you want it to go. (In fact, all three of these things are about energy and how it gets placed, shifted, and moved around.)

Focus involves reflection. In order to get better focused, it’s necessary to reflect on matters first. Are you getting what you want or need at the moment? What are you not getting, but desperately need?

By the way, let me state something very clearly here: We all need food, water, shelter, clothes, etc. These things are non-negotiable. But let’s talk about wants. Remember—there is nothing wrong with wanting something, whether you need it or not. We deserve to have things we want. We deserve success (however you define it), happiness, and peace of mind. And we can get these things if we focus our energy on getting them.

When we put focus on the things we want, we open ourselves up to receiving them. We remove the blocks we’ve put on ourselves and allow them to come in. While we can be our own worst enemies at times, we are also the only ones responsible for change. Focus. Envision. Act. Receive. It’s that simple.

Expectations & Intentions

Expectations and Intentions are frequently interchanged and often misunderstood. A lot of people assume (wrongly) they’re the same thing. This is not true! There is a huge difference between these two things. Huge. It’s just that people don’t always understand the difference, and that’s why I am here. To explain, in no uncertain terms, the differences between expectations and intentions, because they produce entirely different emotional responses.

An expectation is an outcome that is anticipated or assumed will happen after something is completed. For example, let’s say a manager assigns her team a complicated task that involves several steps with precise procedures that must be followed or the whole project will not succeed “as expected.” (This is a common situation among engineers—people who are notorious for writing and following explicit instructions.)

The manager is expecting her team to follow all the procedures exactly as she wants them to, but there is a glitch in the procedures, and somewhere, something has gone wrong. The end result does not meet the expectations she had at the beginning. Everyone ends up disappointed, and possibly angry at each other, passing the blame around.

Whose “fault” is it, really? The team, for following the steps? Or the manager, for expecting her team to succeed despite the fact that what she gave them wasn’t right to begin with?

Expectations are like that. When someone’s preconceived expectations are not met by someone else, that causes misunderstandings, friction, and problems. Does this mean we should all stop placing expectations on others? No. This just means we must be aware of what our expectations are, and whether or not those expectations can be realistically met. And if they aren’t, that’s okay, too. It just means there is room for improvement. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are lessons.

What about an intention? An intention is a thought or act that comes with an emotional attachment to it. It is the way we want our words, thoughts, and actions to be understood. It isn’t what we want to receive, it’s what we want to give. See the difference? Let me share another example.

Texting! How often have you sent a text to someone who totally misinterprets it? You intended one thing with your message, but it came across entirely different than that. That’s happened to me. It happens to everyone. And since we aren’t mind readers, we don’t necessarily know what the other person’s intentions were because it’s personal to them, and not always obvious to us. It sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Well, that wasn’t my intention. (See what I did there?)

To clarify further, an intention is something that is consciously set at the start of something new. It’s not time specific, though, and can take place at any time – the start of the day, middle of the afternoon, during the evening… It is also personal in nature and doesn’t need to involve anyone else. And here is the great thing about an intention – when you speak it, it helps bring it to life. It connects you to the universe, to spirit, to whatever you believe motivates you to act.

Let’s take a look at a few statements I phrased as both intentions and expectations. Here are the statements written as intentions:

“Today, my intention is to gain a better understanding about_________.”

“Today, my intention is to spend some time listening to fun music.”

“Tomorrow, I intend to walk an extra half mile.”

Now, let’s write them as expectation statements, instead:

“Today, I expect to gain more understanding about_________.”

“Today, I expect to spend some time listening to fun music.”

“Tomorrow, I expect to walk an extra half mile.”

See how the intentions put less pressure on you? For the expectation statements above, let me ask you this: What if the expectations don’t materialize? How will that make you feel? Angry? Upset? Disappointed? Probably a combination of all of them.

These are the differences between expectations and intentions. A lot of people have great intentions, but they never turn those intentions into expectations. A great example of this is when projects are created. Initially, there is a lot of talk and excitement among all the key players. But then…nothing happens. The best intentions have been tossed aside because nobody stepped up and turned them into expectations. It happens all the time!

Here are some general tips to improve your intentions:

  • Get in touch with your emotional body. How are you feeling?
  • What is it you want to experience?

When intentions and expectations are set, stress and frustration are diminished. Knowing what you want and need are key to being successful in just about everything you do. Take time out of your day, every day, to focus on what you need, what you expect, and what you intend to accomplish. This will be so beneficial to helping you get back in sync with yourself.

If you want to really make a change for the better, take the Intention Setting to Synchronicity program. And for additional information about how you can get “in sync” and set better intentions and expectations, check the Being In Sync 6-Week Accelerated Program.