Conquering Goal Buster #2: Lack of Intent

Welcome back! I’m Charlotte Hicks, and I’m with you all this week for The Writer’s Life.

So far this week, you’ve worked on identifying your one big goal and eliminating any points of incongruence. You should be very comfortable with your goal at this point.

But we’re not done yet! There’s a big gap between “I’d like this to happen” and “I’m committed to making this happen.”

Let me give you an example of differing levels of intent to illustrate what I mean.

One of the skills I teach in open-water scuba classes is how to remove and replace your mask underwater. Students first learn the skill in shallow water, so they can stand up if they get water up their nose and panic. We practice it until they’re very comfortable with the skill, because it’s one they have to demonstrate deeper underwater during their checkout dives.

When the mask replacement goes well on the checkout dive, the student is happy to make a nice, slow ascent to the surface. They want to go to the surface, but there’s no urgency. That’s good — being calm during the exercise is what we’re after.

But when the student gets a bit of water up their nose while they’re clearing their mask, they BOLT for the surface! No nice, slow, safe ascent. They want to get there NOW. That’s an example of serious intent.

It’s my job to stop them from shooting to the surface and avoid a lung expansion injury. So far, I’ve always succeeded. Knowing their life could be at risk gives me all the intent I need to overcome even the most panicked diver.

Why does intent matter? Isn’t it okay to just want something?

Sure, but unless you have a true, burning intent, you won’t push through the difficult times and insist on a resolution. If I don’t have serious intent when a scuba student panics, I wouldn’t be willing to hold onto them when they knock my mask off and claw at my regulator. (Yes, that’s happened more than a few times.)

Intent is what drives you to keep pushing toward your goal until you accomplish it.

A salesman who lacks intent says, “Well, I called them and left a message, but they never called me back.” In contrast, sales master Zig Ziglar was famous for approaching every prospect thinking, “My money is in his pocket, and I’m not leaving until I get it.”

You may have heard the saying that the chicken is involved in breakfast, but the pig is committed. You need to be the pig.

Whatever your goal is, you must be committed to it without reservation.

Evaluate your level of intent to accomplish your big goal on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is, “It would be nice if that dropped in my lap,” and 10 is, “Nothing will stop me until I make it happen.” If you’re not at least at an 8, ask yourself what’s missing and adjust your goal.

Can you think of a time where you had an absolute determination you would accomplish your goal? Share your experience in the comments!

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the final goal buster. It’s a big one, especially for those of us with entrepreneurial minds who love bright, shiny objects.

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Published: January 28, 2015

14 Responses to “Conquering Goal Buster #2: Lack of Intent”

  1. In 1964 I quit high school because of an unfair teacher.
    For 18 years, I worked construction. I never did like it.
    So I decided to be a chiropractor. I took night classes. The hardest class during that six years of education was physics. It was so hard that once I passed that class (with a B) I was determined that there was no way that taking that class would ever be in vain. It cemented me into taking it all the way to its conclusion.
    I've been a doctor of chiropractic since 1989!

    Guest (Doc Boatright)

  2. I can relate to your thoughts about having absolute determination in accomplishing a set goal. I retired from a career in EMS and decided to return to college and be the first in my family to earn a bachelor's degree. I was 56 years old at the time, and decided to attend Gonzaga University near my home in Spokane, WA. It was an eye-opener going back to school with kids younger than mine. I stuck with it and persevered. I glad to say I graduated with honors last May. My absolute determination made it happen.

    Michael Cambron

  3. Thanks for the great post Charlotte - reminding us of the "intent" as you describe it will help any freelancer focus (or re-focus) some of the efforts in the right places.

    Louise Wolfshagen

  4. As a high school graduate, I was placed on a 1 year waiting list at the college I wanted to attend. My first goal was to save every nickel by the time that year was over. I did it! Once in college, my goal was to do my very best. I quit everything I loved to do in order to leave as much possible time available for my schoolwork. I graduated with a 3.7 GPA Now, 37 years later, I need a new career but will build on the skills I learned along the way. New Goal: Professional Copywriter by May 2015!


  5. When I sat for the CPA exam 10 years ago, I was absolutely determined to pass all 4 parts the first time - and I did! I even studied when my husband and I went on a trip to Vancouver Island. Remembering that experience gives me confidence that I can achieve my new goals.

    Liz Farr

  6. I once enrolled in a medical coding course. It turned out to be quite a bit more difficult than I had anticipated it would be. It was supposed to be a one year course... it took me two years to finish, but I did it. I believe what kept me going was that I kept looking back at what I had already accomplished and that gave me the drive to keep going to the end. I didn't want to "waste" all that hard work.


  7. I went to college right after HS..Nobody thought I would do anything with my life. Then I went to school for Social Work. I was determined to make a career, doing what I loved...I graduated National Honors Society and went to Boston University for my Masters.I graduated with a 3.65 in 1993. I have owned a very successful private practice since 2003. I am determined to have a successful copywriting career before I retire. My determination made me successful once, I believe it can do it again.

    Sue Morin

  8. My dad bought me a bicycle for my 8th birthday. I had a balance disorder and the doctor told my parents that I would never learn to ride a two wheel bicycle, so my dad put training wheels on it. Yet my younger brother and sister were riding without them. My dad got upset with me for nagging him to take them off, but he finally did. I wheeled that bicycle out to the street and climbed on. I got all skinned up from falling, but by the end of the day, I was riding it up and down the street.


  9. Charlotte.
    My goal is to establish myself as a freelance copywriter in the medical industry, in the mental health industry more specifically. I enrolled in AWAI's Accelerated program last June 2014 and completed it in October but have not been successful at this because I have no financial resources. I recently obtained a new credit card but I hate to depent on it that much. I am applying for a part-time job as a counselor but I do not want to get sidetracked by this.

    Nora King

  10. I was determined to pass the bar after having missed passing by one point. I did it!

    Guest (Mele)

  11. I was excited about doing the Rome Marathon. On the flight from Chicago to Rome, I didn't sleep at all, so I missed a night of sleep. From my arrival in Rome Friday morning until race time Sunday morning, I slept only a few hours. I couldn't get over the jet lag. As I lay in bed hours before the race, I seriously considered pulling out, I was so tired. But when race time came, I resolved to persevere. As I crossed the finish line close to the Coliseum, I was so happy I didn't give up.

    Guest (Jeff Soufal)

  12. Hi Charlotte:
    My goal is to become a Copywriter. I like writing and after having completed nearly 25 years in the high school classroom, why not? However, I cannot afford to purchase additional lessons. I would like to utilize what I've already purchased, earn a few smackaroos and then attend the Camps and all that's attached to learning more copywriting.

    Guest (Linda)

  13. Hi Charlotte - In 1986, I decided to leave my high-stress career as a court reporter, a career I never liked, and embark on a new career training racehorses. I had a singleness of purpose that drove me into the gym to get as fit as I possibly could. I lost 50 pounds and ten pants sizes. In 1989, I moved to a ranch where I learned to exercise racehorses, and in 1990, achieved my galloping license at Santa Anita racetrack in L.A., a dream come true! I later took a job as a racing official, a job I truly enjoyed.

    Guest (Dana B)

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