Make your intent obvious. The world aligns around those who show intent. You never know who can help you realise your goals.
For many years, I have passionately advocated for working out loud and open ways of working. My logic is simple, they work better and I have had personal experience of the differences sharing your work can make. Today, I wanted to focus in on the power of sharing your intent.
Expose Your Intent
Somewhere through late childhood and early years of work, as our lives become more competitive and demanding, we develop a sense that our intent should be hidden for our best effectives. Some time people will outright advise us to keep our goals secret. Other times we learn from the behaviour of others. We start to fear that others want to frustrate our efforts. We start to believe that we can better achieve our goals through secrecy and manipulation.
The easiest way to achieve your goals is to align other people around that goal. Rarely, is that changing other people’s intent. Mostly, it is finding people who share the same intent. Finding the aligned is like looking for a needle in a haystack, unless you share your intent publicly.
When you are public about the intent of your work, you discover most people are indifferent. Very few people will go out of their way to stop you. Most people who discourage you would discourage any attempt at anything. They can see the challenge and not the opportunity. Both groups will be outweighed by the potential of finding those who can help or can help connect you to others.
The commonest reaction I get to sharing the intent of my work is for someone to say ‘I didn’t realise that’s what you wanted to achieve’. Often that is followed by ‘I can help.’ If someone declares or shows their intent to frustrate me, at least I know who to avoid in future.
Make Intent Real
A second benefit of putting your intent out into the world is that it makes it real. When we declare the goals of our work it helps make that goal tangible to us. Ideas in our head have a habit of shifting and becoming vague over time without the benefit of being shared and acted upon.
Nothing keeps me more honest to my intent than someone saying ‘Hey, Simon, you said you were writing a book. How is it going?’ Putting your intent out into the world enables others to help by holding you to account in little and big ways.
Find something you want to achieve, big or small. Share it with one or more others. Be surprised by the differences you see.