Visualise How Intention Impacts Success

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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

How are things in your life connected?

Buckle up … this is going to get messy!

This is a question I’ve been asking myself for decades from both an academic and evidence-based perspective as well as just from everyday experiences.

The graphic that heads this post is a work-in-progress, but as we close out 2021 with all the distraction and disruption that the global pandemic has impacted on all of us, I wanted to share it with you.

As a professional conference speaker and corporate educator, I’m often asked, “What is it that you speak on?”

My answer changes depending on the context of who is asking and what’s relevant to them.

The Short Answer

Simply put, I talk about the evidence and strategies around how trust impacts almost every measure of success in our professional and personal lives.

And … The Longer Version

However, and again, depending on who is asking the question, the longer version is this:

Most if not all of my clients are looking for ways to increase success in specific areas across their orgnaisation. As a behavioural scientist, what I know from a vast array of evidence-based research, is that trust impacts almost every measure of success in our professional and personal lives. For that reason, whether you’re looking to increase success in areas like sales, customer experiences, leadership, having more adult or crucial conversations, managing disruption, staying motivated in tough times, improving team collaboration, managing individual or team goal achievement, the fact is this … trust matters.

But the reality is we all get that trust matters – don’t we.

The problem is, it’s often just taken for granted that it matters … until it’s too late.

Let’s break it down

If you take a look at the graphic at the top of this post, the 7 blue ‘topics’ are areas and measures of success that most clients are looking to develop.

Underneath these areas and measures of success topics, in the green oval shape is INTENTION.


After many years of academic research into human behaviour and what causes people to think feel and act the way they do, I have no doubt in my mind that our intentions are the life blood to success.

When we have positive intentions to make life better for others in some way (practical altruism) we are clear on what we want FOR others and not just what we typically want from them.

What we know from the research is this:

(1) Being clear on our intentions impacts our intrinsic motivation (we feel more motivated when we know we are doing good for others).

(2) Being clear on our intentions impacts relationships because our intentions are the first step to building trust.

This is why under RELATIONSHIPS you can see in purple the other steps to building trust. We start with intention, then we can make intentional promises (what we can and can’t promise we can or will do), followed by intentional action (to fulfil our promises) and that leads to intentional results.

Integrity and Results

As Dr Henry Cloud points out in his excellent book Integrity, whenever we talk about integrity, we need to talk about results.

Why? Because other people view our results, our actions, and our promises, and they make an assessment of the way we go about things and make an assessment about our true intentions as to why we do what we do.

To the right of TRUST, you can see I’ve placed three lenses of trust …

(1) the confidence and control required for Self-Trust; (2) the courage and collaboration required to Trust Others; and (3) the character, competence and consistency required to Earn Others’ Trust.

Three Lenses of Trust

When we explore trust through these three lenses, and when we take appropriate and positive actions to bring more trust into our lives, we know from the research we impact our well-being and potential to flourish in life; we impact our mindfulness and presence when we are with others; we influence our emotional intelligence and our capacity to live with more authenticity; and we influence one of the most important elements to flourishing in life, which is our sense of meaning and purpose … which increases when we focus on earning building and maintaining intentional trust-based relationships.

To the left of INTRINSIC MOTIVATION (our capacity to stay motivated in good and tough times), you can see in purple SELF-DETERMINATION.

Creating a Self-Determined Work Culture

Research from Deci and Ryan and thousands of other researchers clearly shows when we have a sense of Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness, we are more likely to report and demonstrate higher levels of Self-Determination – the release lever for Intrinsic Motivation.

Across all areas of an organisation, when leaders focus on creating environments where their people feel they have the autonomy to make the decisions they need to manage their environment, plus the competence and resources plus nurturing and supportive relationships (relatedness), they are building their self-determination and with it their intrinsic motivation to get stuff done.

Below Self-Determination (Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness), you can see in yellow our sense of self-determination impacts our mindset, positivity, and role engagement.

A core element that is impacting and being impacted here are our values.

Don’t Underestimate The Value of Your Values

With a clarity of personal values, we can make more appropriate and positive choices and decisions to act in more positive ways that move us toward our best self and goal achievement. This in turn helps us to be more curious about whatever situations life sends our way … we become more proactively resilient and agile during times of disruption.

Underneath INTENTIONAL RESULTS in yellow are the important activities and mindsets of Accountability, Tracking and Reflecting on our intentions, promises, actions and results … without tracking and reflection and holding ourselves accountable for our intentions, promises, actions and results, success may be limited, or not achieved across any one or all of the areas at the top of the page in blue.

Shark Infested Custard

Years ago I heard someone refer to their mind as full of shark infested custard. I can’t for the life of me remember who it was, but you might think that applies to me based on just how ‘messy’ and interconnected all of this is.

But that’s the reality and that’s what the science shows – what I’m attempting to demonstrate here is just how interconnected so many of these topics are and how they impact success.

However, when we start with INTENTION – what we want FOR other people, not just what we want from them … the good news is this: all of the other elements start to reveal themselves and work for us to make better decisions and take better actions toward living more meaningful, flourishing and prosperous professional and personal lives.

This is my last blog entry for 2021.

To you and yours, from Lizzie and me … wishing you all joy for the festive season, and that 2022 is full of positive experiences, personal growth and success in whatever measure you choose.


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