4 Steps to Turn Intention Into Action

By Amy Andrews McMaster
[Mindful Money]

Are you ready to become more mindful about money? Below are four steps to help you turn your intention into action.
1. Clarify Your Intention
Step one is clarification. What do you want to accomplish, and why is this goal important? Be as specific as possible: What exactly do you want to achieve? How will you know you have achieved it? What’s your deadline to achieve it?
After you’ve clarified the details of the what, go deeper and clarify the details of the why. Knowing why you want what you want will keep you focused and motivated when roadblocks and obstacles stand between you and your goal.
Last year, I had an intention of being a full-time leadership coach and speaker. I had been doing this work part time, but I wanted to leave my day job and fully commit to my real passion. Not receiving a paycheck and having to rely solely on myself felt very uncertain. Sometimes discomfort can stop us dead in our tracks. I learned, though, that digging into the reasons this goal was so important to me was the key to creating action.
One reason I want to be a full-time leadership coach and speaker is to help more individuals and teams produce exceptional results, while also feeling happy, confident, and fulfilled in my life. Another reason I want to achieve this intention is to create the resources I desire—money included—so I can unleash my own potential and happiness, and make a meaningful contribution to the world. A third reason my intention feels important is because I value connection with family and friends. We love to travel, enjoy good music and food, and like to seek out new adventures. All of these, of course, require financial resources.  
2. Remove Obstacles to Success
After clarifying what you want and why having it will bring more joy to your life, it is time to look at the things that could potentially get in the way or weigh you down.
My first barrier was my fear about not receiving a paycheck and trusting that I had whatever it took to earn enough money for my family and myself. I imagine my kids’ faces and feel motivated to provide for them.  
Another obstacle was my skill set. I feel like an expert coach and speaker and am always ready to learn more, but I am not skilled at sales or marketing. How could I learn enough about these areas to make a new business work? Would the discomfort of not having enough knowledge in these areas limit my progress?
By holding space for discomfort instead of pushing it away, I began to create a more mindful relationship with money. Facing our obstacles is the first step in transforming them. In a culture that appreciates things that are fun, fast, and easy, most people spend lots of time and energy avoiding discomfort. “Discomfort,” notes Susan David, founder and codirector of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School, “is the price of admission to a meaningful life.” Instead of pushing aside difficult emotions, David urges us to “realize that our emotions are often beacons of things that we care about. Look at your emotions with courage, compassion, and curiosity.”
She concludes, “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is fear walking.”
3. Design Powerful Actions
One of the most helpful things I do to manage fear involves getting into action. What can you do to face your challenges? What powerful actions can you design and practice to keep your momentum moving forward?
A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. Goals and intentions are about moving beyond the safe shores of your security into the adventure of the unknown.
Step three is where you bring your intention into action—facing fear and moving forward anyway. My husband and I created a realistic financial earning plan. I agreed to keep him informed about hitting or missing my goals. Also, I found a money coach,1 to help me face my money fears. She helped me uncover things like my limiting beliefs around money, how those beliefs made me feel and act, how I wanted to feel instead, and what I needed to believe to behave differently. It still doesn’t feel easy, but I schedule a weekly check-in with my finances because it helps me stay on track. I look forward to feeling even more confident as I increase my financial mastery. I am committed to doing the work.
Increasing my mastery in sales and marketing is still a work in progress. Learning from sales and marketing experts provides me with ideas for my own business. I have made strides, yet still have work to do. Ideally, I’d love to hire an expert in this area, but I am not there yet.
4. Hold Yourself Compassionately Accountable
Finally, we must be willing to accept responsibility for the results of our actions. What’s working? What needs tweaking? Give yourself permission to be a beginner. Celebrate the small wins. And when you feel tempted to judge yourself harshly, choose compassion instead.
When I review my progress and find I am not where I want to be, I notice the frustration. Then, I remind myself, “This is a moment of discomfort. Discomfort is part of life. May I be kind to myself.”
After I manage the discomfort, I figure out how to skillfully modify my actions. Once you build momentum with the best possible actions for your life, change happens. The key is commitment.
So what intentions are you ready to put into action? Make some time and space to consider these four steps. I hope that 2019 is one of your best years yet!
1. Capital One offers three free money coaching sessions. For more information, visit www.CapitalOne.com/MoneyCoaching.

Amy Andrews McMaster is a certified coach who is passionate about helping individuals, teams, and leaders achieve success, face obstacles, choose courage, build trust, and lead with a growth mind-set. She is excited to become a certified Dare to Lead facilitator later this year. Contact amy@conscioustime.com.