February 3, 2017
Moore Mission Moments - The Watershed Group

Intentions vs. Goals

by Patti Moore


I have been thinking a lot about intentions: Merriam Webster dictionary defines intention as “a determination to act in a certain way”, and goal as “the end to which effort is directed”. When I ask myself what my intentions for the day/week/year are, versus what my goals are, I come up with very different answers.


Last week, I had a few days in my office. My desk was overflowing with documents that were once urgent but had now become simply interesting and the mountains of paper threatened to topple at any moment. My goal was to bring some order to my office work space, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the lovely maple desktop buried deep under the detritus.  


I confess, that has been my goal for over a year!  But the difference this week was my intention.  I was determined not to get frustrated or impatient with the task, or let myself be beguiled into doing something I enjoy more (like connecting with my clients and colleagues).  Thus, my intention was to enjoy the job, and be grateful that I had the time to do it and my wonderful executive assistant, Deborah Hill, to help me.  


What a difference that intention made!  Papers were filed or tossed or shredded and my desktop now glows under a fresh coat of polish. I attained my goal, but it was my intention or my "determination to act in a certain way" that finally brought it into being.


We all have dusty corners in our lives that we tolerate because we get used to them and no longer "see" them. Yet the effort of ignoring them drags us down bit by bit, draining us of emotional and even physical energy. Each time I walked into my office I would think, "I have to get those papers filed!" and feel a pinch of remorse and frustration that I still hadn’t gotten it done.


Surveying it now, I feel energized and content. My once-messy desk is a tiny example of goals versus intentions – and a good working definition of the difference between them.


Authors David Emerald and Donna Zajonc, MCC, put it very succinctly in this Ted* blog:

"Focusing on your intentions does not mean you give up your goals or desire for achievement.   By partnering goals with intentions you will become one of the few people in life who enjoy the journey as much as the destination.  Here are three differences between goal setting and intentions:

  1. Goals are focused on the future.  Intentions are in the present moment.
  2. Goals are a destination or specific achievement; Intentions are lived each day, independent of reaching the goal or destination.
  3. Goals are external achievements; Intentions are your inner-relationships with yourself and others.”

Your intentions allow you to focus on your values in each moment.  When you are faced with one of the distressing tasks that fall to a leader – like having to close a program or eliminate positions – your goal may be to reduce expenses and balance your budget. However, your intention can be to reach that goal with grace, integrity and kindness; and that intention will register and resonate with those impacted by your decision.   We all have to make hard choices but if your intention is to do the right thing then understanding will prevail.  


Highly intentional people create highly intentional organizations.  Remember, like attracts like, and your intentions send out a beacon that will reach people, resources and events that hold the same or similar intentions.  So I ask you to consider:

What are 5 intentions you have for the coming year? I'll look forward to hearing about your amazing results!



What can virtual reality do for the bed bound? Set them free to fly! A local drone company, Drone-werx, has partnered with our friends at Hospice of the Western Reserve to bring virtual flights to hospice patients and their families. WKYC took a behind the scenes look at one of the flights – and you can see it here. This virtual flight was for a woman who worked in downtown Cleveland her whole life, but hasn't been downtown in decades and wanted to see the city's rebirth for herself.


Among the many challenges our society must face in caring for an aging population is social isolation of the elderly, and its destructive consequences for their health and happiness. Here’s a great piece outlining the problem and looking at some intriguing new solutions.


Another excellent piece from the New York Times, asking a question all too familiar to those of us who work or have worked in eldercare and hospice: Who will care for the care-givers? The sandwich generation is feeling squeezed:


 “A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine suggests that society’s reliance on this “work force” — largely taken for granted — is unsustainable. While the demand for caregivers is growing because of longer life expectancies and more complex medical care, the supply is shrinking, a result of declining marriage rates, smaller family sizes and greater geographic separation. In 2015, there were seven potential family caregivers for every person over 80. By 2030, this ratio is expected to be four-to-one, and by 2050, there will be fewer than three potential caregivers for every older American.”


HopeHealth of Rhode Island and Massachusetts welcomes a new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Becky Miller, MSW, LCSW, who was formerly the COO at Rainbow Hospice in Chicago.  It was my pleasure to connect this wonderful organization with such a competent and caring executive. A great match for all involved!


Our colleagues at Tidewell Hospice of Sarasota welcome journalist and speaker Ann Curry, an Emmy Award-winning journalist who was a national and international correspondent for NBC for 25 years, including 15 years as the anchor at TODAY and frequent anchor at NBC Nightly News. She has distinguished herself in global humanitarian reporting, frequently traveling to remote areas of the world to cover under-reported stories of individuals caught in regional conflict, refugee crises, earthquakes, tsunamis and climate change. She’s also a tireless caregiver for her parents. Hear her stories at the 8th Annual Tidewell Hospice Signature Luncheon, February 10th  at 11:30 AM at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.

I have just returned from the Kaiser Philanthropy Institute Strategy Day in Denver.  The attendees were a diverse group made up of Development and Philanthropy executives and Board members from healthcare systems across the US.  We had a lively discussion about how to create transformative experiences for donors so they feel more connected to the mission of the work.  There were members from hospital systems like Dartmouth-Hitchcock Geisel School of Medicine in New Hampshire and Gunderson Health in La Crosse, Wisconsin to Hope West Hospice from Colorado and Treasure Coast Hospice from Florida along with many others.  The commitment of sharing together to enhance care and service to others was palpable.

Just some of the topics we discussed at the Kaiser Institute Strategy Day

Pause, take a breath, smile and enjoy evening at our RiverCove Retreat Center
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