Vision, Intention & Attention: 3 Critical Steps to Being Your Best

by Shonali Burke on March 3, 2010

How do you affect – and effect – your success?

I’ve read a variety of articles and books lately and noticed some recurring themes that really struck a chord with me. They have to do with vision, intention and attention and how they affect our success.

As we’re still in the early part of 2010, it seems timely to spend a bit of energy on these three important concepts.


“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have.” Paul Arden

Do you have a vision of yourself in your mind? How detailed is it?

There have been times in my life where I lost this vision or didn’t take the time to think about it. Those times stand out in my mind, because I swirled around like a leaf in the wind with no direction.

It may have been ok when I was younger and still figuring things out, but as a self-employed business owner, not having a vision can be downright detrimental. Even as I write this, I think about my own answer and start to refine it, again.

I do this often, so that my view is clear, my intentions unwavering and my focus is pointed at the right tasks each day.

I recently reworked my home-office and put a few books on a small shelf above my computer. One of the covers I see each day is a little white book with black and silver writing on it called “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be: The world’s best-selling book by Paul Arden.”

I love this book because it’s a constant reminder that it all comes back to your vision. Arden reminds us to develop a “complete disregard for where your abilities end,” which helps to open up your realm of possibility as you create your personal vision.


More often referred to as goals in business books, an intention is a very clear statement or picture of what you want to achieve.

I have intentions around my businesses, hobbies and interests, relationships and even my health; because no matter what it is, I want to set the direction and plant the seed – not wait for things to randomly happen.

My intentions tend to be future-oriented. Entrepreneur Malika Chopra believes so much in intention that she founded Intent.com where people can share and support each other’s intentions.


If creating a personal vision is like designing a garden and making specific intentions like planting the seeds, then attention could be seen as the daily tending – the watering, weeding, etc.

In other words, it’s placing your attention on your intentions to help them come to fruition and be the best they can be.

Unlike my intentions which are more future-oriented, my attention must be in the present – right now.

Deepak Chopra once wrote, “One-pointed intention means holding your attention to the intended outcome with such unbending purpose that you absolutely refuse to allow obstacles to consume and dissipate the focused quality of your attention. There is a total and complete exclusion of all obstacles from your consciousness.”

I find that by holding my attention steady, and staying in alignment with my intentions and vision, the “flow” comes more naturally and obstacles are more easily transformed.

To illustrate my point, in addition to Thankfulfor, I also have a vision around some personal, creative pursuits. Here is one I’ll share about around my photography ventures.

  • My vision is to always be growing and creating: publishing books, speaking, having shows etc around Photography & Creativity and having an audience of appreciators – people who enjoy what I create.
  • One of my current intentions is to publish my first ebook on photography in February and sell thousands of copies (aim high!).
  • My attention is on the details – the day to day tasks to help me get the book out there, connect with the right audience, build an email list, etc.

Where should my attention be today?

Each morning I look at my various intentions and then take some quiet time to ask myself, where should my attention be today? I then make a very detailed list which provides me guidance for the day. This practice has been vital in keeping me on track and avoiding distractions.

Have you set a clear vision for yourself? Do you have strong intentions that clarify where you focus your daily attention?

If not, there’s no time like the present.

Image © Jen Consalvo, used with permission

Jen ConsalvoGuest contributor Jen Consalvo writes the Women Grow Business series on all things related to launching product (pre and post launch). She is co-founder of Shiny Heart Ventures, a new technology startup focused on building community driven products that remind people of the joys of life. For almost 14 years, Jen has led teams in a range of product areas such as digital imaging, social platforms and personalization. The majority of her career was at AOL, planning and building products used by millions of people globally. Also find Jen at jenconsalvo.combodysoulconnect.com and twitter.com/noreaster.

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