At my ACUHO-I Sprint Session this year, I will be focusing on matching intention and action. As part of this blog series, Ready. Set. Empower, I asked some colleagues to write about authenticity and intention, particularly in their supervisory and leadership style.
In the first guest blog post, Darnell Pierce, Director of Residence Life at Bard College, shares his experience and action steps to aligning intention with action.
The phrase "Intentions sometimes does not meet impact" has been thrown around much more frequently in the past few years, and in my experience, this statement is often true. When I think about "matching intentions with actions," I think about how other people perceive me, and how their perceptions of me impact the ways in which they do (or don't) interact with me. Whether we want to admit it or not, we care about how we are perceived. I care about how I am perceived even if those perceptions are not what I believe to be accurate. So, the question we have to ask ourselves is, how do we manage or control other peoples' perception of us?
Truthfully, we don't have much control over how people process our actions, and especially our intentions. Matching intentions with actions means being true to who you are regardless of external factors. That is, as I often say, Darnell will always be Darnell, and not everyone will like or perceive me in the ways I'd prefer. Matching intentions with actions means being transparent, and to some degree vulnerable to "let people in." Letting people in does not necessarily mean sharing your deepest personal secrets, but it does mean (at least for me), allowing people to see different parts of who you are. Most people are multifaceted, and has a story that is much more interesting and/or complicated than we know.
Matching intentions with actions means accepting that no matter how hard you try, at some point in your life, the two (intentions and actions) simply won't match, and that is OK. Being authentic and true to who we are means that we have to "check-in" with ourselves, AND check ourselves when we need to be checked. Simply proclaiming "I'm real," or "I keep it all the way one hundred," doesn't make it so. Being real or authentic takes practice and self reflection, and while practice does not make perfect, it certainly does make improvement.
Darnell Pierce is the Director of Residence Life at Bard College. He has served in numerous housing and residential life roles at Hobart and William Smith Colleges as well as with Capstone Management. He co-owns the Miss Gay Finger Lakes Pageant, is a professional bodybuilder through the American National Bodybuilding Federation (ANBF), and is also a doctoral student.