What is Intention?
Is lack of intentionality damaging? Whether or not you intend to be perceived the way you are, the way that you are perceived and the person who you are, are fundamentally different. If you have a low voice perhaps you’ll be taken as more serious than you actually are. If you have a high-pitched voice, less serious. These subliminal identity associations often fall back to what you’re wearing, and how you’re wearing it. If women wear ill-fitting clothing that is tight, will they be seen as promiscuous? Is loose-fitting clothing seen as too casual, and not reflective of the way that a proper modern woman “should” behave?
Intentionality as a concept reflects your own concepts of identity, but it also reflects an intention in cultivating an appearance or an image that you can control. There is nothing more dangerous than when you are not in control of your own narrative; that your boss, or your organization sees you as they see fit to see you, without truly understanding who you are.=
It’s important to cultivate an air of calm, collected, cool energy, because as women we’re more likely to get slighted for simply being human. In a society where emotionality is considered a sign of weakness, as opposed to another logic framework we can tap to understand how the world works, women are left with an enhanced logic system with no agency to execute on the logic. So, how can you exist in the workplace by analyzing and staying true to your own emotions, but not displaying them unless you can control the way in which it’s perceived?
Transparency is the answer I often settle on. Where if you focus on being truly yourself, and showing others who you are, what you stand for, the distance between your intentions and how your intentions are perceived should not be too great. Whether that transparency is making a comment on why you chose to wear a certain kind of blazer, or talking about your favorite designer, or even just adding light to the intentionality you carry, that will help you as others inevitably cast judgments based on what they think that you should be. I think, as we grow older, we realize that there is simply no fun in being anyone besides ourselves. And even though it feels daunting, the way to be yourself is to understand yourself and let others in, over and over again.
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