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Intent vs. Impact

Too often, I have said or done something with my best intentions only to find that it offended someone. Ouch! I recall times when I used humor to create a joyful experience or atmosphere and it fell flat.


Intent versus impact is a delicate balance. It's the interplay between what I intend to convey or achieve and how others perceive my words and actions. Often, this creates a significant gap.


I believe my intentions are clear and noble. I think I act with kindness, offer advice with sincerity, and express opinions with the best intentions. My actions align with my values, and my words reflect my true thoughts and feelings. I perceive myself as empathetic, considerate, and well-meaning. I expect others to perceive me the same. [Blind Spot]


What I intend to communicate is often times different from what others receive. Despite my best efforts, misunderstandings can arise, feelings can be hurt, and conflicts can emerge. My well-intended comments may be perceived as insensitive, my constructive criticism as harsh, and my humor as offensive.


This conflict between intent and impact becomes particularly evident when I receive feedback from others. It's humbling to realize that despite my intentions, my actions have consequences that I may not have anticipated. Feedback serves as a mirror, reflecting on how others perceive me. It provides valuable insights into areas where I may need to adjust my behavior or communication style to align more closely with my intentions. This feedback is the critical mechanism that highlights my blind spots. To dismiss it is to fail. To employ it is to flourish.


Reconciling these differences between self-perception and external perception requires humility, self-awareness, and a willingness to listen and learn from the perspectives of others. Rather than dismissing feedback or becoming defensive, I can use it as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. I strive to bridge this gap with grace and compassion for myself and others.


How about you? Does your intent reflect your impact?


Watch for the blind spots.



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Intent vs Impact. Feedback. I expect others to perceive me as I see myself. [Blind Spot]

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1 Comment

Mar 25

I am a hugger. My intent is showing warmth and compassion. Sometimes it is appreciated and sometimes it puts people off. I have gotten better at “reading the room” but I still haven’t solved that disconnect when I “misread”.

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