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Life Lessons From Bad Dates: Presence & Intentionality

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

Using presence and intentionality to succeed

Bad dates. We’ve all had them. What’s often missing? Presence & intentionality.

They are scanning the room, not actively listening, or playing on their phones. They aren’t present; there is no connection. They’re simply going through the motions, not really caring about what’s going on. There are probably more examples, but the outcome is certainly suboptimal.

Don’t run your life like a bad date. If you do, those suboptimal outcomes will show up in your personal and professional life in the form of missed opportunities, unrealized goals, and more.

Ascent Consultants mission is to help individuals and business perform at their absolute best. There are many elements to optimum performance, and there is no perfect recipe for everyone (this is why we offer a full range of consulting, coaching and yoga). But, two core elements that are absolutely necessary to success in any endeavor are presence and intentionality.


Being fully present is more than just physically being somewhere. It means that your full attention is focused on what is going on in the moment, and all of your energy is directed towards the task at hand. This type of presence allows you to access the full range of your senses in a given situation. From this posture, you can broaden your perspective and build powerful awareness. This type of presence also allows for real personal connection – key in just about every aspect of life.

In a consulting scenario, presence opens up the ability to consider a multitude of perspectives which helps build understanding and awareness around business problem. In turn, this allows you to identify and prioritize the central issues facing your business. Additionally, presence will open up a greater range of solutions available to produce the desired outcome. Presence yields both greater understanding around an issue, and more potential solutions.

In coaching, this type of presence is a core competency. We spend a LOT of time training on it, and that training never ends. Among the many reasons coaching requires presence, it is foundational in creating a sense of trust and safety with the client, and key to spotting those shifts in a client’s energy that might be the avenue to a powerful new awareness or understanding. Without presence, you miss these opportunities. Even worse, so does your client.

In yoga, inversions and balancing poses demand presence. To perform a handstand – to enter the pose, hold it, and exit it under control - you need not only the requisite strength, but the ability to create and manage a complex series of mind-muscle connections, demanding your full focus and attention, as well as your energy. The moment your mind wanders and you break that focus, you lose those connections and the pose.


Even with the broadened perspectives and heightened awareness that come from practicing and enhancing your ability to be fully present, you still must take action toward your outcome. By practicing full presence, you are able to identify the optimum path toward your objective. Intentionality is putting every ounce of your effort entirely in that direction.

In your business, your focus narrows to key issues (you can delegate the less important tasks, and ignore the ones that are merely distractions and offer no benefit). There is less waste of time and resources because there is clear understanding of the objective, and there is more space for new opportunity because of these efficiency gains.

In coaching, presence creates space for the client – a safe space where they can freely explore new perspectives and expand their awareness around their personal or professional goals, or get “unstuck”. With that newly acquired clarity and intentional action, clients see real progress toward their desired outcome.

In yoga, physical strength is important, but the practice only evolves when the practice is intentional. Building awareness in the body – feeling points of contact, engaging large and small muscles simultaneously - is what allows a yogi to apply that strength in the right way in order to perform a particular pose.

Choose any skill or discipline that you are trying to cultivate. Are you working with your full focus and attention, are you directing your efforts in a way that will bring about your desired result?

Take the time and do the work to cultivate more presence and act with more intention. The result of all of this is that you’re able to see your goals with more clarity and specificity. Your efforts are more effective because they are aimed directly at your goals and receive your full focus and energy. And, as an added benefit, you create more space as you let go of the things that are holding you back from those goals.

Presence to build awareness, intentionality to pinpoint exactly where and how to focus your energy and effort. Two pillars of optimum performance that you can build through practice, and two absolutely vital attributes for anyone pursuing personal or professional excellence.


About the Author:

Matt Beckmann - Management Consultant - Executive Coach

Matt Beckmann is the Founder & Managing Director of Ascent Consultants. In addition to experience as a former Chief of Staff to the Missouri Auditor and as a Corporate Vice President and General Counsel, he has advanced training and certifications in law, business, coaching, athletics, and leadership. His blog content, inspired by his deep passion for unlocking his reader's best potential, consistently equips business owners and individuals with the knowledge and resources to overcome obstacles that may be hindering growth.

Ascent Consultants - Management Consultants to Enable Your Business Growth

Ascent Consultants provides business and strategy consulting, executive and leadership coaching, and leadership assessments. By converting client growth goals into an actionable "game plan," we help companies and individuals unlock their full potential.

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