Let’s say we have an intention of building an organization that equally respects employees, customers and suppliers, is conserving towards natural resources and genuinely inspires an environment of creativity and innovation. Yet lying underneath our stated intention is our self-talk which includes other things like fear, insecurity, distrust or the desire to hold all the keys to the organization.

For the sake of this conversation, lets assume that intentions are not black and white, either or, I’m about goodness or I’m not. In such a realm, could it be possible that we most significantly want what we state in our organizational mission, yet we hold some small measure of doubt. Not only is this not uncommon, but many of the greatest movers and shakers have shared how they continuously fight with doubting self-talk. Seth Godin for example refers to it as the “Lizard Brain,” the continuously doubting voice we hear in the back of our head.

Here’s where the onion comes in. Self-talk comes in layers like the layers of an onion. The outer layer is what we outwardly express to the world, the next layer is our doubts, but it doesn’t stop there. There is a seeming endless number of layers, or at least a significant number of them. If we dig deep enough, we’ll keep finding more there, and as we discover the deeply buried thoughts that drive our defeating self-talk, most likely we will find things that do not make much sense to us, yet have been responsible for driving many of our actions and decisions for many years.

Intention can also be expressed as a vision, yet the concept of intention speaks more directly to the driving force behind all our actions, and if our mind chatter is in conflict with our stated intention, it is quite possible that our decisions, words and gestures are telling the world something different than our stated purpose; that we’re not fully walking our talk.

So by peeling the layers of the onion and discovering what’s there, we can consciously choose to jettison those mental patterns that do not serve us and therefore become increasingly clearer in our intention, both stated and demonstrated. The more we do this, the more we’ll be walking our talk and the world will naturally want to support our vision based on its clarity and authenticity.