Sometimes it takes a chance encounter to remind you of what you intended to do in your life.

The other day, I ran into an amazing sales manager I knew years ago when I worked for Amana. Of course, we reminisced as old friends do when they get a chance to catch up. He reminded me of some training we did in 1984 and something suddenly clicked in my mind. This man taught me one of the most important lessons I would ever learn about sales…..and life.

One day, he said to me: “Scott, today’s activity doesn’t determine today’s volume.” I thought about it a minute and now I want you to re-read that sentence. What it means is simple. Sales are not about where you were, what you were thinking or even what you did today. It’s always about the future. Funny, but life works the same way.

This brings me to the all-important idea of setting an intention when it comes to not only sales, but your time on this planet. An intention declares what you want and that you will make it happen. Nothing – I repeat, nothing you really want — will show up if you don’t set intentions each day.

My friend Jack talks about having an inner GPS, when he describes setting an intention. I love that analogy because the GPS in your car tells you in that nice, friendly mechanical voice where you are and how to get to your ultimate destination. Now, what does your GPS say when you achieve nirvana or that sales call in the boondocks: “You have arrived!” (It’s a beautiful way of saying that you did it.)

Your intentions are your own personal GPS system, hard-wired into your mind and heart. The only way you will be able to get to your goal is to pinpoint where you are now and where you want to end up. Then you will able to say in any situation: “I have arrived.”

Common sense, right?

The problem is common sense isn’t so common. Many people think, “I want a better lifestyle and that big house and the nice car with all those great vacations with each other. And I want a better relationship, too.” Yes, they want it ALL, but they don’t really think clearly about exactly what they want or the fine print. You must focus on the specifics and details to really set an intention in place. A better way to approach it is to say, “In five years, I want a house in the Highland Park neighborhood and my marriage to focus on open communication. And I’d like a Lexus SUV.” Those are very clear intentions that focus your goal and will help drive you in a real way when it comes to the steps to get there.

I love reading all the Facebook entries where people declare, “I want to do good in the world and be a better person.” Wonderful goals! But let’s hone it done a bit and set an intention to volunteer at your local homeless shelter twice a month in order to give back. Again, it’s all in having a bit of laser-like precision.

The miracle of setting an intention is that it can lead you to amazing results that you couldn’t ever predict.

Yesterday, I set an intention to have a 6 a.m. sales phone call. Of course, it was tough waking up early, but I did it because it was set in my mind. One of the asides is that I was half hour ahead of the stock market opening here on the west coast. Since I was up so early, I saw a position I owned to be up in a huge way at the open. Fate? No, it was my intention at work.  I was able to sell this position and make pretty good money on it. You could say that my intention to get up early had amazing, unpredicted positive results. My intention created an added benefit.

Here are a few tips on how you can set great intentions:

*Take everything from a positive approach. Say to yourself, “Hey, what can I learn from setting this intention—no matter what the outcome is for me?” If you focus on the positive and realize that life happens in a good way then you’ll get positive results.

*Don’t set your intentions from a “poor me, negative place.” If you wake up in the morning and say, “The world is so hard now. The recession is killing my business and it’s out of my control. I’m doomed.” That’s a cop out and clouds your intention in fog.  If you focus on the negative then you will get negative results from your intentions.

*Take back control with your intentions. During these interesting times, set an intention to take back control. No, you don’t have to wait for the President to pass some bill or for your house to finally sell. Now, it’s on YOU. Set an intention today that you are in control and aren’t at the mercy of the world. Try that one today and you’ll see unexpected and amazing results. If you set intentions as a victim then you will always be that victim.

*Realize that hard economic times can be very good for the human spirit. When things run smoothly for the world, we get complacent and fall into ruts. When you’re thrust out of your rut then it’s like driving the same route to work every single day. You don’t even look around anymore because it’s such a routine. Then comes the day when the orange cones go up and you must detour, damn it! Often, you take a new route and it’s faster with better scenery. Wait, you just saw a nice business that you can call on for sales. That would have never happened without those orange cones. Set an intention to take some detours in your life because they will be eye-opening and lead to new challenges. You will find a better way when you least expect it if you set an intention to “shake it up a bit.”

*Set your sales intentions – and do it with details. You can’t just say, “I’m going to sell a lot.” Set measureable and definable intentions that you can see happening before your eyes. Vague intentions are like that dream to someday to be rich. It sounds like a good idea, but what is rich and how do you qualify it because it’s different to each person. It’s a lot different to say, “I’m going to sell a million dollars worth of products this quarter.” Now, that’s an intention that gives you a goal that you can touch, see and feel.

You will also celebrate it when it becomes reality.