It’s Intentioning launch day! But why are there 9 Leadership Intentioning Tools?

Issue 179— September 27, 2021

[Special Note: Today 9/28/21, my new book Intentioning: Sex, Power, Pandemics, and How Women Will Take The Lead for (Everyone’s) Good is formally birthed into the world. It is incumbent upon me as the author to ask you to buy it, review it, and share it on social media. And seriously, despite the cheesiness I feel making that ask, I do want this book to reach thousands or millions of women like you to help you embrace your power, elevate your intentions, and use the tips and tools in this book to get the lives and careers of your dreams. And what I know is that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. OK? OK! Thank you for your support.]

I asked you this question in my column last week: the power TO WHAT? It means that once you know and embrace your power, what do you want to do with it? In other words how will you go about INTENTIONING it into action?

In return, the question people often ask me when I tell them about, or they read about, the 9 Leadership Intentioning Tools is: “Why 9?”

And those who have read my previous book No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power remind me that book also had 9 tools that I called Leadership Power Tools. So they legitimately wonder, why 9? Why not 10 or 12 or a less daunting 3 or 5?

And to be perfectly honest, there isn’t a logical reason that I can name, though you might well expect there would be in a book about intention. After all, Intentioning is a concept I believe in so strongly that I created the word “Intentioning” to signify that I’m talking about an active verb rather than the noun form, intention, that though important just sits there unless activated.

You see, I am a practical activist who learned leadership skills on the job not at Harvard Business School. (Not that there is anything wrong with HBS; my life simply took a different turn that led me to start community college when I was a 20-year-old mother of three — but that’s another part of the story for another day).

It just so happened that in Intentioning, after I have laid out how we are in a moment of disruption and rebirth that is ripe for change, why gender and racial parity must go forward together, why leading like a woman is a good thing, and how you can employ VAC, the vision, courage, and action method of intentioning, I end up providing readers with the specific actionable 9 tools to go from ambition (I wish, I want, I hope) to intention (Heck yes I am, I will, I’m see myself doing it already) to DONE.

Speaking of done, it’s a funny thing, writing a book. At least it is for me. Each of the five books I’ve written has seemingly organized itself, once I’ve conceptualized it. In the true sense of the word “organic,” it shapes itself while my hands are on the keyboard being directed by some forces that combine instinct with experience that I want to share.

Intentioning was no different.

So I can’t tell you why there are 9 Leadership Intentioning Tools, for the knowledge and wisdom I wanted to share organically sorted itself into 9 tools. And those 9 tools themselves subdivide into three types of leadership advice: self-definitional tools, counterintuitive tools, and systems change tools.

If you are into numerology, you’re probably chomping at the bit to say what I am about to share.

It turns out, I learned long after I had written both of these books, that in numerology, the number 9 represents completion. It’s the last of the single-digit cardinal numbers. These numbers are given the highest value and symbolically represent a culmination of wisdom and experience, fueled with the energy of both endings and new beginnings. You can read more about this concept if you are interested in this Bustle article.

No that gives me a whoosh of powerful intentioning energy!

So herewith I will share the short version of those 9 tools. Perhaps you will find one or more that especially piques your interest. In future columns, I’ll go more deeply into each of them and tell you the stories of the remarkable Intentional Women whose leadership lessons form the basis of the tools.

The 9 Leadership Intentioning Tools are:

Self Definitional Leadership Intentioning Tools

  1. Uncover yourself . . . because what sets you apart is what gets you ahead, and the keys to your best future are already in your hands.
  2. Dream Up . . . because if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
  3. Believe in the Infinite Pie . . . because when we use our power to build rather than rule over others, we learn that the more there is, the more there is.

The Counterintuitive Leadership Intentioning Tools

4. Modulate Confidence . . . because self-doubt can have a positive value.

5. Strike Your Own Damn Balance (and love your stress) . . . because ultimately you get to choose what matters to you and un-choose the rest. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain telling you you’re supposed to be unhappy.

6. Build Social Capital . . . because relationships are everything and will ultimately help you as much as educational qualifications or work experience

The Systems Change Leadership Intentioning Tools

7. Be Unreasonable . . . because sometimes you have to break the rules and invent new ones to get where you want to go.

8. Unpack Implicit Bias and Turn Its Effects on Its Head . . . because you can make its effects your superpowers.

9. Clang Your Symbols . . . because symbols create meaning, and when you create meaning, you bring others into the story, and that’s the most essential function of leadership.

So now you know as much about why there are 9 tools as I do.

Enjoy. Buy the book. Heck, buy a few books to gift your friends. They’ll love you for it.

Watch this space and my website for more information, inspiration, giveaways, and events. If you go there now, you can get a free mini-workbook of exercises that align with the book and make it even more helpful.

GLORIA FELDT is the Cofounder and President of Take The Lead, a motivational speaker and expert women’s leadership developer for companies that want to build gender balance, and a bestselling author of five books, most recently Intentioning: Sex, Power, Pandemics, and How Women Will Take The Lead for (Everyone’s) Good. Former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she teaches “Women, Power, and Leadership” at Arizona State University and is a frequent media commentator. Learn more at and Tweet Gloria Feldt.

Gloria Feldt is a New York Times bestselling author and co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a nonprofit women’s leadership organization.