There is a space between the joy of starting something new and actually making it happen that can make or break any endeavor. It’s not pretty. Unlike joy and elation, this place is the exact opposite.

This space is known by many names: Writer’s block. Creative slowdown. Seth Godin calls it, “the dip.” Steven Pressfield’s name is, “The Resistance.” Here, in the mental murk, is uncertainty and the air is filled with self-doubt. Failure seems to lurk in every shadow.

In between the joy of starting and the elation of success is the treachery and risk. Risk of reputation. Risk of security and safety. Risk of ever being asked to make your work again. There is no map to navigate through this space. The path through is unique to each person. It’s easy to feel lost and unsure. But the guiding star is intention.

Intention is what pushes a writer through writer’s block.

Intention is what causes a musician to keep composing music.

Intention is what drives a designer through the umpteenth version of a logo.

Intention is what stokes the fire within us to make what’s important to us.

Intention is a shape-shifter. At the beginning of the journey, intention is the idea and the destination in mind. It can be anything from a new project to a new career. But when we’ve moved past the joy and curiosity of starting, we’ve entered that in-between space. We start to despair and feel the impossible closing in on us. Intention then transforms into the resolve to get to the other side. The end of the creative process may–and probably will–look different than what we first envisioned. But intention is what guided us to the result.

Following intention is not for the faint of heart. It is risky. You might lose your job. Or your parent’s faith in you. You may lose your sanity. But if you’re willing to always follow your intention, the reward is the fulfillment of purpose.