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The Power of Execution: Why Intention is Never Enough

The Power of Execution: Why Intention is Never Enough


    Having every intention to do something is a wonderful notion, but it doesn’t get things done. In fact, it barely acts as a catalyst any longer. That’s because the world has opened up more and more over the past few years, and there is so much more that we would like to do that the matter of intention is compromised by the lack of attention we can give any one thing.

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    Essentially, we’re swamped.

    It’s been said that there is a certain power behind having intent. In fact, Dr. wayne Dyer wrote a book called The Power of Intention that speaks to that. Dyer describers intention as follows:

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    “Intention is not something you do, but rather a force that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy- a power that can carry us. It’s the difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and don’t let go of it until you make it a reality. Inspiration is the reverse- when an idea gets hold of you and you feel compelled to let that impulse or energy carry you along. You get to a point where you realize that you’re no longer in charge, that there’s a driving force inside you that can’t be stopped. Look at the great athletes, musicians, artists, and writers. They all tap into a source.”

    All of this is true, but because our “source” is impeded by so much information being thrown our way – or sought out by us – that we can’t get to it as readily as we’d like. This causes delay in most cases, doubt in some and abandonment in others. Intention is noble, but it is not heroic.

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    Execution, on the other hand, involves the grand idea of “shipping” your creations. When it is coupled with intention, you not only create really great work – you deliver it. You unleash it for all to see, and that execution serves to feed intention once more, which you then couple with execution again. And the cycle continues.

    But there’s a problem when you execute without intention. Your creations aren’t focussed when delivered. You put them everywhere, hoping for them to catch fire somewhere. You spend more time executing – and monitoring what you’ve executed – than you do working on the next thing that you intend to do. You can’t move on as quickly because you want to make sure your execution worked, and that it worked everywhere. Intention to execute is as empty as executing without intention: the passion just isn’t there. There’s less of a “care factor” put into the process. And because of that, the value of what you’ve executed is diminished.

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    This all comes to back to lifehacking (believe it or not). To lifehack so that you can speed up the mundane and be able to focus on the more fulfilling aspects of your life is wise. To lifehack to speed up everything isn’t. There’s an important distinction to be made here, and it’s a very personal one. There’s no right answer; everyone’s threshold is different. But you must recognize that there is one.

    I’m not suggesting that intention isn’t worthwhile – it definitely is. It is, as Dyer explains, “a power that can carry us” toward what we really want to do and who we really want to be. But without the power of execution, intention can only carry us so far.

    Which isn’t very far at all.

    (Photo credit: Woman on Top of Mountain via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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