Impact, Not Intentions

Today’s the day. Today is the day you find that perfect gift that makes a huge impact, right? It is, after all, Black Friday.

But, I’m not here to talk about shopping. I’m here to finish our conversation about the Five Keys to Surpassing Everyone’s Expectations as found in the book Get Out of Your Own Way by Dr. Robert Cooper.

Here’s a quick recap …

Key 1: Direction, not motion

Key 2: Focus, not time

Key 3: Capacity, not conformity

Key 4: Energy, not effort

And today, we’ll round it all out with Key 5: Impact, not intentions.

Have you heard the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”? I think it’s very powerful and a great illustration of how so many people sabotage their success.

The point is that intentions by themselves are useless … Intention is just another word for procrastination.

Let’s face it, most things we intend to do, we could probably just do … right then … with no waiting. Starting a diet, calling a client, writing a new story or lead, taking your wife or husband to dinner … all can be done right away or at least the same day.

Acting on intentions is vital. But, there’s more to consider. Namely, the impact of what you do. If you really want to exceed expectations — your own or that of other’s — you need impact.

So, how do you create impact? Well, it’s not about wowing people, over-the-top theatrics, or shock value.

Impact is about making a measurable difference that is in line with your values and your goals. Period.

For example, if you want to be a travel writer, don't aim to be a travel writer like so-and-so. Instead be you. Be the best travel writer you can be. Put your energy into the job. Leave your mark on the world … don’t walk in the footsteps of others — make your own footprints.

Nothing else really matters. Who else you impress or don't impress is not important. Impressing others is not a goal — it is a byproduct of a life lived according to your unique impact. And, you will impact people in direct proportion to the actions you take in line with your core values.

For me, that meant taking a new direction in my copywriting despite the fact that I would need to turn down very good clients. Over the next 12 months, I am phasing out of the very lucrative financial niche and into personal development. Why? Because that’s where my natural passions and core values are going to have the most impact. My writing voice will be stronger, my passion more evident.

What impact do you want to make?

Before you answer, let’s look back at all Five Keys to Surpassing Everyone’s Expectations and how they work together in what amounts to a template for a Mission Statement …

In order for me to be headed in the right direction, I understand I need to focus on increasing my capacity for sustaining energy so that I can impact others in line with my core values.

Take a look at that statement. Read it again. How can you use it and apply it to what you want and need from the writer’s life? What could you do today to move one step closer to your goals, your dreams, and your vision of a better life?

Which of the 5 Keys do you need to work on the most? Which one could you help others understand and apply better?

Let me know in the comments below.

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Published: November 25, 2011

3 Responses to “Impact, Not Intentions”

  1. I've really appreciated the articles this week. This is what I've come up with for myself:
    "In order for me to progress in the right direction, I understand I need unrelenting focus on increasing my capacity for sustained energy so that I can profoundly affect others in line with my core values."

    I've enclosed it in a nice dark purple frame.


  2. Great articles this week, Sean--clear and powerful in their message. Congratulation on identifying where you can make the biggest impact, and on having the courage and discipline to follow through.

    Deborah Barber

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