9/30/21: Intentions are not a primary metric for success

Sent 9/30/21


This week's Think Better Newsletter follows on last week's, and looks at what happens when you make your intentions the primary metric you evaluate

The Idea

Last week's newsletter on emphasizing the right metric for success got a few positive responses. Thank you! This week I thought I'd follow up on a related topic, one I'm struggling with at the moment: the importance of intention.

I've been writing this newsletter for the past nine months. I've also posted on social media, written articles, guested on podcasts, and cold-emailed coaches and influencers. I've put a lot of effort into marketing the book. 

It's tough to say it, but it hasn't worked as well as I hoped.

The newsletter doesn't get shared, grow in subscribers, or drive sales. The social media takes me a long time to produce but hasn't resulted in significant follows or sales. The articles and podcast guest appearances definitely make a difference, but I'm not doing them enough. The cold emails are yet to bear fruit.

It's not working. It's not good enough.

So what's the problem? Is it my intentions, my process or my execution? And which one am I making my primary metric for how I evaluate my performance?

The reality is, I've been following the same process for months and my execution is slipping. Given that I'm not getting results, why haven't I changed?

If I'm honest, I've fallen into a trap of focusing too much on my intentions. I believe in what I'm trying to do, and I'm allowing this to justify continuing on uncritically. It'll work out. Because...

This is a problem because intentions are a secondary metric. It's not that they aren't important. It's that they aren't the most important.

When we focus on our intentions we can tacitly accept poor performances...because we meant well, we thought it would work, or we tried hard. These are not bad things! But focusing on them does not make us better.

Successful people put their energy into the primary metrics that actually create their positive feedback loops: process and execution.

Are we doing the right things? And are we doing them well enough?

In running it's the training program and how well you do your workouts. In school it's your study methods and the quality of your effort. In work it's your business processes and how well you optimize them. In government it's the actual policies and how well they are implemented.

Wanting to run fast or get a good grade or complete a project or improve welfare doesn't actually get you those things. It's what you do that matters.

In my case, I adopted a process that I thought would be good enough nine months ago, and I'm now struggling to put the time and energy into it that it requires. I need to make some improvements. 

And no, I don't know what I will do. But I appreciate your feedback and support.

The System

My best system for ensuring I'm focusing on the right metric is being publicly accountable. You can do this with your coach, your manager, or your friends. I'm doing it with this newsletter. 

It's stating clearly: these are my intentions, this is my process, and this is how I intend to execute it. It's about using those who support you to help you refine your process and execute better.

And it's not accepting that the process and execution are good enough just because your intentions are.

The Question

Are you accepting poor results because your intentions are good? How willing to change are you?


Go Be More,

Bryan Green
Author of Make the Leap: Think Better, Train Better, Run Faster and the companion Think Better Workbook
Co-host of the Go Be More Podcast
Co-host of the Fueling the Pursuit Podcast

“I have a low tolerance for people who complain about things but never do anything to change them. This led me to conclude that the single largest pool of untapped natural resources in this world is human good intentions that are never translated into actions.”
- Cindy Gallop



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