Having Good Intentions versus Being Intentional

Most people are fairly optimistic in nature, filled with good intentions about things they’d like to do, see, or accomplish. We marketers and business owners fall into that category, seeing the possibilities of the next campaign, latest technology, or goal we’d like to achieve. Intentions are a great start. They’re the dream, allowing your mind to think freely and imagine what tomorrow could look like.

Sadly, the dream for many dies there. That’s because they didn’t quite figure out how to take that intention and create an outcome. That’s where being intentional comes into the picture.

Taking the idea from an intention to an intentional plan of action

There are many ways to get there, and if I had to guess, millions of books that are published on the subject. Based on my 25 or so years of experience in the business and marketing world, I’ve seen that it boils down to a few things:

1. Start with your “Why.”

What is the purpose behind your good intention? Without a purpose, it’s pretty hard to transition from an intention to action. Your why is very personal, and only has to make sense to you. Ask yourself things like:

  • Why do I want to accomplish this for my business?
  • How will I feel when that outcome is in place?
  • What does it mean for me and those around me?

You’ll uncover that it probably isn’t about something surface-level like making more money. While that may be a result, there’s something deeper that drives your why. Once you uncover it, write it down!

2. Avoid being stumped.

I’ve talked with many business owners (and friends) over the years about their why. Many of them don’t know where to start, or how to begin thinking with purpose in mind. A starting point could be:

  • Create a list of things you love.
  • Identify why you love those things. What is it about them that makes you love them.
  • Create a list of things you loathe.
  • Identify why you dislike those things. What is it about them that creates bad feelings or discomfort for you?

3. Create the steps to get there and make your journey time-bound.

That’s right, folks. Nothing happens without a plan and a clear understanding of how you’ll move from one place to another. Be realistic with your timeline and consider:

  • How long it will really take for you to get there
  • Whether there a hard and fast deadline you must adhere to
  • How you can achieve and celebrate incremental wins along the way

Keep in mind that you’ll face challenges and experience hiccups along the way. This journey is not linear, but you must be intentional about working your plan, ideally in a week-by-week format.

4. Measure your progress.

This is key to help you identify whether you are on track or off track. Things will rarely be at 100% each step of the way, and this is where you can quickly fall off the rails, feeling tempted to give up or feeling that you’re not equipped to accomplish your goal. Make adjustments, learn from the experience, and keep moving.

5. Realize that timing is everything.

As you work through your why, and develop your plan, you may come to the conclusion that it may be time to shelve the idea. Maybe timing is wrong, your goal is now irrelevant, or it’s not something you feel strongly about anymore. Be OK with this realization.

Ultimately, you’ll want to focus on the one or two goals that are going to make the biggest change in your marketing or business. Don’t get too worried about missing out on the next big thing.  The fear of missing out (FOMO) actually leads to you missing on the potential you have. Take the one or two good intentions and turn them into a plan. Be intentional and see results.