Intention vs Action: Which Matters Most For Getting Results?

Intention vs Action – what do you think matters most in getting your results? Do you think it’s your intention, or do you think it’s the mechanism that you use or the action you take?

There’s an ongoing debate among people about the ratio between intention vs action when we’re trying to accomplish a goal. What do you think that ratio is?

Is achievement 70% intention, 30% action?

Is it 50% intention? 50% action?

We submit to you, achievement is 100% intention. One way of verifying this is by looking at the results in your life and career – they are the testimony to what your intention has – or hasn’t – been. They reflect your intention.

Now, do we require some sort of action to achieve something? I don’t know about you, but I do. I don’t think I can sit here and meditate and just close my eyes and have a mantra about my intention, of what I want to accomplish, and suddenly have it materialize before my very eyes.

I do need to take some action – but as long as I’m taking an action, I’m not convinced that the specific nature of that action is the most important thing. This is why at Hallett Leadership, we don’t actually prescribe what actions our clients should use to realize their intentions. That’s not our job. Our task is to work with clients on where they are coming from when they set out to achieve something.

What is your intention for your career, your family, your company this year?

To ground this discussion of intention with an example, let’s travel to a cohort of leadership development trainees from our signature Accelerated Leadership Program.

There’s a simple activity we do, where we take the 20 or so developing leaders and place them on one side of a room. I simply instruct them that each individual’s task is to move to the other side of the room, one at a time.

The first person crosses the room, in whichever manner they please. They typically just walk across the room, wondering what the nature of this exercise really is. Then we have another person go – but before they cross, they receive one additional instruction, which is to cross differently from the way the previous person crossed.

So some people will hop across the room. Some people will skip. Sometimes we’ll get a cartwheel. Every once in a while, we’ll get a person with a gymnastics background that wants to do a round off flip-flop backflip. The action, or mechanism, can be whatever they choose, as long as it differs from the action of anyone that has gone before them.

The point of the exercise is, every person can engage a different action to realize their intention of getting to the other side of the room. If their intention is clear, they will get there – no matter the action they take.
What is your intention, and what action are you going to take this year – it’s almost halfway over!

If you’re ready to engage and learn on how to be an authentic leader, sign up for the Hallett Leadership monthly. It’s just one email a month to support you in becoming and continuing to be an authentic leader.

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