The Key to Follow-Through: Intention vs. Attention

It’s a story I hear every single day, and it’s a story I could have written! The story I used to live myself, day in and day out.

My clients come to me looking to improve their performance and their productivity. They say that they are. . .





They tell themselves that they just need to try harder. But, that’s a lie!

The truth is quite the opposite. The truth is that my clients, like me, are some of the hardest working people you could ever know! Many of them do more in a given day than others could dream of. It’s often just not the right stuff that they’re doing!

The problem isn’t that they don’t work hard enough or try hard enough. The problem is that they are being driven by their Attention rather than by their Intention.

The key to being able to follow-through on the right things and do what we mean to do, when we mean to do it, is working from Intention rather than working from Attention. Here’s what I mean…

When our lives are driven by our Attention, we’re just keeping up at best. We’re busy, we’re working hard, but we’re not taking care of the things we really need and intend to do. We’re not doing the things that will move our lives forward (personally and professionally).

We Procrastinate.

We React.

We Put out Fires.

When our actions are being driven by our Attention, rather than our Intention, we’re taking care of what we notice. We’re taking care of what we see in the moment. We’re taking care of what’s right in front of us, right now. We’re putting out fires and dealing with crisis after crisis in the moment.

And we’re exhausted!

But we’re still not getting done what we want, need and Intend to do. We’re not planning ahead. We’re not being proactive. We’re not preventing those fires and crises that consume our days.

We’re Not Moving Ahead.

I know what it’s like to be driven by Attention rather than Intention. As a woman with ADD, I spent many years and an untold amount of energy with my actions being driven by my attention, rather than my intention. I often say it felt like. . .

I spent my days Spinning around with One Shoe Nailed to the Floor!

Every day ended in Exhaustion and Frustration. Every day ended with me knowing that, somehow, I could have done more. And I could have done it better.

I was always hard-working and incredibly busy, but had very little to show for it!

What is driving your behavior today?

What is determining how you spend your time?

Are you busy reacting and putting out fires, or are you busy preventing fires and being proactive?

Are YOU busy moving forward, or are you spinning in place?

Humor me for a second. . .

Imagine that your life is a bus. (I know. It sounds crazy, but hang in there with me!) On that bus is all that you are and all that you’re capable of being. On that bus is your Potential. That bus, filled with who you are and what you’re truly capable of achieving, is headed toward this very real place that is called Fulfillment. Or at  least, it should be.

That place called Fulfillment is where you do more than just what you need to do to get through the days. It’s where you do what brings you joy, satisfaction and contentment. That place called Fulfillment is where you go to bed feeling gratified and actualized. It’s where you wake up excited at the possibilities of what the day can bring, rather than waking up feeling dread and weary before the day even begins.

Here’s the good news! Fulfillment actually exists! It’s not an illusion or a tease. And I know it exists, because I found it. I already live there, today! Alongside many people just like me and just like you.

Now, please don’t get me wrong! I’m not going to pretend for one second that every day of my life is nothing but sunshine and roses, because it’s not! I’m human, I’m far from perfect, and I live in a world that’s far from perfect full of other people who are far from perfect, too. Stuff happens but, more often than not, my days end with a sense of satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment, and they begin knowing that I’m moving in the right direction.

Most days, I’m behind the wheel of that bus, and I’m driving it in the right direction. Sure. There are speed-bumps and detours and life makes my proverbial GPS have to “recalculate” from time to time but, overall, I’m really good with where I’m going. And if you knew me at all you’d know that I’m not telling you any of that because I want you to think that I’m perfect (because I’m not even close), or to make you feel worse about yourself! That’s not it at all.

I want you to know that there is a better way to live. An easier way to live. I want you to know that there is hope! Because…

If a messy, disorganized, underachieving scattered woman with ADD like me can feel Satisfaction and Fulfillment, I know that you can, too!

When was the last time you felt it

Think about it.

Are you behind the wheel, Driving the proverbial bus that is your life’s Potential, or are you running along behind it?

I promise that if you don’t change what you’re doing now, the distance between you and that bus will only grow wider.

Today’s the day you can start to close the gap between your actions and your intentions, and start moving toward your own potential! Just like I have, and just like my clients do every day.

What do you need to change for that to happen?

How can you Clarify your Intentions and keep them in front of you so that they guide your actions and direction throughout your days? 

I hope you’ll give it some thought!

Stay tuned!  I’ll give you some practical, actionable tips in the coming weeks.

As always, thanks for reading!

Lynne Edris, ACG
Productivity Coach




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