intention over effort

In building a business, product management, productivity, sales, stories by Jay Clouse

Back in the day when I was hawking tickets with Tixers, I led our marketing efforts (on top of product, customer service, fraud prevention…) and I always forgot to plan a sales and marketing campaign for Black Friday.

In both 2014 and 2015, I remember looking at the date and realizing I was a few days away from Thanksgiving, and the feeling of, “oh shit” would take hold. Black Friday was coming up quickly, and I hadn’t planned any type of campaign at all.

As a three person team, we never had a shortage of things to do. There was always a fire to put out, an email to answer, a phone call to make, testing to do on the product…I was always going task to task.

All these small tasks were so urgent — I had to do them asap or everything would fall apart!

Over the years, I’ve heard some outrageous figures of how large of a percentage of annual revenue an ecommerce company typically does through the holiday season. What I realize now is that a proactive, well-planned campaign on Black Friday would have dwarfed the results of the frenetic, reactive efforts of several other months throughout the year.

Said another way, I could’ve done next to nothing for months other than plan a great Black Friday campaign, and the results would have been more meaningful.

You wouldn’t ride a bike in first gear on flat land when you can cover more ground in second or third gear with the same effort — but we often do just that in our work.

You can look for the areas of your life and work where you feel like you’re pedaling fast and moving slowly. You can choose be thoughtful in how you approach the work so that you find your own higher gear.

Intention is the oxygen that feeds the flames of your energy. Effort with intention beats pure, undirected effort. Or, as my coach would say, approach something with clarity instead of intensity.


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