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You had every intention of getting up early so you could do the things you really need to do to be successful and happy. Instead you hit the snooze button three times, and you didn’t do what needed to be done.

You intended to make your prospecting calls as soon as you arrived at your office, knowing that this is the one activity you can take to build your pipeline. Instead you opened your email inbox and were overwhelmed by the demands of family, friends, co-workers, clients, and strangers. You never did the prospecting.

You had every intention of making the difficult call to an unhappy client to help resolve their issues and complaints. But there was easier work to be done, and you pushed it off for a day. Your unhappy client remains unhappy.

You never intended to spend hours of your day bouncing around from one site to the next on the Internet. But there is an endless supply of novelties, like pictures of grammatically challenged cats, and the time just seemed to slip away. It seems like time is always just slipping away, doesn’t it?

Know this: Your good intentions are meaningless.

Actions, Not Intentions

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. You know why you never hear anyone say: “The road Hell is paved with good actions.” Because good actions are how you beat a path out of Hell.

It’s nice that you intended to get up in the morning, but it doesn’t produce the outcome you needed. A lot of salespeople have every intention of making their prospecting calls, but few have the self-discipline to take the action, and few produce the outcomes.

It is your actions that produce your outcomes, not your intentions.

Like a Bat Out of Hell

The cornerstone of success is self-discipline. It’s what allows you to keep the promises you make to yourself. It’s what allows you to postpone your gratification, doing the less pleasant work now for a greater reward later. Your self-discipline is your ability take the actions that need to be taken now, without allowing yourself to be lulled to sleep by the lie that there will be more time later.

Forget your intentions and exercise your self-discipline. The tool to help you with this is your calendar.

If you want change one single belief that will revolutionize your results, change your belief that your calendar is the place where you keep the commitments you make to other people. Believe instead that your calendar is the place where you keep the commitments you make to yourself. You wouldn’t dream of missing an appointment with someone else once it was placed on your calendar. Treat yourself with that same respect.

A calendar isn’t a place to keep your intentions. It’s a place to keep the actions you are committed to taking, whether those commitments be made to you or to someone else.

Don’t intend to do your prospecting work. Put it on the calendar and take action. Don’t intend to call your unhappy client. Put it on the calendar and make the call.

Treat the alarm clock with the same awe and reverence as you do the little notification chime you get when you have a new email message. Turn up the alarm, open the calendar, and turn the browser off.

To Hell with your good intentions. It’s your actions that produce the outcomes you need.


Do you ever intend to do something, but then you don’t?

Do you ever intend to not do something, but then do that thing you wish to avoid?

What outcomes do intentions produce?

How do you exercise your will and your inner strength to do what you know will produce the outcomes you need, even when there is more pleasant distractions available?

Sales 2012
Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 30, 2012

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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