How Far Will Any Feeling Get You Without A Plan, System, Or Process To Set It Into Motion?

Leadership Lesson: Because we do our best work when we have balance, we always need to be aware of all sides of a approach, both the emotional side that gives us rise and pushes us forward, and the pragmatic side that keeps us level or brings us back down to earth when necessary.

A few months ago, I posted this image on Instagram:

The picture was a repost and not my creation, but once I came across it, I took note of its powerful message. The image may seem goofy, with some people possibly dismissing it because it advises people to be like this person with the Guy Fawx mask, who doesn’t give a shit. But, there’s more there to understand than what we see at first glance.

I was drawn to the image because there does exist a certain freedom and effectiveness in not caring what other people think. It’s not to be vicious, spiteful, vindictive, or dismissive toward the ideas of others for the sake of being different. But, it shuns what it is to be held down by the beliefs of and groupthink with others, where we’re so bound to their ways of being, we sometimes end up neglect our inner, true selves.

Related Podcast: 
Episode 9: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

We may end up giving up on who we are.

Unfortunately, I won’t go any deeper into that image here in this post.

Sorry about that! But everything below does stem from that image above.

Kind of.

What I want to talk about is the best thing to come out of posting this image — a question someone asked in the comments under the post. They asked: Do you think that keeping positive over time is key to a better life? Granted, the question didn’t necessarily tie into the post, and I don’t know if it was a bot — which probably would have made the same comment on the picture of a Big Mac — or not, but the question, in general, is a great one to consider.

I responded: Yes, while also being realistic and pragmatic. Positivity, or passion, or desire, or leadership, or <<YOU NAME IT>> is nothing without a plan or focus.

Everything needs balance. Emotion without process gets no results. Having unrelenting albeit positive emotion without some sense of order yields very little. Without a plan, the emotion continues to build until it fizzles out. So, even with a wonderful and desired energy, it pays to remain cognizant of what is needed in tactics, strategy, and approach to really get anywhere. Doing so helps you maintain awareness about how in control you really are. You don’t want to live in ignorance, slip into complacency, eventually falling into undesired territory or setbacks.

Related: When You Want To Celebrate Your Win, But Your Coach Says, “Look Back And Learn!”

So, what is this balance I’m talking about? Let’s get into that.

The good, the positive — something that fosters building and creating —  is nothing without some amount of self-awareness. Good feelings are not enough. Good feelings are too abstract to deliver the work. Good feelings are merely a starter. They serve as fuel for the machine.

So, what is the machine? What is the vehicle used to deliver on that good emotion? What are the tools to be used to come through and deliver?

So, building off of my answer above, being positive gets you nothing without the tools to do something with it, and being aware of what truly works.

So, what do those tools and awareness look like when it comes to our everyday lives? To provide some examples, consider the four categories below. You can’t give into the feeling of each idea or concept without a grasp of how to approach it. Most of them, alone, are the heart. But you need the mind to balance out that emotional drive.

Here’s why positivity, passion, desire, and leadership need that balance.


Getting to that bot’s (?) question, you can’t have positivity without being realistic. So that means keeping your head out of the clouds, your feet on the ground, and your pragmatic mindset tapped. Don’t be blinded by great feelings. Feelings will get you nothing without a plan.

This isn’t to be a Debbie Downer. I swear. But the rose-colored glasses don’t necessarily provide clarity to what actually is taking place around you.


You can’t have passion without a plan. This, yes, is almost identical to the one above, with passion and positivity being based in a great feeling, sensation, and energy. But passion deserves its own call out because it tends to lead to much more action than mere positivity — and because there’s just so much debate surrounding it.

And you’ve heard that great debate: Follow Your Passion vs. “Follow Your Passion” is Dumb Advice! Here’s where I stand on that. In short, you can’t be so blind with passion that you don’t come up with a plan for how to reasonably and realistically see that passion through. On the flip side, you’d be wise never to sleep on a person who’s driven by passion, even if you’re someone who thinks passion is merely a buzzword.


We have all wanted things in our lives. Whether it was another person, an item, a goal, etc., each of us has been in a position to want something so badly that it might’ve hurt in some cases. When that moment of desire hits, you see something as the ultimate goal, something that gives you a high, which either provides a momentary sensation, or a long-lasting feeling into the future.

And this is yet another instance in which you can’t cave to what you feel. Unfortunately, you can be blinded by that drive and desire to attain that thing you want. But getting wrapped up in what the heart wants oftentimes overshadows the logic, reasoning, and focus of the mind. And when neither precaution nor pause is taken to consider the risks, everything can go south. But…you probably already know that.


Of course this is my favorite one. You’d think it wouldn’t be, since I’m admitting leadership can’t exist alone. But, as much as I love leadership, it can’t exist alone. The drive, encouragement, challenge, empowerment, engagement, etc., of leadership cannot exist without order. And, in this case, that order exists in the form of management. (No, they’re not the same thing.

Like the items above, leadership, itself an abstract concept, cannot exist without its corresponding pragmatic counterpart, management. You can desire what is best for others and get them rallying around your vision, but if you don’t have a plan or system for how you’re going to help people achieve both the greater good and their own, how effective is that leadership really?

Granted, none of this is to say you should overthink each of these situations to the point where you take no action – paralysis by (over)analysis. Please, don’t do that.

But make sure you reconcile the elevation you seek to reach with both where your feet are, and where the bottom is.

We should all strive for the positive attributes and drive, IF seeking those positive feelings and experiences is what drives us. (Remember: Different people have different drivers. We’re not all the same.)

There isn’t perfect karma in life and work. Admirable and noble positions, feelings, and approaches won’t automatically get you desired results, goals, and outcomes.

So, yes, getting back to that question, being positive is great, but it gets you nothing if you’re not functioning realistically with the circumstances on the ground, of the real world.

If you have the feeling to fuel a vision, you need the right tools to actualize it. 

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