When I was younger it was a lot easier to make ideas happen. An idea for a script turned into a 120 pages of a tangible product I could do something with. An idea for an article turned into a project that included photos, interviews and written copy. Not always did these ideas bring the desired result, but I got them done.
Today while the ideas still come, my ability to pick one and see it through to the end of the line is harder.
I get it, less creative time, more responsibility, but I’m not okay with that so I decided to get to the bottom of how to make ideas happen, regardless.
THE CURSE OF CREATIVITY
If you’ve got a hundred good ideas, but can never fully commit to even one because you’re all over the place, the likelihood of making your idea happen is slim to none. That’s a fact.
But it’s not hopeless.
If you can GET ORGANIZED, and I mean that literally, it’s the fist step. Chances are if your mind is cluttered, so is your work space including your desk top.
Clean up. Go through papers. Delete files. All those lists you’ve made, ditch them.
Then claim all your ideas on paper. Make a notation next to the ones you’ve started. For example, how far along are you in developing the idea? Have you done any research? Have you written a description? Have you created an outline?
Remember, not all ideas are great. And even great ideas may not be worth your time.
A helpful way to discern whether an idea will flourish or flop is to put it to what I call the “company” test.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
Begin by shutting off the right side of your brain.
It’s time to be practical and logical.
From this point of view, consider yourself head of a company. Imagine, you’re in a weekly meeting with your staff talking about ideas the purpose of which is to determine which are worth pursuing.
Questions you might ask your staff about each project?
- Where do we see this idea going?
- Is there a market for it?
- What’s the time frame to make it happen?
- What actions steps have you taken so far? What have the results been?
- What can we do at this early phase to asses the merit of the idea?
Based on those answers, determine the action steps you’d instruct your staff to take in order to prove the worth of the project. For example, if the book you want to write requires that you travel to conduct interviews, but the “company” budget won’t allow for travel at the moment, that idea must be shelved (for now). It can be that simple.
Then, trust your instinct.
Out of all the projects you’ve started and new ideas you have, which excite you the most? Put those on a short list. NOTE: If you’re so overwhelmed that you’re feeling no enthusiasm whatsoever about any of your ideas, it’s not the ideas it’s you. Takes some me-time then circle back and apply the “company” test.
From your short list, pick two. Then think it over. The one that will require the least amount of work to finish is the one to go with. Why? Because you’ll finish it and get a win. That’s important because you can apply the momentum you gained from that project to the next one.
WHEN YOU DECIDE
Once you DECIDE to pursue an idea, you must apply DISCIPLINE. There’s no way around it.
A disciplined approach is what will get it done full stop.
Authors who write a book a year are the most disciplined group of writers. I immediately think of women’s fiction novelist, Santa Montefiore.
Screenwriters and directors are another bunch. Look at Quentin Tarantino who has written and directed a dozen films.
Take Bradley Cooper and his dream to revise the film A Star is Born. That was a creative idea that grew legs when he became serious about doing it. Once that mind shift happened, he could look at the project from a rational perspective instead of a creative one.
Granted these examples are big ideas with big players, but the method is the same. The thinking can be applied to any creative idea no matter how big or how small.
IT COMES DOWN TO THIS
Measure the value of your ideas with actions steps. If there’s no action, was the idea credible? Probably not.
Determine whether you’re a DOER or DREAMER.
Be willing to make the adjustments to strike a balance.
Author of the book, Making an Idea Happen, Scott Belsky, refers to people who are both Doers and Dreamers as Incrementalists. He then goes on to say that no matter which category you fall into, you need help from other doers and dreamers to keep an idea moving. In a perfect world, yes, but if you’re a solo entrepreneur without a team, it will be about knowing when to wear which hat and then staying the course.
It’s the way you approach turning your idea into a reality that will largely determine your success. If your approach is disorganized, well, there you go.
ONE MORE THING
I did discover in my research and personal trial and error, that there is in fact one more thing needed to make an idea happen: you’ve got to WANT TO DO IT.
Establish the reason you want to develop your idea and push it forward. In that you will define the purpose. Then you can claim it by setting your intention.
There have always been and will always be challenges to make ideas happen, but when you’re able to OVERCOME those challenges with the clarity of SOLUTION BASED thinking you’ll be able to see your ideas through to the end of the line with great regularity.
Overall the best advice I can give, take things one step at a time. If others have made their ideas happen (and they have) you can too. It won’t always be smooth sailing, but it’s in the doing that you’ll get it done.