It’s Not About The Idea

It's Not About the Idea

Ideas. They are a dime a dozen. I’m so certain of this fact because I’ve written this same blog and thrown it in the garbage at least ten times before. The reason my inability to publish a piece on ideas has been fraught with starts and stops is because the execution of the idea is all that matters.

When I first thought about this blog, it seemed obvious. I’m not the only person who has ever had a great idea that sat in a folder or notebook somewhere. I’m also not the first person to say that ideas are a dime a dozen. But when you are trying to write a piece about the importance of executing, and being unable to execute properly on the idea, the perils of being an “idea man” slap you right in the face.

We need to have ideas. Ideas are an important aspect of any great change. The term, “it started with a simple idea” has great power. You have to start somewhere and an idea is a pretty great place to begin. But then you need to get started.

Many people make it to the first stage of work. You’ve probably gotten here before, you know, with that other guaranteed million dollar idea. You write out all their thoughts about an idea. If it’s a business you might start thinking about a name or even attempting a logo design. But then the truth comes out. You haven’t really thought through this. Or maybe you see other people already way ahead of you on solving the problem you are trying to tackle. Doubt creeps in and you start thinking, “why am I even trying this? I’m not good enough? I don’t know enough about this topic. How could I ever do this full time. I’ve got a good job and should just keep doing it”

The idea your head was perfect. The world, however, and the people who would actually buy your product (customers, how annoying, right?) don’t seemingly share your feelings of what it a perfect product you’ve created. It’s possible they just don’t understand, but while you are toiling away on that one aspect you haven’t quite figured out the doubt gets a little louder. “How are you ever going to do this?”

And that’s when strategy and execution become the real driver of your idea. Without them, your idea is doomed. It will ruminate, stay in a notebook, and eventually, without any action, become an “I had that idea” moment when someone else has the same idea and actually follows through.

So, how can you plan for success. The annoying part of this blog is that I can’t tell you a one size fits all solution to your problem of strategy planning. For one, it could just be that you have a bad idea and need to quickly squash it so you can start working on something better.

For the people out there whose idea actually has some legs, the best I can do for you is tell you a couple things that I have found incredibly useful to move myself from “I’ve got a great idea” to “Hey, I built something pretty cool!”

  1. Hit the gym. Yes, physical and mental health are linked and yes getting a little exercise in each day will make you more productive. And in case you are wondering, I did take a really long time to listen to my own advice. I’m currently tracking my progress on Failure Is The Only Option.
  2. Get yourself a physical journal and start writing things down. How you want to run your to-do list is up to you. I’ve recently found myself using a combination of Bullet Journaling and your traditional to-do lists. It’s working for me right now.
  3. Make a plan.
  4. No seriously, go make a plan. This plan will change. You will underestimate time and costs of getting things done. But you need to have an idea of where you want to end up and how you are going to get there. I like using Gantt charts. But you do you.
  5. Don’t hustle. Just be diligent in carving out time to work on executing your strategy. All the hustle gurus are full of shit and spend most of their time finding ways to convince you that you need to live their lifestyle so you’ll buy their books. Fuck ’em. Live your own lifestyle.

So that’s about it. Your idea sucks. But your execution can be legendary. Get out there and plan. Then Execute. It really is that simple. And the best part is, since you have a drawer full of ideas, it doesn’t matter if the first fifty don’t work out. Let me know how it goes.

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