An Idea Just Isn’t Enough
Article by Wilson Lee
Wilson “The Cosmic King” Lee’s record of his adventures becoming an indie publisher.
You have a passion in your heart and a desire to make it real. You’ve been thinking a lot and finally, the lightbulb goes off in your head and it’s brilliant. You’ve got the best idea you’ve had yet and this one is sure to succeed. You’ve been here before, but this time is different…this time you’re ready to take it all the way.
Everyone is capable of a great idea. In fact, I think 99% of all people have at least one winning idea a lifetime. I like to think I have several every day. But there’s a reason why every idea doesn’t make it to reality. And it isn’t some abstract untouchable thing like “fate” or “difficulty”, it’s because people stop at the idea. They never take the next steps to make it real and actionable. Before we can go from an idea to reality, we have to first understand a few concepts and how they relate: 1. Ideas and Brainstorming, 2. Goals-Setting, 3. Planning.
It’s always the boring stuff that makes a difference
Ideas and Brainstorming
I am going to be upfront; ideas are overrated. I am not saying that ideas aren’t still all-important and necessary, but that an idea alone means nothing. Ideas are the beginning of the process, they’re the inspiration and aspiration wrapped into one. The idea is what you want. We all have them, and I think 99% of us produce at least one world changing idea in our lifetimes. But an idea without a plan has no value.
One thing I have come to understand on my journey, is that often times we confuse our ideas for a plan. But ideas answer the question of “what?” not “How?”. There is the marked difference between a plan and an idea, and that difference is the reason why so many ideas remain unrealized. Ideas are not actionable. They require both research, effort, and a plan to be born into reality. If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at the brainstorming process, check out the YouTube video below for a good starting place.
You will need to have both large and small goals and a plan to reach each one in order to make your idea a reality. The SMART goal setting process is a great way to introduce yourself to goal setting and the base process which I’ve built my personal process around. SMART is an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Based. Specificity is extremely important to goal setting. Ambiguous goal will lead to scope creep (meaning you lose focus). The more specific the goal the greater the likelihood you reach it. Next the goals need to be measurable. This is important because it will help you maintain self-accountability.
Next, don’t overlook the importance of having attainable goals. Getting wins will help you maintain motivation. Remember you’ve chosen a marathon not a sprint, so you’ll need to be beef yourself up for the long-haul. However, it’s important not to sacrifice relevance for attainability. Your goals have to mean something, they have to be a true step to making your idea a reality. Make sure that you’ve research what’s necessary to reach your endgame, and that you revisit and re-evaluate your progress often.
Finally, you’ll need to bind your goals to specific period in time. You can’t say I want to be the king of the pirates. You have to say I want to be the king of the parents before I turn 50 years old, or within 30 days, etc. Breaking your goals down into their smallest parts will allow you to set reasonable time frames for achievement. Combined with measurability, time-binding your goals creates a powerful self-accountability mechanism that will keep you on pace. If you want a good starting place to sharpen your action planning skills check out the YouTube video below. Remember, research is key so this is a starting point for your journey, not the end.
Planning is important. It is a complex process and can seem daunting. But there are ways to think about a plan generally that will simplify the process. First, a plan is a set of steps you follow to reach a goal. Plans are actionable as opposed to ideas which exist abstractly as a concept you want to bring to fruition. The first step in planning is to identify the goal. You have to have a clearly defined objective in order for a plan to be successful. The next step in planning is the discovery phase. This is where you research and learn everything you can about your goal. If you’re not an expert you’ll need to become one or find one. Once you’ve done your research you can take the next steps in achieving the individual goals you’ve laid out.
Next, you’ll build an action plan around each individual goal. Actioning planning is a more specific process than general planning. Understanding how to create and implement an action plan is essential to creating a disciplined process you can apply to achieving all of your goals. There is no true process without reflection. So, once you have carried out your plan you will need to reassess its successes and failures. There’s no perfect process. It is an endless pursuit one that bares fruit in both it’s successes and failures. Like we always say never waste a good fail.
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