If you look around you, everything you’ll see began with an idea.
This is irrespective of whether it is the new outfit you’re wearing, the piece of music you’re currently listening to or even the restaurant that you maybe dining at later tonight.
In truth, coming up with a great idea is relatively easy. However, putting the innovative ideas that we have for ourselves into action can be a completely different story. This is particularly so if we lack the courage, know-how, time, contacts or resources to make them happen.
The real downside to this is that so many original ideas, as a result, lay dormant simply because we fail to take action. An even greater travesty is that by not acting on our creative ambitions we also lose out on what we’re actually truly capable of achieving.
In all respects, this is troubling given that our ideas often relate to ideals which we hope we’ll accomplish one day. Writing a book, directing a film, designing a fashion line, exploring a craft or even launching a business or charity are all examples.
So if you’ve got an idea that has value and which could potentially make a mark on the world, what should you do with it? Well, here are five ways to make your ideas come alive so that they reach their potential.
Write it Down
It doesn’t matter whether it's on a notebook, iPad, mobile or computer, should you have an idea for a creative aspiration, you need to write it down. To be precise, no matter how big, small, grandiose, straightforward or complex your idea might be, get it in writing.
Taking an idea from your head and putting it down on paper will help organise your thoughts and spur you on to get started.
Writing down your ideas will also focus your attention on them. Similarly, capturing your idea and sketching it out in greater detail, can transform that imaginative thought into something far more real and tangible.
By jotting down your idea, you are psychologically declaring yourself ‘in the game’.
So when inspiration comes calling, make sure that you put pen to paper. Then make a commitment to yourself that you are going to go for it, and turn that idea into reality.
Plot a Course
To give your ideas life, you must own the responsibility.
Put another way, an idea has little value until it is executed. To go from daydream to reality is therefore going to require far more than simply putting your idea down on paper.
By definition, a goal without a plan is no more than a wish. That is to say, if you don't have specific actionable steps laid out, your idea is unlikely to materialise.
To draw out that creative spark, try thinking more deeply about the goal you want to achieve, then create a checklist of small, manageable, actionable tasks that will each take you a step closer.
Ask yourself what needs to happen. Do you need to learn how to do something? Do you need to talk to someone? Or can you start by mapping out your concept or building a prototype?
Admittedly, it will be down to you to make sure each of these things happen. All the same, having a list of specific items that you can tick off will provide you with a game plan, while help you track progress.
Stop Thinking and Start Doing
For many of us, the thought of actioning a new idea can come across as inherently risky. This is because we may never have done anything like it before – and have no clue as to what we’re doing!
That said, the difference between dreamers and achievers, is that the great artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and culinary giants we see around us just get on and do it.
Given it requires a leap of faith, it comes as no surprise that this is a stage where many people stall. Even those that set out with good intentions can spend more time perfecting their plan than on implementation. Yet planning alone is fruitless as turning any idea into reality requires execution.
To this extent, as opposed to sitting on your idea, try putting yourself out there by proactively working on your creative goal, and pushing yourself to achieve it.
Should the magnitude of the task seem insurmountable, another tip is to break it down into smaller actionable items that are easier to achieve and less daunting. Otherwise stated, taking action can sometimes be easier if you break things down into smaller moves forward.
To this end, what’s more important is to firstly get started, and then to keep going. This applies even if you remain unsure of how you’re going to get to where you’re going. Fortune favours the bold so start taking action now, and you can learn any ‘how-tos’ later.
Sometimes all that an innovative idea requires to become a reality is for it to be shared with others.
Be that as it may, it’s not uncommon for people to refrain from sharing their ideas. This might be due to concerns that our idea is not good enough or might be dismissed, or that it may be stolen or copied.
On the strength of it though, the simple act of making your idea public can help to reinforce your internal sense of commitment, in turn encouraging you to see it through to fruition.
This is not forgetting that none of us has all of the answers. For this reason, it’s no surprise that ideas are more likely to come to fruition when great people and teams come together.
With this in mind, it’s worth considering that any support you’ll receive from sharing your idea may propel and motivate your further. In a nutshell, all ideas have the potential to become a great idea if supported by equally passionate people.
In addition, another suggestion is to find or collaborate with an accountability partner, namely someone who is in your corner and can help you remain accountable.
These types of relationships are incredibly valuable in ensuring that you not only remain committed and productive, but that you also follow through on all aspects of your project in the relentless pursuit of your passion.
Put it Out There
There comes a time after all the drafts, revisions, rehearsals or prototypes to show your idea off.
It maybe disconcerting but you need to set your idea free and get it out into the world. In a manner of speaking, once you’ve figured out your rollout strategy, there’s nothing left then but to execute it.
On a personal level, putting your idea out there as something original, experimental or tangible will serve as a validation of your creativity.
Not only that, it will be interesting to see how your idea evolves as other people embrace it. For instance, it may lead to further opportunities to build upon your idea or open new doors entirely.
It is fair to say that not everyone will necessarily like what you are proposing, but in the whole scheme of things, this doesn't really matter. i.e. any time you put something new or different out into the world, it’s likely to be met by both praise and negativity.
More importantly, is for you to take your idea from inspiration to implementation to realisation. In other words, if you don’t take a meaningful risk to make things happen, your idea won’t get anywhere, anyway.
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By The Editor, JEM Group
© JEM Group Limited.
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