Ideas come naturally to entrepreneurs, but how’s your execution?
I talk to a lot of men who run their own businesses. And almost every one of these talented, potential-filled men feels like they’re wasting potential because they can’t always turn their powerful ideas into reality.
They can’t organize their ideas well enough. Or they don’t even know when ideas matter.
They have so many great ideas that—poof—disappear in the tornado of tasks inside their mind.
Or they sit and think on their ideas so long that it becomes too late.
This is one of the biggest reasons that high-achieving men often feel like failures. No matter what good they are accomplishing through their work, they know they have a lot more to offer.
That their “no-starts” could leave a bigger legacy than the things that are already on the ground and moving forward.
But let me clue you in to a little secret: There’s a single, major difference between the man who fulfills his potential and brings big ideas to life and the one who achieves, but never accomplishes his dreams.
The difference is in two crucial words: idea organization.
Fulfilling your potential with idea organization
Ideas matter for your business only when you can execute on them well enough.
That means you need a system for idea capture. This isn’t brainstorming I’m talking about. This is what to do with an idea when it actually hits you.
Because you fulfill your potential by writing down, organizing, prioritizing and effectively executing your big ideas.
Did you catch that? These are the four steps you can use to fulfill your potential. 4 steps to fulfill your 'idea potential."
4 steps to fulfill your 'idea potential."
Let’s break it down.
1. Write down your big ideas
No idea when ideas matter? Then you must not be writing any down.
If you don’t take the time to capture an idea, it must not be an important idea.
Your subconscious—which is in the driver’s seat way more than your conscious would like to admit—will get more on board with fulfilling your idea when you’ve written it down.
Writing down your ideas is the link between the conscious and the subconscious. Don’t be lazy and skip this step, thinking that you can keep track of your ideas mentally.
Besides upping your subconscious participation in making an idea a reality, writing it down in a predetermined place where you put all your ideas allows you to stop thinking about it and use precious mental energy to develop it.
2. Organize and ‘bite-size’ your big ideas
First part of organizing your ideas is knowing where to write them down so you won’t forget you wrote them down. I use digital organization tool Evernote for this because it’s always with me on my phone.
By extension, I always know where to find my ideas so I can organize them and start taking action.
Another way to handle it is to place ideas directly into your task-management ecosystem so you’ve already told yourself it’s going to happen. For task management, I recommend free tools from Trello or Asana. Trello has wonderful visual simplicity while Asana allows you to get as details-oriented as you like.
Both tools are available to you on your phone and/or computer so you can always access it easily.
But either will allow you to break up your ideas into manageable, organized chunks so you always know what to do next to make it a reality.
Making bite-sized portions for a big idea will help keep you from feeling absolutely overwhelmed by it as well.
3. Prioritize your big ideas
One of the things talented men struggle with is not knowing which idea to tackle. The old saying goes that if everything is important, nothing is.
So prioritizing your ideas may be the most important step in making ideas a reality.
Every month, have an idea focus. What big idea for your business do you want to chase this month? When you know the answer to that, prioritization comes a lot easier.
Block out time for big ideas. You’ll never get to your big ideas if you aren’t willing to put them on the calendar. Schedule time that you will not give to anything else. Block out time daily to promote a habit of working toward your goal. Even if you only have 15 minutes to give to it every day. You could also try something like Deep Work Wednesday.
Drop ideas that expire. If you’ve written down, organized and “bite-sized” your big idea already, but can’t muster the drive or time to accomplish it, eventually the idea will lose its luster. Either because you lose the enthusiasm you need to tackle the idea or the marketplace has already filled the hole you saw.
If you don’t strike when the iron is hot, you might not have a brand when the iron pulls away.
Too many men feel like those big ideas they’re not chasing for good reasons are wasted potential. That couldn’t be further from the truth most of the time. We counsel our clients to strip their to-do lists of things that have been there six months or longer, and we suggest that big ideas may have a similar shelf life. Don’t let ideas clutter your mind so long that they distract you from fulfilling your potential wherever you are most needed.
4. Execute your big ideas
This is the fun part. And once you’ve got all the challenging mental labor out of the way by writing down your ideas, organizing and bite-sizing them and prioritizing them, this step will be a lot simpler.
And more effective.
When you follow this system to make your ideas a reality, that’s when ideas matter.
Both for you and the people they can help.