Thoughts on Turning Ideas into Reality

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in Creativity

I think it is wonderful to talk about ideas.  I like to have as many of them a day as possible.  It keeps life juicy and interesting.  But, sometimes you actually have to do something.  Implement.  Actualize.  Make it happen.  Make some money.  Much easier said than done, right?

Have you ever consciously considered what you do with an idea when it presents itself to you?  I really hadn’t.  For the most part, I thought I meandered around intuitively until I reached some kind of conclusion. I have only recently realized that I actually use a process when I am in the first stages of considering an idea and what to do with it.

Here are a few things you might want to look at as you explore your own methods of bringing ideas to life:

  1. Love it or leave it.  To some extent, I think you have to be in love with your idea.  After all, it is kind of like a marriage or a partnership.  You are going to be stuck with this baby for a while if you decide to do something with it; so, I think you better love it before you make a commitment.  If you don’t absolutely love it, you won’t have enough energy around it to make it happen – so leave it behind and move on.
  2. Know your end game.  What is the point of your idea?  Is it to make money?  Do a bit of good in the world?  Prove to yourself that you can actually do something? Or are you just interested in the act of creation?  All of the above? Knowing your end game helps you decide what steps you need to take to get this idea out of your head and into being.
  3. Map your mind.   For me, the best way to brainstorm the steps is to use something called mind mapping.  It is a great visual representation of what needs to happen to get to the end game.  If you don’t know what mind mapping is, there are plenty of resources out there that can tell you how to do it.  So, if my end game is to manufacture a product that sells for $100 by January 1 and give 5% of the proceeds to end world hunger, then I know I have to find a manufacturer, determine the product distribution strategy, develop a marketing plan, identify the charities … well you get the idea. 
  4. Vet your idea. Once you think you know what you are doing and why, you’ll want to test your thinking.  One of my favorites is to run it by my own informal board of advisors.  These are people I have collected in my life who have varied experiences and knowledge.  They don’t necessarily know they are my on my “board” but I like running my ideas by them because I usually get fairly honest feedback.  Your friends and family love you and probably won’t tell you the truth. They don’t want to hurt your feelings. If you don’t have informal advisory board, you might want to start thinking about who those people could be.
  5. Go forth and do (or not).  If your idea makes it through this initial phase, you have two options:  quit or get going. What’s it going to be? 

Of course, if you decide your idea has merit and is worth pursuing, there is much work to be done.  However, this is the truly fun part of creating something.  Seeing it come to life.  Let the fun begin!

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