Idea to Achievement: How to Take Action
Do you find yourself having lots of great ideas but feel stuck with what your next step is? Or even which ideas to pursue?
We love to learn, to progress and to grow. So we keep our eyes open for opportunities to do so. But that means all the courses, tips, freebies, blogs and podcasts we see and hear every day, we're soaking up a lot of info.
That leads to ideas.
Quite possibly an overload of ideas, which can quickly become overwhelming. We may find ourselves feeling unsure about what to do next. We may feel anxious about all the things that we have to do. Or there may even be a little bit of fear around not starting things because we're afraid we won't achieve them. Does this sound familiar?
I wrote this article to focus on helping you with your next steps. If you feel stuck with what to do to get them off the ground then read on because I'm going to help you figure that out.
Don’t stop having ideas
Before we get started I want to say this: Your ideas are one of the most valuable assets in your business. Because everything you’ve ever achieved, and will achieve, starts as an idea.
Food for thought: Everything that you've ever achieved in your business started with an idea. Everything.
Now, you certainly won't pursue every single idea that you come up with, but it's still important that you have them. It’s important that you nurture your idea generation process because your ideas are possibilities. They represent things that you could do in your business. It is completely up to you to choose which ones you pursue.
Why we get stuck
A problem you may experience is that you have the ideas (often more than enough) but struggle with getting those ideas off the ground.
Perhaps you’re overwhelmed with everything else going on; keeping up with client work, doing the admin, making time for family (especially if the kids are home as well.) Or it may be you're attempting to act on too many ideas at the same time. Or you just don't know where or how to start.
I'm all about making things simple. Running your business doesn't need to be complicated. I want to help you manage your ideas and achieve your goals, while keeping it simple and grinding the overwhelm and anxiety to a halt.
The Process of Idea to Achievement
In this blog I’ll guide you through the process of idea to achievement. In knowing the process you'll better understand where you are and thus what your next step should be. I’ll outline this process along with some examples to illustrate how this process plays out.
With any achievement you’ll follow a simple process;
- Everything starts with the idea
- Then you make the decision on whether to pursue this idea or not
- You create a goal for this idea
- Along with your goal you create a plan of action
- And finally you’ll take action on your plan
How does this help me?
So how does this help you to take action on the ideas that you have? Next time you're stuck with how to get your ideas off the ground consider where you are in this process. This will help you determine what you need to do next.
Let’s look deeper into the process so that you have a good understanding of each stage.
The Idea Stage
Stage one is where it all starts. You may already have an idea or you may want to brainstorm to get ideas. Either way, it’s important to nurture your idea generation process. I want you to love your ideas, capture them and build on them. Have a specific place to record your ideas. It may be a notebook (or two or three!) or an app on your phone. Whatever system you want to adopt that’ll help you capture the ideas.
Sometimes you'll have an initial idea. And if you write it down, it's stored. You may expand on that idea later or you may want to journal it or brainstorm some ideas.
It's important to nurture these ideas and record them for the future. I always say that your ideas are one of the most valuable assets of your business. This is because every single idea is a possibility that may help you make progress in your business. So ideas are something you want to grow to create those possibilities.
No decisions need to be made yet. Just take the time to explore your possibilities. The creative stage can be fun so enjoy it.
The Decision Stage
When in the idea stage you don’t make decisions. You're just exploring possibilities. After that we progress to the next step, which is making those decisions. You’ll need to decide whether to pursue an idea or not. It should be an informed and definitive decision. Don’t leave it up in the air.
Ask yourself; Will this idea help me progress towards my bigger picture? Is it aligned with my strategy and purpose? Do I have the capacity to actually take it on right now? Do I have the resources and the skills to do it? Can I start this project now? And will I be able to commit to it so I can achieve it in full?
Now if your answer is no to these then you can either discard or defer. You may want to pursue the idea but not right now. Or it may not be aligned with your bigger picture.
This may not seem like a big step, but it's important to have that clarity. If you stay on the fence about your decision, then you won't commit. If you don’t have these considerations you may overwhelm and over commit yourself. Or you'll find it’s not the best use of your time.
Indecision will mean your idea takes up valuable brain space that you need to clear one way or the other. If you won’t pursue the idea then make that your definitive decision. Throw it away to clear your brain space.
If you decide you want to pursue it then move on to the next step.
The Goal Stage
Once you’ve made your decision, the next step is to create a goal in relation to this idea or project. This will specify what you want to achieve, when you want to start and complete the project. Be nice and clear in what you want to accomplish. Write it down if it's possible. Keep it somewhere you can see it so you can work on it regularly.
Confirm whether you believe the timelines you've set for this goal are realistic. Is your goal relevant to your bigger picture? Is your goal clear enough to measure and recognize the point of accomplishment? Are there checkpoints along the way where you can celebrate the small victories of this project?
Answering these questions will help you create a motivating and realistic goal you're more likely to achieve.
The Plan Stage
We've covered the idea, decision and goal stage of the process of idea to achievement. So now let's look at the next step, which is creating a plan of action for your goal. The plan of action details all the steps you need to take to see your goal from start to finish. Begin by listing or brainstorming all the steps that you’ll need to do.
With your steps written down you can organise them into a clear order of completion. Which step do you need to do first? What next?
I recommend you keep your plan of action near your goal. Keeping them together will make sure you stay on track with what your desired result is. It helps to keep your goal on display so it stays at the forefront of your mind. You won’t forget about it and you’ll be able to see your progress as you tick off tasks.
Depending on the complexity of your project you can include:
- deadlines for each task or step
- highlight your checkpoints, and
- task dependencies
And also consider if other people will be included in implementing this idea or project. You'll need to communicate these steps and goals with them, too. This is where cloud based project management apps are helpful. Task management apps like Trello, Asana and Click-up allow you to store your tasks and communicate with people you're collaborating with. It'll keep you all on the same page.
The Action Stage
Once you've created your plan, the final step is to take action. Work through your plan of action and enjoy the process. Look out for the checkpoints along the way to give you that reward and feeling of accomplishment. It’s lovely to know that you’re making progress. If you follow your plan, you'll achieve your goal and see that idea come into fruition.
If you're getting stuck at this stage, it may mean you need to go back and revisit your plan of action. Are you missing some steps? Are some of them a bit too hard? Ask yourself some of those questions. Has this step become a little bit too overwhelming? Or do you need to change your deadlines? It's okay if you need to go back and revisit. If you get stuck at any point, just reflect on where you've been so you know what to do.
When you get stuck
If you're stuck in a rut and feel overwhelmed or not knowing where to start, then refer to this process. Work out where you actually are in the process to help you determine which way you need to go next.
Often it may be that you’ve skipped a step, so you can go back and work on it. That's okay. Because it does give you the clarity that you need to move forward. If you're finding the project itself is too big and overwhelming then look at how you can break the project down. Create smaller projects and repeat this process with each smaller step.
The main thing is to enjoy the process. Business should be fun, not overwhelming. If you have great ideas but just can’t get them off the ground then you could benefit from a 1:1 strategy session with me. I can help you untangle all your ideas and create a clear plan of action to achieve what you want without that horrible overwhelm.
About the author
Michelle is a chocoholic, stationery obsessed Business Coach from the seaside town of Mandurah, WA. She specialises in working with Virtual Assistants and B2B service providers, helping them to grow a fulfilling, sustainable and profitable home-based business.
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