5 Tips to Make Ideas Happen

by Francisco Saez

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Pursuit of Mastery.

October 29, 2012

Although the successful execution of an idea is essential for it to become reality, the truth is that the source of all innovation—and the source of any creative work—is an idea that someone had at any given time and did not let slip away.


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October 29, 2012

Although the successful execution of an idea is essential for it to become reality, the truth is that the source of all innovation—and the source of any creative work—is an idea that someone had at any given time and did not let slip away.

Most ideas never happen. The seed of each idea is an ephemeral, brilliant, little thought about something, that comes and goes as soon as your day to day grind—an email, a phone call, whatever—comes to distract you away from it. Other times, the idea is followed by a period of time in which you are really excited about it but, again, the routine comes back to undermine your excitement and the idea is forgotten over time.

The truly sad thing about this is that you will never know if any of these ideas could have changed a the world we live in, even if only a little bit. So what can you do to turn an idea into reality?

  1. Capture. At the moment you have an idea, write it down somewhere where you absolutely know you are coming back to regularly. If you practice GTD then that place is your Someday/Maybe list. You can also use a simple notebook to write and develop your ideas.
  2. Get organized. Getting organized provides a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. You should implement a personal organization system. People who do not organize their tasks, calendar, meetings, etc. have a much higher chance of failing to implement their ideas. Mainly because they live in a reactive mode rather than being proactive. Take your time to think deeply about your idea and write the next actions you need to carry out. Be sure to keep any additional material that’s relevant to your idea.
  3. Share. Share your idea with your team, your clients, or people in your immediate environment. To carry out an idea you need different kinds of people: those who think and those who do. Any assistance and support you can receive is welcome. Furthermore, by making your idea public you create a strong internal commitment to see it through to fruition.
  4. Execute. Perform and complete all necessary tasks and make sure there are always next action steps in your system. Capture any other ideas you have while working. Do not let your idea fade away, and periodically review how its implementation is progressing.
  5. Lead. Leading means infecting others with your enthusiasm and encouraging them to give the best of themselves to make the idea happen. It also means having the initiative, confidence, and courage necessary to press on.

These five functions, which apparently have nothing to do with creativity, are completely necessary to turn something creative—an idea—into something real.

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