When we think of Facebook, we think Mark Zuckerberg. Yet for a number of years after the launch of Facebook, Zuckerberg was being sued by 2 brothers from Harvard University. The Winklevoss twins claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea when they asked him for help coding their site ConnectU. As you delve into the history of big successes, you find that accusations of idea stealing occur quite a lot! Even this week, two writers from the first GI Joe movie are suing Paramount and MGM, claiming the studio stole their ideas for the sequel.

The truth is that ideas are worth nothing unless acted upon. It is merely a thought that has been given enough kudos to be written down. Yet having an overfilled notepad or an app full of ideas serves no purpose unless you are going to act on your best ideas in some way or another.

There has never been a better time to turn ideas into reality and make an impact in the world. The internet has created massive opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals for potential collaborations, cheaper technologies have made access to necessary resources even easier and websites like Kickstarter has presented opportunities to get funding for ideas that were once out of our grasp.

So what would stop you even attempting to turn your ideas into reality? When I coach clients there are a number of common barriers my clients face early on:

Fear of failure

As humans, we have a natural aversion to risk which can make us resistant to trying if we think there is a chance we might fail. However those who pursue their ideas in spite of a potential for failure find that their ideas can transform into something even better because of the setbacks they experience along the way.

Overwhelm of ideas

A common problem can be simply too many ideas, finding it hard to pin down one idea they want to pursue. This comes down to having a criteria about what excites you enough to go for, combined with the purpose for the idea; is it a hobby or to make profit?

Delayed Gratification vs. Instant Gratification

Worthwhile ideas require creation. They do not appear instantly by magic and this requires a focus to go through the process of turning the ideas in your head into something real. Yet life can get in the way with tempting offers that provide more immediate gratification. It is important you believe in the process enough to not always succumb to the delights that instant gratification can bring.

Despite these common barriers, ideas are being created everyday and you can turn your ideas into reality with a simple process that gets your idea out of the notebook and making an impact on the world.

1. Make the idea concrete

It is important before you start to make sure the idea that starts as an abstract concept is turned into something more concrete. There is a distinct difference between “I’m going to set up an online business” and “I am going to set up an online business selling vintage clothes to students.” A good marker is, “If my idea was in front of a video camera what specifically would people be seeing?

2. Find out what resources you have and what you need

To bake a cake, you need ingredients. To bring an idea to life, you need resources. Some you will already have, whilst others you will need to obtain. It is important you do not trap yourself by using a lack of resources as a reason for not starting. Even if you need money, you can still get started. A good marker is finding an example of something similar that has been created and seeing what needed to be present in order for that to be made real.

3. Decide on the purpose of the idea

This is the fuel that drives you towards making your idea a reality. If there is no purpose, you may last a week but as soon as the first setback appears, the temptation to give up may be too much. Is it a personal hobby you want to get good at or is it an idea to earn money? Your commitment will be determined by the answer.

4. Decide what needs to happen in order to move towards an outcome

What needs to happen regularly? This is your strategy to making your idea a reality. By creating systems you make the process easier and allows a consistency for ensuring things get done.

5. What is the first thing that needs to happen?

People can get overwhelmed by creating too many steps they feel they must follow, when in reality you can just start with the first step and then ask, “What next?”

Ideas are nothing on their own, that is not where the magic is. Everyone can have ideas. The magic is in creating it and showing it to the world. Go and create.

How to spot and then dig out the truly great ideas: How to Consistently Come Up with Great Ideas

Featured photo credit: gear wheels close-up via Shutterstock

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