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How to Turn Your Ideas Into Reality

How to Turn Your Ideas Into Reality

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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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