As the Author Sue Grafton said, “Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”
You may have an idea that will revolutionize society as we know it but without taking action and committing to your vision, we will never get to see those events play out. Do yourself a favor and take the leap, create long-lasting change in the world, and read the guide below to help you fully commit to your idea.
Step 1. Have a Deep Belief in and Passion for Your Idea
Think about your idea as if it were a car. Imagine that you’re sitting in your car and you put the key into the ignition. You turn the key but the car engine stutters rather than starting. It hits you. I didn’t remember to refill my gas tank on the way home yesterday. You can sit there and turn that key as many times as you want but without a full tank of gas, you’re not going anywhere.
The fuel that fuels your idea is your passion for said idea. It’s amazing to have your idea all laid out. It’s better if you’re behind the wheel, ready to take action. However, it’s absolutely necessary that you have the belief in and the passion for your idea that you need in order for it to thrive in the real world.
In the Creators for Good blog, The CEO Solène Pignet makes a valid point regarding entrepreneurs who have a passion for their idea:
“We all tend to be more efficient when doing something we love.. and even often better than others. Imagine “doing something you (truly) love” is at the heart of your social business: you are using your best skills, and it is easy for you to complete those tasks. You always want to improve and enjoy spending time reading about it, going to conferences, training yourself. You feel useful and fulfilled at the same time. Can you foresee how much competitive advantage, quality of service and innovation potential that would give you?!”
This passion is the energy that will get you from Point A (your idea) to Point B (your vision).
Step 2. Create a Specific Goal and Develop an Actionable Plan
Specificity is key. Just like ideas and intentions are nothing without passion, goals are nothing without specificity. In fact, an article in Forbes on defining commitment as a social entrepreneur addresses this:
“As a social entrepreneur, you have to define your goals so you can realistically implement them. In my experience, good intentions (great intentions, in fact) that could change communities for the better are always there. But when ideas are too big or don’t address a specific enough need, good intentions just aren’t enough. An action plan for either your social venture or an internal charitable project needs to be more than just a rubber stamp. You need rounds of analysis of the geographic region and its regulations to find the optimal solution.”
In order to create a bulletproof plan that will help you carry out your idea and grow into something visible, take into consideration the following points:
- Who: Who am I gearing my idea towards? Who am I setting out to help? Who is going to support me and help me turn my idea into a reality?
- What: What is my idea going to achieve? What parts of my idea are realistic? What parts could use improvement?
- Why: Why am I attempting to carry this idea out? Why am I trying to solve this problem? Why am I passionate about this?
- When: When can I accomplish my mission by? Is now the right time to be executing this idea? When will I find time to accomplish these tasks?
- Where: Where should I carry out my idea?
- How: How am I going to make this plan a reality? How will I fund this idea?
Once you’ve recognized some of your barriers and you’ve identified ways that you can work past them, you should be able to create an actionable plan that will allow you to follow through on your idea successfully.
Step 3. Evaluate Your Progress Regularly
The founder of the Bstow app, Jason Grad, was recently published in an issue of the Change Creator magazine where he said:
“Be flexible with your idea and make sure that you are passionate about the underlying problem you are trying to solve.”
When you’ve begun to carry out your plan, you must realize that things will not always happen the way that you intended them. Life gets in the way sometimes and that’s absolutely okay. You may end up not having enough money to fund your social enterprise or you may find out that you were working towards your cause the wrong way. Whatever the issue that arises may be, continue your work around one word, commitment. Pursue your passion with unwavering dedication and the people around you will recognize that.
Rebecca Webber, a writer published in a later issue of the Change Creator, made an equally important point:
“The dreams you have today may no longer be your goals two, three, or five years from now. Even if they are, the progress you are making toward them today may not satisfy you in the future.”
Know that it’s okay to change direction. Wherever you started is not always where you’re going to end up. Keep tabs on your progress and make sure that the progress you’re making is the progress that you want to make.
Step 4. Make a Physical Representation of Your Inspiration
Motivation and inspiration can be hard to come by these days. An idea that may have excited you initially doesn’t always ensure that you are going to be as excited down the road when your dreams have finally come to fruition. To avoid this, you may want to look into doing something creative that reminds you of why you started doing what you’re doing and where you want it to take you. A great example of this is a vision board.
One study conducted by TD Bank in early 2016 decided to survey 500 small business owners and 1,127 individuals to see if goals and visualizations had anything to do with success.
According to the study, 67 percent of respondents believed that the vision board would help them achieve their goals, 59 percent were twice as confident as those who didn’t keep vision boards, and 82 percent of the business owners who were surveyed accomplished more than half of their goals from the time that the survey was started until the time the survey ended.
If you’re having trouble with commitment, a vision board may be just what you need to keep yourself on track
What should you put on a vision board? Here are some ideas:
- Pictures- Especially pictures that pertain to your ideal social enterprise
- Positive Affirmations- Words that you can repeat daily to reinforce the confidence you have in yourself as well as your business
- Quotes- Words by others that inspire you
- Ideas- Thoughts that you’ve had that could be useful in the future or could help you grow your business
- Anything Else That Inspires You!
Step 5. Hold Yourself and Those Contributing to Your Dream Accountable
Accountability is everything when it comes to commitment. If you fail to follow through on things that you said you were going to do to, you need to be able to see that you’ve failed and hold yourself accountable for that. You also need to be able to hold others accountable when they’re not pulling their weight in your social enterprise.
Holding yourself accountable is as easy as stating your intentions to the people around you. Not only will people expect you to follow through on what you say you’re going to do but they’re counting on it.
Tell people exactly what you’re going to achieve and by exactly what date. This will give you the motivation that you will need to commit rather than quit. If you have no one to help you hold yourself accountable, give yourself consequences instead. Stay in during a weekend and catch up on tasks. Get up early to finish all of your work. Do what you must.
When it comes to holding other people accountable, you can use this method that comes from an article titled 5 Key Tips to Be a More Effective Social Entrepreneur:
“Nate Olson, whose organization 1 Million Cups operates in over 30 cities in the US, says that he always takes notes during meetings. Then, he sends out a meeting recap to everyone in attendance. It serves as a reference document to hold people accountable for what they agreed upon, and is the single best way to verify everyone gets the most out of meetings.”
This is a great idea because it manages to put the pressure on everyone. Should one or more members of the meeting fail, everyone else will know and it will give them further incentive to work harder next time.
Ideas are only as good as the person and the passion behind them. Not every idea is executable or worth pursuing. If you do find one that is, however, and you’re truly driven to see it through, use these 5 steps to fully commit to it and see your dreams through.