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Rate Your Follow Through on Ideas

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I was chatting with a friend this weekend and she asked, "Hey, what ever happened to that great idea you had a couple of weeks ago?" My initial response was, "which one?" After all, I'm an entrepreneur and a coach; ideas show no shortage in my life. But follow through on ALL of them? Well, that's another story.

A few months ago I wrote a post about my "system" for implementing or filing ideas. Today, I thought we'd chat about the danger of holding on to all of your ideas and how that could negatively impact you and your business.

I'd like to point out that if you are in business for yourself, odds are your wheels are constantly spinning. And you most likely attract people who are much the same. It's probably not uncommon for you and your friends or peers to get lost in the excitement of a new venture. That's just who you are; that's the creative mind of an entrepreneur. However, no matter how excited you may feel in the moment, the majority of these ideas probably never come to fruition. How do you feel about that?

Here's a common scenario: Creative Mind A meets Creative Mind B. Together they come up with a great, money-making concept or an idea to launch their current businesses to new levels. It suits their values and skill sets beautifully and it just needs a little work. They promise to "make it happen" and well - it fizzles. The most disturbing piece is that it doesn't feel good to let these ideas slip through your fingers and it may feel like you're letting yourself, and possibly others, down. You might experience guilt, a sense of lowered self-worth, or an added pressure as your task list grows out of control. All of this excessive energy has a negative impact on your body, mind, relationships, and your business. So how can you continue to enjoy expressing your creative self and keep the negative fall-out at bay?

First remember that it's important to prioritize. Otherwise, none of your concepts will take shape. Make sure that the critical pieces of your current business model are in place before launching into another project. Be careful of the commitments you make, or solicit from others, when you're in one of your impromptu brainstorming sessions. Making commitments and not following through can cause us to feel bad about ourselves — or others.

After masterminding a "great idea" I like to take a "cooling off" period. Sure, these ideas may sound brilliant and simple in the moment, but within 24 hours or so I begin to recognize the challenges. Some are worth tackling, others simply aren't.

Watch your commitments. Prior to making a commitment toward the next steps you might take a look at your calendar and to-do list. Identify the next steps and schedule them into your calendar — don't over promise! You might even try something like, "I love this idea and I want to be fair to everyone involved. So, let's think about it and talk on Wednesday."

Communicate. If you realize that you don't have the time, energy, or finances to follow through on your next steps, or you need to postpone taking action, it's important to communicate to yourself and/or the other party (if there is one) that you are "filing" this concept for now. Feeling like you've let yourself and others down is a big emotional drain. This realistic approach may be disappointing for a while, but in the end it relieves you of the burden of guilt or embarrassment. If there is another party involved and they are not communicating with you try to let go of any resentment or ill feelings. These negative feelings are also a huge energy drain. You cannot control anyone else, only your reaction to them.

Most importantly, not all of your ideas need to go to the wayside. Take the time to evaluate and explore the real gems. If it's an idea worth pursuing, your wonderful, creative mind will find a way!

Last updated: Dec 1, 2009

MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.
@MarlaTabaka




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