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Exploring the world of entrepreneurship and self development through the eyes of Andy Rodie

Archive for the month “March, 2010”

Six tips to make your ideas happen


Another great post from Marelisa Fabrega. Please check her blog at
http://abundance-blog.marelisa-online.com/

“If you want your idea to succeed, you’ll have to take the offensive. So, you become a Warrior and take your idea into action.”

– Roger von Oech, “A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative”

Ideas are plentiful. However, ideas that are seen through to completion are an entirely different story. Most ideas end up in the idea graveyard, surrounded by countless good intentions and one-day-I-will dreams. Focus, determination, organization, and productivity will determine whether an idea will ever become reality. Below you’ll find six tips to help you make your ideas happen.

Choose One Idea to Work On – Avoid the Idea Avalanche

Avoid the idea avalanche, or the creative person’s tendency to jump from idea-to-idea without getting much done. Stephen Pierce defines the idea avalanche as: “The mental condition whereby ideas come to you in such abundance that you have trouble keeping up with all of them.” It’s basically about having a great idea, then having an even better one three days later, and moving on to yet another fabulous idea the day after that.

The net result of the idea avalanche is that you never see any of your ideas through to completion. The solution to the idea avalanche is to choose one idea to focus on, to the exclusion of all other ideas.

An idea in and of itself is basically worthless; this is true even of brilliant ideas. The idea needs to be coupled with execution in order to become valuable. Derek Silvers explains that ideas are just a multiplier of execution. He describes it as follows:

AWFUL IDEA = -1
WEAK IDEA = 1
SO-SO IDEA = 5
GOOD IDEA = 10
GREAT IDEA = 15
BRILLIANT IDEA = 20

NO EXECUTION = $1
WEAK EXECUTION = $1000
SO-SO- EXECUTION = $10,000
GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000
BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000

To create a business you need to multiply the value of the idea by the manner of its execution.

Keep an Idea Journal
Every time a new idea pops into your head, resist the urge to drop the idea you’re currently working on to pursue the new venture. Instead, create a system for storing all of your ideas so that you can act on them at a later date. This system can consist of having a notebook or moleskin in which you jot down ideas, creating a word document on your computer which you can easily open as new ideas emerge, or you can even write your ideas down on index cards and keep them in an index card file (as Maya does). You can also consider keeping your ideas in your swipe file, which I wrote about here and in a guest post published over at “Write to Done”.

Cultivate a Sense of Urgency – Change the World or Go Home
In order to turn your idea into reality you need to act from a sense of urgency. Feel the urgency to get things done, to make your idea take shape and become tangible. You can put off executing your ideas to another day, but that mentality will lead to endless procrastination. Instead of delaying the next task on your action plan for a couple of days, act as if it’s urgent, even if it isn’t. Put some pressure on yourself by making the decision to tackle the actions that need to be taken to make your idea a reality, now.

The desire to see your idea become reality must be so strong that you’re willing to make sacrifices of time and energy to make it happen. Unless you have a burning desire to see things through to completion, you will be tempted to quit. Hugh McLeod from the Gapingvoid explains that in 2006 he posted a cartoon on his blog of a blue monster which he designed with some of his friends who worked at Microsoft in mind.

The cartoon was meant to represent the culture that he had observed among Microsoft employees, a culture of “change the world or go home”. The idea of the blue monster took off, and soon lots of Microsoft employees had blue monster posters hanging in their office, were wearing blue monster t-shirts, or had a blue monster on the back of their business cards. Create a blue monster for yourself; something that symbolizes or represents your burning desire to execute your idea.

Create a Massive Action Plan

All projects can be accomplished by taking a series of small steps that build on one another. Create a list of everything you can think of that you could possibly do in order to turn your idea into reality. Keep asking yourself: “What else could I do?”, “And then what?”, “What’s the next step after that?”, and so on until you have a long list of actions you can start to take. Then look at each of the steps you wrote down and ask yourself if that step can be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Proceed to decide on an immediate next step and act on it. Every day chose three actions you can take to execute your idea, write them down on an index card or in your daily planner, and carry out those steps.

Become an Organization and Productivity Ninja
As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, your productivity and your level of organization are two of the elements that will determine whether your idea ever sees the light of day, or whether it languishes within the confines of your idea journal. Start collecting and applying organization and productivity tips as if your life depended on it. Here are two tidbits to get you started:

Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will expand in time and seeming complexity depending on the time you set aside for it. Go through each subtask on your action plan and estimate how long it’s going to take you to complete each one based on historical data—that is, the amount of time that it’s taken you to complete that activity in the past. If you’re tackling an activity for the first time, simply make the best estimate you can as to how long it will take you to complete it. Once you’ve determined a length of time for each subtask, keep an egg timer next to you to help you stick to the allotted time.

Identify Time Wasters
Time wasters are those “filler” activities that keep you busy but don’t really move you toward achieving your desired outcomes. They can include: checking your email every fifteen minutes, checking your blog’s visitor statistics once an hour, shuffling papers, doing things others could do, taking an excessively long time in preparation, and so on. Identify these activities and replace them with focused action that moves you toward achieving your goal.

Accountability
In order to execute your idea you need to find a method for holding yourself accountable. This could be making a public commitment on your blog, finding a mentor who tracks your progress, joining a support group where you all hold each other accountable for turning your ideas into reality, and so on.

You can even consider joining JourneyPage which is a goal support system. Basically, every day members log in and input their three most important outcomes for the day; your friends or your accountability partner can access the data that you input in order to help keep you accountable. In fact, you can even put money in an escrow account which is returned to you only if you meet your weekly goals.

Conclusion
The execution stage is a vital part of the creativity process. I hope that the six tips explained above will help you turn your ideas into action. Remember, ideas without action are worthless.

By Marelisa Fabrega.

Best,

Andy Rodie.

The 7 habits of highly successful people: Habit 1 by Marelisa.


Got this post from one of my favorite blogs I love to read, happy to share with my friends. Check out Marelisa’s blog at http://abundance-blog.marelisa-online.com/
Enjoy the post.

In his No. 1 bestseller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic approach for solving both personal and professional problems. The seeds for this book were planted in the mid-1970’s as Covey reviewed 200 years of success literature as part of a doctoral program. These are the seven habits:

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
The seven habits move us through three stages or paradigms:

1. Dependence: This is the paradigm under which we’re born, relying upon others to take care of us. Some people never completely move out of the dependence stage.

2. Independence: This is the paradigm under which we can make our own decisions and take care of ourselves. The first three habits that Covey presents focus on achieving self-mastery, that is, on moving from being dependent to being independent.

3. Interdependence: Once we’ve achieved independence we can go on to interdependence, which is the paradigm under which we cooperate with others to achieve something greater than we could achieve on our own. Habits 4, 5, and 6 are about achieving interdependence.

The seventh and last habit is one of renewal and continual improvement.

This post focuses on habit 1: be proactive.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Habit 1
Your life doesn’t just happen; it’s being created by you. Highly effective people choose how they want to feel and decide how they will act in every situation; they don’t simply react to circumstances or to what other people say or do. Covey explains that between a stimulus and a response there’s a gap–imagine pressing a “pause” button–and in that gap we can actively choose how we will respond to anything life throws at us.

Mindfulness
Being proactive is related to mindfulness: You need to be aware of yourself and of your surroundings so that you can act in ways that serve you well, instead of mindlessly allowing past programming, others, and outside circumstances to control your responses. Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine whether you’re living mindfully and are being proactive:

Do you question any beliefs you have which may be holding you back?
Do you blindly believe what others tell you, or do you go see for yourself?
Do you simply accept that this is the way in which things are done, or do you question whether there’s a better way to do things?
Are you willing to reassess the lens through which you look at the world?
See Yourself As a Creator
In addition, highly effective people see themselves as being creators of their lives, instead of identifying themselves as victims of external conditions. If they’re negatively impacted by an external event they focus on those things which are within their Circle of Influence –those things over which they have control–instead of worrying about things they can do nothing about.

David Emerald refers to this same principle of moving from a Victim Orientation to a Creator Orientation in “The Power of Ted”. As David explains, a Creator knows that he/she always has a choice, regardless of circumstances. At the very least, a person can choose their attitude in any given situation.

The Language of the Proactive Person
The mindset of a proactive person is “I am responsible for me, and I can choose.” The language used by a proactive person is the following:

Let’s look for alternatives.
What do I want to happen?
What baby steps can I take to begin moving toward what I want?
How did I either create this situation or allow it to happen?
How can I get the money so that I can launch this project?
I choose to . . .
I will . . .
Are You Proactive?
Here are some more questions you can ask yourself in order to test how proactive you are:

Do you take responsibility for your life, or do you blame other people or outside circumstances for what happens to you?
Where do you stand in the continuum between being highly reactive and being highly proactive?
Do you worry about conditions over which you have little or no control? Or do you focus your time and energy on those things which you can control?
Do you allow others to make choices or decisions for you?
Do you ask for what you want, or do you expect others to magically know what you need?
Do you take action to make things happen, or do you wait for others to act?
Are you waiting for someone’s permission before you act?
If you try to achieve something you want and you fail, do you give up, or do you start looking for a different approach?
Are you full of excuses which explain why you can’t accomplish this or that?
Ways to Expand Your Circle of Influence
There are many things you can do in order to expand your circle of influence. Here are five of them:

1. Go out and meet new people; grow your network. The more people you know who have a favorable impression of you, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to find someone who can pull some strings or put in a good word for you when you need it.

2. Educate yourself. For example, if you’re experiencing financial difficulties, read all you can on how to get out of debt. The more you know, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to come up with a solution to any problem you may be facing.

3. Try to turn a negative into a positive. Look for ways in which limitations can enhance your creativity. Problems can force you to look at a situation from a completely different angle, which can allow you to notice opportunities you would have missed otherwise. Scarcity can force you to focus your efforts on what is truly important.

4. Work on yourself instead of focusing on outside conditions. Focus on being instead of doing.

5. Create a diagram of all the resources that are available to you. This can include financial resources, skills, knowledge, family, friends, and anything else you can think of. Now ask yourself what are the most effective ways in which you can tap into each of these resources.

Conclusion
Covey explains that the first habit is the foundation for all the other habits. If you don’t take responsibility for yourself and for your actions, and if you’re not willing to take on the role of Creator, the other six habits make little sense. In future blog posts I’ll be elaborating on the other habits in Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Best,

Andy Rodie

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