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Starting Something New

May 11 2016

I spoke to a friend the other day who effectively told me they wished they could create, but could never get over the line with any ideas. Sound familiar to anyone else?

They were hamstrung by their 9-5 and felt frustrated watching others get things going while they seemed stuck in neutral.

I identified here, as I’ve often found myself in the same space. It can be hard going trying to bridge the gap between what’s possible and what’s available.

But that gap is not certainly not ultimately controlled by any external influence.

“You’re not a result of your circumstance, you’re a result of your decisions.” – Stephen Covey.

I’m never one for trite advice (‘just decide and it will all magically happen!’), so let me break down the three (broad) skills you’ll need to start something new. This could be an area within your vocation, an entrepeneurial idea you’ve had, a goal relating to your health or getting a relationship back on track.

#1 An ability to dream.

You need to develop a penchant for what’s not there yet. IMAGINATIØN is the key to any real innovation. Look at what’s not being done (or not being done well), and dream up a solution or preferred destination. If your dreams look too much like what’s already being done – change them. Develop new ones. Hold them lightly and move quickly to grab new ideas. You need to be proactive and almost aggressive in developing this side of you. It won’t grow by omission.

#2 An eye to see.

This is the next layer. Unrelated to the ability to dream wildly and outlandishly, this is where you are working on practical applications. It’s one thing to know what you want, but it’s another thing altogether to do the hard work in getting there. This is where you figure who to work with, time frames, and next steps. This is where you make the plan. A lot of people get bogged down here and can’t see a path. Break it into small steps and take the first one. Ask for help if need be.

#3 A mind for work.

Simply put, a failure to execute shows a failure to care. If you care deeply about something, you’ll give it physical opportunity and attention. This is where your plans find space in your diary. This is where your talk turns into action and you pick up the tools. This is the part where you shift from concept to concrete.

Each of these three layers are critical to any leadership or creative endeavour.

If you lack one, you will have your legs cut out from under you – and be either a faraway dreamer (all dream, no work) or a cultural troglodyte (all work but no real dream to attach it to).

If you’re lacking in one, bring people around you who can help.

If you’re waiting for an idea to strike, or for the time to be right, I can tell you now that is very unlikely to fall in your lap. Instead, knuckle down to the next stage. If your goal is sound, you’ll find a way to see it through.

And at that point? Well congratulations, you’re officially a creator.

Whereupon you head back to step one.

How about you? Have you identified these sets in your own creative journey? What’s been the result?