How to Make Big Ideas Happen
Photo Credit: Massimiliano Giani via Compfight
A few months ago I organized a meetup here in Southern California where a few of us got together in Huntington beach for a day of surf and sun. Bloggers like Justin Miller, Amy Clover, Dyana Valentine and Jodi Sagorin all showed up. We had lunch and just spent an absolutely beautiful day at the beach, eating, drinking and chatting. What I realized was that I had planted the seed for a much bigger idea: surf and business retreats held in different locations around the world (something I’ve been talking about on twitter, and in a few other places). But it got me thinking about how to make big ideas happen.
Start by Planting Seeds
I’ve realized that any big idea starts with planting the seeds. This usually is as simple as taking the first step towards a big idea.
- It could mean making a few phone calls.
- It could mean doing some research online
- It could mean creating a high level plan
All you have to do is lay the first brick. Just be sure you remember not to dig up the seeds if you want to see the fruits of your labor.
Execute a Smaller Version of a Big Idea
I didn’t even realize it, but our simple beach day get together was a much smaller version of a bigger idea. Even though I agree with Christian Lander and think camping is for white people, I actually suggested that maybe the next version of our beach day we do a camping trip to San Clemente. It’s rare you’ll see Indian people camping.
The nice thing about executing a smaller version of a bigger idea is that it’s fairly low risk. It’s a bit like making what Peter Sims calls Little Bets. Here are some characteristics to considering when you execute a smaller version of your big idea:
- It doesn’t cost much money
- It doesn’t take much time
- It’s fairly easy to execute
- The results won’t make or break you
Many people have seen the power of this in their own efforts.
- Beth Hayden wrote a blog post on Copyblogger, which eventually resulted in a book deal to write Pinfluence
- BlogcastFM which now has a global audience started as a weekly blog post on the SKool of Life
- Hundreds of people started blogging which eventually lead to careers as authors, speakers, and much more.
- Chris Guillebeau’s unconventional book tour was the seed for the world domination summit.
Learn from the Results
When you execute a smaller version of a bigger idea you’ll have a great opportunity to learn from the results. Figure out what worked. Figure out what didn’t and incorporate that into next version of your big idea.
Experiment and Iterate
I’ve started to view my life as somewhat of a human potential laboratory. That means I’m continually in experimentation mode. I’m always testing out new ideas. You can plan things until you’re blue in the face but until you have some sort of concrete result from an action, your ideas aren’t worth much. To make a big idea happen you have to continually experiment and iterate.
Make a Long Term Commitment
In my conversation with Jonathan Fields, he compared two types of problem solving: analytical and insight based. Big ideas are often the byproduct of insight based thinking. But flashes of insight tend to occur when you’ve been working on something forever. As I’ve said before, when you’re on the verge of a breakdown, you’re usually around the corner from a breakthrough. To make a big idea happen you have to be in it for the long haul.
Many big ideas start small and grow. Over the next few days I’d like to give you some homework (it’s not required like everything here in the Skool of Life):
- Figure Out Your Big Idea
- Take the First Step
- Execute a Small Version of It
- Determine What it Will Take to Make the Big Idea Happen
Have you made a big idea happen? Tell us how how you did it in the comments.
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