Great ideas are easier to generate than they are to execute. When you’re visualizing an ideal solution — like a new project or a way to get more clients — the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. You dream big, and then break it down into manageable steps.
What happens when that vision gets stuck? What happens when you hit a roadblock that makes you feel you’re not ready to move forward?
I think it’s natural for us to think twice before “pulling the trigger” on a big idea. The danger is when concepts stall out on their way from ideation to actualization.
We talk ourselves out of moving forward. We insist we’re not ready. We think we can’t make dramatic changes – that the smaller decisions are “better” because they’re “safer.”
There’s a time for planning and analysis. There are occasions that give us pause to reconsider. And then, there are the pivotal moments where we have to close our eyes, trust our instincts and move.
“Is that a real poncho,
or is that a Sears Poncho?”
— “Camarillo Brillo” by Frank Zappa
My wife and I enjoy camping and we used to RV all the time. Many times while we were camping, we’d encounter rain and thunderstorms. Not a big deal inside of the camper – but it wasn’t fun having to run in-and-out during the rainfall. Who wants to spend the rest of the day in wet clothes?
My wonderful wife bought me a “real” windbreaker just for the camper. When you put it on correctly, your body is completely sealed off from the elements. This windbreaker is so awesome that you could literally run around in the pouring rain, come inside the camper, take off your coat and be bone dry.
For the windbreaker to keep you totally dry, you have to secure its hood tightly around your head. The hood has a guttered bill in the design, so it deflects the rain off your jacket and away from your face. While this can keep all of your exposed face dry, the hoodie would usually cover up some of my eyes and impair my vision. It’s even harder when you’re wearing glasses.
You could tilt your chin back, cast your eyes down and outward, and see exactly where you’re headed. But then your face gets soaked – which kind of defeats the purpose to the rainproof windbreaker.
It was pouring the other day. So, I wore the windbreaker while I went out to grab the mail. While I could still see the ground immediately in front of me, there wasn’t a clear visual path from my front door, to my mailbox, and back.
But I could picture my back door. I knew where my mailbox was. I knew that, even though I couldn’t literally see my path, I trusted my instincts. By viewing the trip through my mind’s eyes, I found my way, got my mail, and got back inside – all while staying dry.
It’s easy to find reasons to wait to do what you have to do. No one likes going out in bad weather – and it feels easy to put things off until a nicer day.
While that may feel convenient, it’s not a solution. In reality, it’s just as easy to make the adjustments you need, stay flexible, trust in your abilities and execute on your plans.
“‘Perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good enough.’
When your [product or] service is ‘good enough,’
Get it out, because cash flows when you start”
— Guy Kawasaki, Entrepreneur and Author
You need to be flexible to realize any project. Your best laid plans will have hiccups. Adapting and learning from these challenges is key to your personal and professional success.
When things deviate from plans, people get scared. It’s an honest and rational fear. How can I get this done while X is standing in my way? How will we ever solve Y when we don’t even have X? Will we ever make it to Z?
The problem isn’t what these variables are. The problem is when fear stands in the way of getting things done. When fear leads to over planning, delaying and finding reasons to never complete your project.
Deal with changes and challenges as they happen. Stay proactive and positive. Invest in the right tools. Build a strong professional support network. Wear a real poncho when the rain comes crashing down.
Paul Purdue is a principal at Attorney Computer Systems. He’s a self-proclaimed “infrastructure nerd.” Check out Paul’s growing library of legal technology articles and videos on Attorney Computer Systems’ web site.