Are you an ideas person? You’re not alone — people tell me about their great ideas all the time. Ideas for businesses, ideas for books, ideas for fun-filled weekends and adventures, and ideas that, if executed, could completely change their lives. Sadly, most of these ideas never materialize because there is always a pile of excuses to be made. That’s a real shame because ideas are worthless if they are not backed up with action.
No Regrets: It’s also worth considering that an idea not acted upon may one day turn into a regret. Who wants regrets? Not me.
Time, Money and Fear
The three most common excuses I hear for ideas never materializing are time, money and fear. Sometimes, a combination of all three excuses is used to guarantee that nothing will ever happen. In most cases these “fears” are in fact self-imposed roadblocks that can be successfully navigated if you really want something to happen.
Let’s break these fears down and see if we cannot push them to the side.
Everybody has 24 hours in a day. Some people are just more productive with their allotted time than others. If you really want things to happen, you need to sacrifice all those non-productive hours spent watching Netflix, hanging out at the bar after work (talking about your ideas) or just killing time. It might be a cliché, but the early bird really does catch the worm. Set your alarm clock a little earlier and dedicate those extra hours to making your ideas a reality. Even if you can only find a single hour per day — you can still make something happen. It might take a little longer than you would like, but at least you’ll be moving in the right direction.
Personal Testimony: I travel a lot for business. Travelling eats up a lot of time, and the hours I spend on trains, on planes and in hotels could very easily be wasted. Instead, I put this time to good use. I wrote my first book almost exclusively in these periods of “dead time” while travelling.
I get it. We’ve all got bills to pay, and certain things take priority over chasing “dreams” — but, largely thanks to the Internet, it is possible to scale many projects to suit any budget. If you want to set up a retail business, sites like eBay, Amazon and Etsy enable you to dip your toe in the water with very little risk and grow organically. If you aspire to be a writer, test readers’ reactions first with a handful of blog posts. If you want to travel the world, make some “sacrifices” in your weekly spending and start saving. Seriously, how much money are you spending on barista-style coffees, empty calorie snacks and food truck meals? Pack your own lunch, cancel unnecessary subscriptions (unwatched TV packages, unused gym memberships, etc.) and see how much more money you have to play around with at the end of each month.
Personal Testimony: As a family man, I have many responsibilities that take priority over my own. For example, my kids’ dance lessons take priority over my own hobby of cycling. One of the wonderful things about cycling is that it can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. I ride a reasonable bike and have fairly decent kit but would never let the premium costs of top-end equipment stop me from pursuing my hobby. For me, good enough is good enough. Sure, I’d like to spend a little more at times — but I’m not sure spending a load more money would improve the joy of my cycle commute to work and school with my seven-year-old daughter or long solo treks out into the country.
OK, let’s get this straight: You have nothing to fear but fear itself. Stop worrying about your friends and family’s reactions about you pursuing your dreams. The chances are, if they don’t support you, they are just projecting their own fears. Ask yourself: What’s the worst that can happen? You start a business and don’t find any customers — you’ll just have to try something else or get a job. You write a book and nobody reads it — even JK Rolling faced rejection early on in her career. You travel the world and you get homesick and miss your friends — services like Skype and FaceTime mean you can take them with you.
Personal Testimony: I can be a terrible procrastinator, and in those moments when I overthink ideas, I often conjure up all sorts of reasons (fears) for not doing something. I find making quick decisions helps push these doubts to the back of my mind and ensures I don’t get too lazy.
What’s stopping you from turning your ideas into reality? Share your comments below: