Once upon a time, there was a world where good ideas excelled. “Creative” people would sit around and come up with ideas that would spread easily and fluently. When you had a good idea, it would catch someone’s attention and, before you knew it, success followed. It was a fairy tale world where “bubbles” and “technology” ruled and being first was all that mattered.

The hey day for good ideas has passed.

Today things are very different. The volume of our lives is louder than ever. Social media is everywhere. Everyone is writing a book or blogging. Freelancers are the new sales people and the economy of creativity has changed drastically. No longer will a good idea on its own breed success. The equation has changed.

A million dollar idea without a plan, execution, and hard work is not worth a dollar. However, a dollar idea with a plan, execution, and hard work exercised a million times can create a million dollars.

This is even true in our churches or organizations. So often we have an idea and we rush it into action before we’ve given it the time or space to mature and ripen into something that’s ready to be consumed. As a community of creative people, we love to be first and we love new things. A valuable lesson for us is the discipline of pausing to make sure we’re giving these amazing ideas every ounce of opportunity they deserve.

So what do we do?

  • Vet the Idea – It will always start with the idea. If the idea isn’t strong enough, there’s no way to succeed. We have to be brave enough to vet our ideas. Seek honest, unbiased feedback. A few people should love your idea and a few people better hate it. Don’t play to the middle. Learn from the haters. Listen closely to what they’re saying. Evaluate their “hate” and see if there’s validity in what they’re saying. The hate they spit may just be what you need to be successful. Also, balance the love. Look for honesty, not fans.
  • Create a plan – How do we get this idea to life? What will it take? Who needs to be involved? What questions do we need to ask that we’ve avoided? Who is the end user? What do they want? How do we get this to them? How valuable is this to them? How do we talk to them? The list goes on and on, but answering these questions changes the approach to how we share our ideas and, ultimately, how successful they will be.
  • Make the plan actionable and fit on a calendar – Every idea needs action. When making a plan, we have to create measurable steps for success. Create a calendar. Schedule everything. Action steps on a calendar create accountability for success. Without metrics, data, and actionable quantitative steps, our ideas will never move from dreams to reality.
  • Work the plan – Really. Work it. Work every detail you put in the plan. Don’t cut corners. Don’t get discouraged. Never give up. Be persistent and filled with passion. Show up every day like it’s our first day on the job. The fairy tale of overnight success is actually created through hours and hours of painful, sweaty, dirty WORK.
  • Respond don’t react – Never react. Always respond. Reactions are littered with emotions. Responses are built on data, strategy, and intuition. Be willing to pause. Look at the big picture. As artists, this can often be the hardest for us. Learning to be balanced in decision making helps avoid costly decisions.
  • Scale with wisdom – Patience is the lost art of an idea. In our microwavable society, everyone wants results in minutes that take years to come by. Scaling too fast can cost you everything, as can scaling too slow. Be wise. Pray. Seek counsel.
  • Repeat – Now do it again, and again, and again.

So give your ideas a chance. We need them and they can be great. Without them the status quo is going to destroy creativity for ever…and who wants that?

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