From “To Do” to “Done”

Every great adventure begins with a great idea, but not every great idea becomes a great adventure.  Why is that?  If the idea was truly a great idea, then it should be able to overcome, or at least circumvent, any objections that arise before it.  So what do these great ideas fall prey to?  Are they so grandiose that one just doesn’t know where to begin?  Are they so larger-than-life that they overwhelm at every level?  How are these great ideas so easily tamed by some but not by others?

Planning; those who want their great ideas to grow into anything more than just another idea plan for it to happen.  Easier said than done, right? WRONG!  Planning is the easy step.  It takes a lot of thinking that won’t happen on its own – that’s where you come in.

First, you need to figure out what a successful great adventure would look like.  Then you imagine in reverse the process it would have taken to get from idea to adventure.  Keep asking the question “What did it need to get this far?” and try to get as many different answers as you can because a lot goes into every great idea at every step of the way!  Ask “Where would it have been before it was here if it didn’t have X?”  And X would be whatever the different answers were that you came up with in the last question.  Each place it was when it didn’t have X or Y or Z or anything else you came up with is just one more step along the way.  Keep asking both of those questions until the only place left for it to have been at is “Just another Great Idea waiting to be found.”

Now you have a Great Idea and outline of what needs to be done in order to take it all the way to Great Adventure.  There’s still a lot of work to be done, like figuring out how some of those steps were reasonably achieved.  Ready?  Repeat the above process until those overwhelming or absurd steps have been broken down into something more reasonable and manageable.  Hey, now your outline is really starting to take shape!  Not so scary anymore, now is it?

Motivation is never a problem, great ideas are exciting and great adventures are even more thrilling – that’s motivation enough.  But if you get stuck on a step, don’t hesitate to brainstorm solutions or bounce ideas off of someone who isn’t involved.  Usually, a fresh set of eyes can find some new choices or a new approach that maybe you haven’t yet considered.  And if your usual suspects are tapped out of ideas, go meet some new people and tap them for ideas.  It never hurts to make more friends and expand your personal network!

Now go plan your adventure and don’t forget to send a postcard!


Goals vs Wishes

There are several versions of this quote floating around and finding an original source ended being a lesson in futility but I like this version best. A goal without a plan is just a wish. If you want something but don’t have a plan to get it you are just wishing you had it, which is fine, but rarely gets you what you want. If you truly want to go after something come up with a plan. As you set your goals and plans use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to help you along.

  •  Specific – Being too general with your goals makes them harder to achieve. Make sure you break giant goals up into more specific goals.
  • Measurable – If it’s not measured it’s not managed. Measuring is the only way to be sure you are making progress.
  • Achievable – Do you have the resources to do it? If not you need to rethink your goal.
  • Relevant – Does it apply to you and your life? Is it part of your overall ambitions and needs?
  • Timely – Can it be done in a reasonable time frame. Longer-term goals are harder to accomplish, consider breaking the timeline down into smaller time frame goals.

There you have it. Out with the easily breakable New Years Resolution and in with the S.M.A.R.T. goals for a better year.

A goal without a plan is just a wish