6 Mistakes People Make When They Go From Idea to Reality

Before you take your passions and pursuits to the next level make sure you avoid these six pitfalls.
6 Mistakes People Make When They Go From Idea to Reality
Image credit: Thomas Barwick | Getty Images
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In my last blog, I argued that everyone must embrace the entrepreneurial spirit as an essential strategy for cultivating growth and opportunity. I then focused on six things you must actively do in order to convert ideas into reality and as an essential step to developing an innovative mindset or what I call an innovation mentality.

After I wrote the blog, however, I listened to my friend talk about a book he was reading about a business that has one of the highest failure rates in the world: restaurants. In The New Restaurant Entrepreneur, Kep Sweeney argues one of the reasons restaurants fail is they serve food based only on the need of the market not the owner’s passion for that food (say, demand for Chinese food in town but the owner can’t stand Chinese food).

That restaurant might achieve modest success, but what does it mean? How long would you be able to sustain that reality if you couldn’t stand being around the reality. Eventually, the lack of authenticity, founded on a lack of passion for the pursuit, dooms you – and perhaps literally makes you sick!

This discussion led me to lay out a follow-up to my last post with six things you must actively not do when turning your ideas into reality.

1. Not Be Passionate With Your Pursuit

The pursuit of excellence requires you to unleash your passion. When you put your passion into everything you do, it gives you the power to become a potent pioneer. Your passionate pursuit of converting your idea into a reality will open new doors to endless possibilities. Your ability to remain passionate about what you stand for is the ultimate enabler for the success of your idea. If you can’t stand the sight of your idea’s equivalent of lo mien that will not only be difficult but any success will be far less “delicious” than it should be.

2. Lack Purpose

Simon Sinek calls this your “why”: Your intentions for your idea must have purpose and meaning. If not, your probability to quit along the way will increase. It will also increase the likelihood of you psyching yourself out with unnecessary excuses. Purpose fuels your passion and makes your journey less lonely. Perhaps this explains why family-controlled firms outperform their public peers by 6% on company market value.

3. Fail to Build Momentum

Building momentum is critically important to convert your idea into a reality – and you must never mistake revenue for momentum. The mighty fall pretty quickly these days without constantly adapting. Carefully identify all of your resources and build upon them via relationships, networking, and sharing of resources to expand the opportunities. Stay focused, stick to your plan, eliminate distractions and neutralize the noise. Step back and understand how the dots connect. Remember to manage your time wisely and never get overly excited about new opportunities that stem from your original idea.

4. Fail to Make Your Idea Better

I’m not saying you should let the perfect get in the way of the good, but just like the best time to look for a job is when you have one, the best time to adapt is when you have the success to build on. Never grow complacent about success. You can always expand upon your idea and make it better. This is what Steve Jobs did with Apple. This is what Elon Musk does with Tesla and Marc Benioff at Salesforce. 

5. See Work/Life Balance as a Myth

No matter how smart, passionate or focused you work, without balance you are susceptible to burnout. Mind, body, and soul must be properly aligned. Work/life balance may be difficult but it’s impossible without dedication to each in full. When you are at work, be at work. But when you are in “life” mode, unplug and be all in too. The result will help you keep things in perspective during the inevitable long nights ahead. Don’t overwhelm your mind; give yourself some breathing room and allow your creativity to recharge and expand.

6. Fail to Leave a Legacy

Let’s say you assumed the responsibilities associated with the all the steps in these last two blogs and have been successful. Your original idea was born and its impact has morphed into multiple areas that you would have never thought possible. You have “earned your serendipity” and the opportunities you have created for yourself and others have been momentous. The success of your idea is now something more significant and it is up to you to make sure its legacy remains sustainable. Once you give your idea its life, it is your responsibility that its impact stays alive forever.

So, are you ready to own this and everything that came before to make your idea a reality and develop your innovation mentality mindset? If you have the will to unleash your passionate pursuits and are ready to believe in yourself, the possibilities are truly endless.

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