Do you struggle to maintain interest in things?
- Social media marketing?
- New product ideas?
- A new business strategy?
If you do you’re not alone. In fact, I would say that most people feel this way at least some of the time.
It kind of gets back to mantra that ideas are a dime a dozen. But it’s the people that follow through that win. An idea won’t really get you anything.
In fact, if you sense that you’re working with someone that considers themselves “an idea person” I would avoid working with them. You don’t want ideas. You want results.
So what happens between the idea and the result?
Something happens where we lose interest and can’t finish?
How can you keep the interest and follow through until you see results?
Here are some ideas.
1. Think Through Ideas
The tendency with new ideas is to let our excitement run wild. We learn about something. The spark goes off in our brain and we’re excited. Even after thinking it through for a day we’re still excited.
But this is a critical juncture. Your expectations can get out of whack and you’re destined for failure.
You have to think through the idea. You have to figure out if you’re just in love with the potential result or if you’re excited about the work that will go into achieving the result.
I can sit and daydream all day about winning The Masters, but I don’t think I’m in love with the work that would be required to make it happen. The countless hours of practice. The blisters. The soreness. The thousands of bad golf shots I’d have to endure to build a good swing.
It’s okay to have ideas. It’s okay to get excited about ideas. It might even be okay to jump into new ideas, but you’re better off thinking things through to determine if the idea is really as good as you think and to see if you’re at all excited about the work.
2. Do Small Tests On The Best Ideas
Now let’s say that a few ideas make it through your idea testing. This is great!
But it might not be good to jump in fully.
Jim Collins wrote in Good To Great that the most successful companies in the world are always doing tests. They do this because they want to make sure that if the market changes that they potentially have something in the background that could bring the next wave of success.
The companies do small tests to see what ideas have potential. Then when an idea shows real effectiveness and the time is right they jump fully behind it.
Most of us do things backwards.
Social media is one example. Many people hear about Snapchat. They get excited about the marketing possibilities for their business. They dive fully in for a month. Then they burnout. They realize that they’ve forgotten about their other marketing efforts and now they’re not sure if Snapchat really is what they want to do.
Instead, commit some, but not all, effort to the new idea. And commit to it consistently for a good period of time. Do this with multiple ideas. Then when one presents itself as a really good, jump fully in.
3. Identify The Why
When you’re starting with a new idea, strategy or whatever try to think about why you’re doing it.
It’s like being in a relationship. You might reach a point where things are getting stale. You’re losing interest. But usually you can snap yourself back by remembering why you choose to be with that person.
You can do the same in business. When you have that idea, like social media marketing, think about why you are starting it. Document it. Then come back to it as you start to sense that you’re losing interest.
I think it’s natural for interest to ebb and flow over time. One little trick is to remember why you started it in the first place.
4. The Mirror
If execution is struggling avoid playing the blame game. Look in the mirror.
It’s easy to look around for places to pass the blame when things aren’t going as well as you planned. Your social media strategy isn’t working because the person you hired isn’t any good. The strategy isn’t working because you picked the wrong social network.
Look in the mirror first. Look at what you control in the situation. From here you can usually figure out the role you can play in seeing things through to the results you desire.
5. The Cut Strategy
Andrew Brandt is a former NFL agent and Vice President for the Green Bay Packers. He was in charge of player finances. Contracts. Things like that.
He would sit in during the NFL draft and see scouts get excited about available players. Brandt said he tried to play Devil’s Advocate with the scouts.
A scout would speak up saying that they should select a certain player. Brandt would ask, “If we draft this player who does it push off the roster?”
It’s not an easy question, but that was the point.
We’re actually more likely to add too many things to our lives. Are you busy? Chances are you’ve fallen into this trap.
NFL teams can’t add more than 53 players to their active roster. So when Brandt would ask his question it was very valid. It made the scouts think if they really loved the new player enough to cut another player.
You can do the same with your new ideas.
Ask yourself what you’ll have to cut in order to work on this new idea.
Once you are excited enough to cut something you’ll actually have the time to work on the new idea and you’ll be more likely to see it through to completion.
6. Avoid “The New Loop”
Our brains are wired to be stimulated. Our smartphones take advantage of that fact.
New ideas are stimulating. We can fall into the euphoria of jumping ahead many steps in the idea. We think about social media marketing and in a few moments we’re already imagining hundreds of thousands of followers. All kinds of engagement and so on.
Then we begin and after few months we have dozens, no thousands, of followers. It’s a bit boring. We lose interest.
Then a new idea comes along… Email Marketing!
Great, we’ll start it up and soon we’ll have thousands of subscribers and great open rates. And we can offer all this great content to really engage them…
It’s easy to fall into this loop. When you notice it happening go back to the previous tips to cut yourself off and assess what you need to do going forward.
Ideas are great. They bring all kinds of initial interest. The key in business and in life is maintaining interest through to the point of seeing results. If you see yourself stuck in the loop try the tips above to make yourself more likely to finish things while maintaining interest in them.