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Where to start?

When you have an idea, even 10,000 per second, you sometimes wonder where to start. Especially if the idea seems to be THE BIG BEST ONE. We interviewed people, we found the problem to answer. And now, we want to start testing. Full of hope and excitement at the idea of creating something new, you find yourself stopped in full swing: but how to make it happen, how can I bring this brilliant idea to life?

Here are some tips to help you take the first step and move forward.

Magic formula 1: “Clarity!”

This is one of the steps that is not followed enough. And yet, it can change everything and save you many hours later.

Step 1: we start by clarifying the vision of what we want to create

  • What need will this idea meet?
  • Why do they need it?
  • What drives me to realize this idea?
  • What differentiates me from other proposed solutions (if any)?
  • Who is the solution intended for in the first place?
  • What does it look like in my “ideal” vision?
  • How will this solution be produced?

Step 2: we move on to the objectives

  • What are the goals that I want to achieve, for me? For my clients?
  • For each objective, what are the quantifiable results I want to obtain by realizing this idea?
  • How can I make these results measurable, to ensure that I am progressing?

It doesn’t have to be a very cumbersome process: it’s up to you to find what works for you and your own way of working.

For example, Olie, the fairy from “Miss Agile” wants to create a new tool to follow its projects. She noted as a goal to have an up-to-date and prioritized list of all the actions to be taken for a project.

How will she go about measuring progress towards this goal?

The first thing she will do is define what an up-to-date and prioritized list looks like: all items are listed, by project, by priority and by status.

The result she expects is a list of tasks, including some required information: project, priority, status, etc. It is a single unit (the complete list), which she wishes to have completed within 1 month. It’s a realistic and achievable result, even if it challenges her a little because she doesn’t yet know how she’s going to structure it all.

It has an objective and an associated result, which can be measured (done / not done) and which has an end date.

For each objective, she will identify 3 to 5 numerical results, which she can follow to motivate herself and move forward.

Remember that nothing is set in stone (especially when innovating). You have the right to adjust, add and remove along the way.

We can now start detailing the outlines of a plan. Ready to push your brain further?

Magic formula 2: “FLOW of ideas”

Have you clarified what will serve as your base? I offer you another tool that will help you take action.

Step 1: we generate the flow

Take one sheet of paper per goal you are going to achieve. You can also recall the key results that you have defined.

Get in a quiet environment, remove all distractions, notifications, interruptions. Do this exercise preferably at a time when you have energy.

On each sheet, so for each objective, ask yourself (you can write the question on the sheet to help you get started): what are the actions, even the smallest ones, that I think I need to do to achieve this result / this objective ?

Write down everything that comes to you. Don’t worry about how or if you can do it. The key is not to judge yourself, so as not to censor yourself. Some things seem infeasible or far-fetched to you? Note everything anyway.

If you get stuck at some point, here are some questions you can use to get you started:

  • What else have I not thought of yet?
  • what would {find someone who inspires you, or who has already done something similar} do to achieve this goal?

It is important to write down all your ideas because it can also bring you others that are related to them.

You may need to do the exercise several times. Do not hesitate to take breaks and come back to the exercise when it feels right for you.

Step 2: sort and sequence

Once you have all your ideas listed, sort them out:

  • group together similar or related ideas
  • for those that seem far-fetched or impractical, ask yourself: is it really that impossible? what is holding me back from trying? If you feel limiting thoughts, challenge them. Not all ideas may be good, but if you don’t try, you won’t be able to know for real.

Once this sorting is done, identify the dependencies between the actions. If there are, write them down in a way that works for you.

Finally, estimate how much time you want to spend on each task and when, it seems most appropriate to you. If that’s something that works for you, put those actions in a timeline, or use whatever method works for you to know when to do what.

As you progress, do not hesitate to come back to your list and complete it. Often actions unfold as you do things.

You are ready to use the last magic formula.

Magic formula 3: “Ready? Go!”

It is not enough to have a vision, clear objectives, and actions listed – even them being added to a calendar. You still have to do them. And sometimes, despite all that, we just don’t take action.

This last magic formula will give you some keys to get you started. Here are several tactics to try:

  • Start small. Super small even, if necessary.
  • Choose an action you are comfortable with.
  • Come back to your vision: why are you doing this? What motivates you ?
  • Follow your rhythm: plan to do the actions when you know that you generally have the most energy.
  • Remove all distractions: put your phone in airplane mode, isolate yourself.
  • If you feel negative emotions, such as doubt, confusion, fear, take the time to write down everything that comes to mind on a piece of paper. Challenge your negative thoughts:
    • are they useful for you?
    • What would someone else, who succeeded, think in this situation?
    • If you put yourself in the shoes of your future successful self, what do you think of this situation, with some step back?
    • When you feel better, start. The more you practice questioning negative thoughts, the easier it will become over time.
  • If you feel negative emotions, and you feel that working on the thoughts will not work, agree to feel the feeling. Put yourself as an observer and describe the sensation in your body:
    • Label the feeling?
    • Where is the feeling located in your body?
    • What is it like ?
    • Use simple adjectives.
    • Feeling negative feelings, when we do new things or go out of our comfort zone, is perfectly normal. It is a mechanism of our primary brain to protect us from danger. In reality, you are perfectly safe.
    • Take a deep breath and tell yourself “I am safe, here and now”.

By practicing these three magic formulas regularly, you will be able to start and progress much more effectively on your projects. The most important? To move forward!

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