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Why planning isn’t always such a great idea

Planning or at least, over planning, can become the cause of failure. Failure to execute.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you’re reading a great book and something just leaps out from the page and connects with you? Its like the author is literally writing to you. Well I had one of those moments a few years ago when reading “Rework” by David Hansson & Jason Fried. The sentence was “Inspiration is perishable”. Three words that literally slapped me across the face.

Always act when inspiration strikes you, don’t put off and plan the idea to death. As sure as anything by the time you give yourself the green light, the idea is unlikely to have survived.

As I’ve already said, I love to plan. That doesn’t just mean I’m a fan of flow charts and spreadsheets.(which I confess I am) it really means I love the creation process that comes with new ideas. Theres something very magical that happens when a new idea forms in your mind. You feel energised, the conversation comes alive, you become intensely focussed. The experience is incredibly addictive, and not always positive, which is something I hope to write about in the future.

Its at this moment, when its most damaging to be around people with an overly analytical mindset. The true “planners” of the world. I think we all know the type. The ones who’ll bombard a new idea continually with questions. At the exact point in time where you don’t have all the answers. Each direct hit will dent your enthusiasm a little, over and over adding to your self doubt. Until you reach a point where you start to think its simply not worth the risk or effort to push things through.

Think of executing on your new idea in terms of a traffic signal. The first light is Red, and is the place at which we have little or no information available to make a decision on moving forward. The second light is Amber, and its the point in which we have at least some information on taking things further. That brings us to the Green light, a point in which we have perfect information, and all our questions are answered. Guess what? In most cases we never reach a place where we know all the answers. Be warned, I’ve yet to meet a planner who recommended moving forward on amber.

So don’t let the green light syndrome get hold of your plans. The time is never completely right to do something. Taking action is what really matters most. Its nearly all in the execution and not the ideas themselves.

Trust your own judgement. Afterall its your brain that created that initial inspiration. The truth is, not all ideas work out, but its the process of creating ideas and most importantly pursuing them to their natural conclusion that brings value and meaning to our lives.

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