Definitions and Limitations

Most projects go through two phases: creation and production. In some cases this might be called ideas and follow through. These are two totally separate and distinct functions.

Both functions are imperative, but they are far from interchangeable and should not be intermingled if you are going to be maximizing your potential.

My great friend Robert Schuller often says, “Never get the ‘how are you going to do it’ phase mixed up in the ‘what are you going to do’ phase.” What this means is that we should never limit what we are going to do based on the things we know how to do.

If you decide to travel from your hometown to a distant city, there are a myriad of variables that can impact your trip that cannot be anticipated. You simply can’t wait ’til all the lights are green before you leave home.

Your flight may be delayed, there may be detours along the highway, or you can experience car trouble and other unforeseen challenges.

In order for you to arrive at your destination, you must first establish your destination and then begin your journey. While planning is important, some of the variables must be dealt with while you’re on the move.

In my organization, there are idea people and then there are logistical people. They are both valuable within their own time and place; however, if you get the logistical people involved while you’re in the idea stage, they will begin anticipating problems and formulating contingencies for things you are only considering. This will limit your ideas and the scope of your potential greatly.

On the other hand, if you simply turn the idea people loose, they will come up with endless big-picture thoughts that may not be practical or even do-able. You really need a two- phased approach.

First, you decide what you are going to do, considering elements such as: Is it good? Is it right? Is it beneficial? Is it profitable? And does it line up with our mission?

Then you move to the second phase and deal with questions such as: What will it cost? How will it impact what we are doing now? What are all of the anticipated challenges? How will we deal with unforeseen contingencies? And many others.

I have met many would-be authors who have a title in mind, and they are trying to write a book to fit their title. Labels are important once you establish a product or service, but be careful not to limit something by virtue of its definition or title.

As you go through your day today, imagine the possibilities; then consider the practicalities.

Today’s the day!

by Jim Stovall