5 Steps to Turn Your Thoughts & Ideas Into Action


Not every thought or idea you have is worthy of implementing.

You think thousands of thoughts every day, and many of them are the same thoughts over and over again.  And then sometimes, you have what we think is a brilliant idea and maybe you dream about acting on it.  Or, maybe you do act on it and later, you regret having done so.

What if you had a simple system for evaluating your ideas or thoughts to determine whether they are worth pursuing?

I developed The Simple 5-Step Processä to help myself with this and I found it works well, despite it’s simplicity—or maybe because of it.  Then I shared it with others and they found it helpful too.

It works best when you schedule some quiet time to think and reflect and when you do more thinking and re-thinking in between each of the steps.  That part may seem obvious, but I actually had to figure that out, so I decided to be explicit about it.

Step One:  Write it Down.  There are at least three great benefits to this step. Writing

  • helps clarify your thinking
  • allows you to circle back later to see whether or not your thinking has changed
  • releases clutter in your mind

Step Two:  Share it.  Sharing your thought with someone else enables even more clarity; so does hearing how it sounds outside your own head.  And, if the other person asks questions to better understand your thought, you will develop your thought even further.

Step Three:  Test it.  Think of this step as “trying on” the thought, acting as if the thought were true or already in place, and seeing how that feels.  As an example, when you think about where you want to go on vacation next, imagine yourself in that place and decide whether you feel happy there, enjoy the environment, and are excited about what you can do there—or not.

Step Four:  Get feedback.  By sharing and testing your idea—and being open to the reactions of others or your own reaction, you can use this feedback to strengthen or improve on your thought.  The trick here is to be open rather than defensive, so that you can make it better.

Step Five:  Implement.  Once you’ve written it, shared it, tested it and used the feedback, your new and improved thought is ready for action.  If you have been thoughtful about the process, you will actually be more likely to get the outcome or result you really wanted.

This process can be used very effectively for solving problems, for evaluating opportunities, or for creating important changes in your life.   In any case, being more thoughtful and deliberate will lead to better decisions.

This article is based on a Chapter in my book, Becoming Deliberate:  Changing the Game of Leadership from the Inside Out.  If you want to elevate your leadership thinking, I encourage you to read this book.

Whether or not you do read my book, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the simple 5-step process.  Share an example of how you’ve used it.  One of my readers used it to help prepare a difficult conversation with a service provider that wasn’t keeping his promise—and she was so pleased with the result!

#becomingdeliberate #deliberateleader #thinking