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


What’s Your Choice?

ChoiceEverything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl

I have used this quote many times to illustrate the power we have to make choices. Having read the book Man’s Search for Meaning as a college student for my Psychology class, I recently listened to the audio version. I appreciated it so much more this time and I became quite emotional as I heard those words I’d often repeated. In context, they are even more powerful.

Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, writes with incredible eloquence about how he and others rose above despair, enduring daily atrocities and indignities. He experienced first hand just how much can be taken away from a human. That is, all but his power to choose.

Sometimes we take choice for granted and often, we narrowly define the elements where choice is available to us.

Or, we convince ourselves “I have no choice.” There is always a choice.

You can choose your attitude, your behavior, your emotions, your beliefs and your response to a particular set of circumstances. You can choose where to focus your attention and your energy. And, you can even choose your thoughts!

Think about it: before you actually do anything, it all starts with a thought or an idea. Your thoughts turn into action. So whenever it makes sense to do things differently, it also means you need to think differently. This is why, for me, any workshop or seminar or leadership retreat I facilitate, always starts with mindset. Once you know how to think about something, the doing becomes much easier.

The power of your thoughts to control your destiny is profound. To me, this is so important, I wrote a book about it. Becoming Deliberate: Changing The Game of Leadership From the Inside Out is available now from your favorite online retailer and soon in bookstores nationwide.

As you go about your life in the next week, think about this: In what area of your life right now do you need to be more deliberate about your choices?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.