27 Jul From Dream to Reality: How to Successfully Launch Your Ideas, Part Five
Thank you for being here as we explore the final stage of a project: Breakthrough. Looking at the conditions that must be met at the Stability Stage is essential before you can think about the Breakthrough Stage. In other words: your project must be firmly situated in the Stability Stage.
The Stability Stage is an exciting milestone. However, it also demands vigilance and consistency. You must have a way to evaluate if you’re doing what you promised. If not, everything will go back to the Liftoff Stage! Back to the grind of bringing ten times your available energy to produce one unit of results. I know that you know what I’m talking about!
Stage Five is the opportunity to take your project to the next level. In business, this stage might involve a new market for your products or a new way to deliver existing services.
The Breakthrough Stage is where you envision what that next level might look like. It starts with something like the following:
Joe: When my business stabilized, I looked around for another project. I wanted to do something new. I started questioning whether I wanted to have this diner I owned. I had the experience that something was missing. Then I hit upon the idea of turning this into a franchise.
All of a sudden, I was nervous. I’d have to learn a whole new set of skills to enter the franchise business. I didn’t even know if I wanted to ‘let go’ of the business, letting other people run it. But I went and learned, and today I have three franchises doing well! I’m at a whole new level of operating. It’s been a breakthrough that’s changed my life. I’m making even more money and, to tell the truth, I’m enjoying myself a lot more!
For Joe, everything was going well. Nothing wrong. He could run the business with his eyes closed. But he was bored.
At the Stability Stage, our natural human drive to expand kicks in. What do I mean? Look at it this way:
- It’s part of the human condition that we always want to advance. We all want to know we’re growing, learning, and opening ourselves up to new experiences.
- When things are going well, and we don’t have any significant problems to deal with, this is the time that we want to progress to the next level.
- If we don’t go forward, we risk getting cranky or bored with our life.
- However, going forward creates a dilemma: we may be asked to give up old, well-established ways of doing things.
Take Sally, for example:
Sally: I love to run! Three years ago, I was running in 10k races. I was doing well. I could go to the levee by the river and run 5k out and 5k back. I had my music on my cell phone. I had earphones to listen to my favorite numbers while I ran, sometimes along with the music tempo.
One day it occurred to me that this routine was getting boring.
I decided to train for a marathon. But this put me in an exciting and uncomfortable place. I’d have to move my schedule around to create enough lesson time. So, I went to the store where I bought my running shoes and signed up for their running club. They had coaches ready to show us how to train for a marathon without injuring ourselves. I was happy I was there. My first marathon went off without a hitch. Then I looked for marathons around the world. And this decision had me change jobs to accommodate the training and traveling. In essence, my whole life has changed out of that one decision to run marathons. That was a real breakthrough for me!
If you want a business or personal project breakthrough, you must be willing to “let go” of your old ways of doing things. The franchise area was new for Joe. He felt confused at first about how to proceed. Sally assessed what was important to her and made the changes necessary to continue with her project of running international marathons. To this date, she has medals from all over the world, which she proudly displays on the mantle of her fireplace.
One mark of people who are successful is that they are willing and able to tolerate the experience of moving outside of their “comfort zone” to expand and grow. This is true for artists, authors, entrepreneurs, ministers, doctors, and anyone else interested in developing themselves or their services.
Once you have successfully completed the preceding stages and not before, your project or business may break through to previously closed areas by “standing on the shoulders” of the work you’ve done previously.
You probably already know what happens once you’re willing to have a breakthrough. Whatever it is, after Stage Five, your new project takes you to Stage One, Creation. You begin again to take this new idea into physical reality by following all of the steps you adopted previously. From this vantage point, you can easily see the ongoing circle from Creation, to Liftoff, to Momentum, to Stability, and finally to Breakthrough again, which takes you back to Creation.
If you step back for a moment, you might see that this is how life, in general, unfolds. It’s a never ending circle.
Life becomes more manageable when you know where you are with your project. There’s a basis for thoughtful evaluation, whether your project is starting a business, running a marathon, or building a house. The five stages of a project also serve as a guide that allows you to prepare for what’s on the road ahead as you bring your great ideas into physical reality with clarity, focus, ease, and grace.
Finally, review the Five Stages of a Project Checklist again.
Five Stages of a Project Checklist
In order for you to go from one stage of a project to another, you must successfully complete the items from the previous stage. Failure to do so may hamper your progress. If you have continued difficulty at one stage, check the previous stage to see if some items remain incomplete. Complete them and you may find that your energy is fully restored and the project continues to move forward.
Stage One: Creation
- Brainstorming: Don’t leave any ideas out
- Get resources together, make contacts, network, build supportive relationships
- Clear away barriers to getting what you want, such as any incomplete business
- Make a clear goal and link it to an intention (i.e., “To be a successful entrepreneur”)
- Get alignment from significant others on your vision
- Create time and accurate scheduling; begin the project
- Secure the services of a coach and/or consultant
Stage Two: Lift-Off
- Target results clearly
- Work out how to get results in doable increments
- Make small and consistent promises for authentic action
- Focus all activity on getting results: do not be distracted by other “brilliant” ideas.
- Clear away extraneous or irrelevant activity
- Remember: high level of input to low level of output
- No shortcuts
- Have a support system dedicated to your results
- Be coached whenever necessary
- Do what you said you would do regarding the results
- Delegate work and elicit authentic promises
- Acknowledge and celebrate results regularly
- Put in a system to help you handle stress: exercise, meditation, etc.
Stage Three: Momentum
- Deliver on the promises generated in Stage Two
- Focus on timely delivery of product or service
- Expand project only within authentically set limits
- Watch for “hype” or “greed”
- Continue to build relationships based on integrity
- Begin an evaluation process
- Delegate responsibilities
- Allow for shift to momentum: don’t make work harder if it isn’t
- Don’t fix anything that isn’t broken
- Continue to acknowledge results
- Rest and have time for recreation
Stage Four: Stability
- Implement evaluation process
- Be vigilant: no shortcuts in quality of product or service
- Be on lookout for what is missing
- Set new standards for excellence and reward excellence
- Keep excitement and energy high: look for entropy
- Guard against arrogance of “knowing it all”
- Provide room for expansion
Stage Five: Breakthrough
- Assess old methods of running project
- Commit to breakthrough, even if it is uncomfortable
- Listen to your own vision, or that of others, for expansion
- Let go of old methods that no longer work or that will not expand your project
- Be willing to have the breakthrough, and commit resources to create it
- Allow project to go to Stage One
If you notice you’re “stuck” and not progressing, check whether you’ve completed the steps in the preceding stages. It’s often the case that you’ll find some incomplete steps there. Once you complete them, you may discover that you are moving forward more easily. Remember: if you’re not complete with the steps in each stage, you risk returning to the Liftoff stage. No one needs to have that experience of starting “from square one,” right?
Go forward and be as great as you already are!