I love ideation. 

The whole process of generating ideas to solve problems and seize opportunities is what I find to be the most creative, exciting and inspiring part of business. 

Back in the 90s, when I started my bakery, the ideation phase – shopping for equipment and furnishings, planning the menu, testing recipes – was my favorite part of the process. I loved it.

But here’s the thing: as much as I love coming up with ideas, the real magic happens in their execution. A bakery is nothing until it opens its doors and starts selling bread. In our world, practical implementation is what breathes life into ideas. And to be honest, that part doesn’t excite me much.

Apparently, I’m not alone. 

As Seth Godin points out, “There’s no shortage of great ideas. There’s a shortage of execution.”

You’ve likely witnessed new agents (not you of course, but others 😁) meticulously plan, study and passionately discuss various niches. They’ve probably spent hours setting up their planners and calendars just right. 

But when the time comes to pick up the phone, well, where does all that enthusiasm go?

What’s the deal?

Understanding the dynamics between ideation and execution might explain why various professionals and entrepreneurs, including real estate agents, often find themselves caught in the allure of ideation while shying away from the challenges of execution. 

Let’s explore the reasons behind the love for ideation and the avoidance of execution – and how to strike a balance between the two.

The Thrill of Generating New Ideas

The process of creating new ideas is downright invigorating. Coming up with an idea we think is great is like tapping into the ephemeral moment of “Eureka!” For that first moment, we are a GENIUS!

During the process of generating new ideas, we become open to possibilities we might not have thought about before. In those moments, we manage to pause the constant flow of information from the unified field and express it in words. 

Whether we’re alone, enjoying a moment of solitude in the shower, or sharing ideas in a group brainstorming session, we are essentially tapping into the origin of something fresh and novel. And that, in itself, is always thrilling.

3 Reasons Why We Fail to Execute

While most of us love ideation for the same reason, there are various reasons why people avoid execution. Let’s explore the reasons below to identify what resonates with you and pinpoint where you might encounter challenges in moving from ideation to action.

#1 – Fear of Failure and Taking Risks

The fear of failure and the reluctance to take risks are key reasons why people often prefer thinking up ideas rather than putting them into action. Human nature tends to shy away from the possibility of loss, as execution always carries the risk of failure, something we find challenging to handle.

During idea generation, we get to explore countless possibilities without the immediate pressure of things not working out. However, when it’s time to turn those ideas into reality, doubts and uncertainties can creep in, leading to hesitation and a reluctance to take the next steps.

Even the fear of what others think is enough to thwart execution. When seeking approval and validation from others, creativity can be stifled, and it prevents us from taking the necessary risks. The fear of making mistakes, being thought of as a fool, or not living up to expectations will almost certainly dissuade us from acting on our ideas.

#2 – Unrealistic Expectations and Perfectionism

Unrealistic expectations or perfectionism can also be major stumbling blocks to execution. When we strive for flawless outcomes, we delay acting until conditions are deemed perfect.

Quoting Jim Collins, who said “Good is the enemy of great,” we might convince ourselves that we’re striving for excellence, not realizing that we’re fooling ourselves into an endless loop of “ideation.” 

Of course, it’s no longer ideation at this point – it’s just overthinking and stalling. 

This sometimes looks like analysis paralysis and other times it looks like “getting ready” (getting ready to get ready is a personal fave).

#3 – Lack of Accountability and Discipline

We all understand accountability and discipline are vital for successful execution, but mostly, we hate both. As entrepreneurs, we often resist, claiming, “We are visionaries! We won’t be held to your standards!

Yet, without proper accountability and commitment, we tend to lack the motivation and drive to follow through on our plans. The absence of clear goals and deadlines often results in a lack of direction and a failure to execute ideas.

Striking a Balance between Ideation and Execution

Embracing both ideation and execution is crucial for success. Ideation is what fuels innovation and drives new business, while execution brings ideas to life. Without execution, ideas remain mere fantasies without any results.

So, how do we do both? 

Unsurprisingly, finding a balance between ideation and execution is key to achieving ongoing success. Both processes are interconnected and equally important. Spending too much time on either can lead to wasted time and missed opportunities. Overemphasis on ideation without proper execution will result in modest growth, while excessive focus on execution without creative input leads to stagnation (and is less fun).

Practicing the following will allow for a good mix between the two:

  • Manage time and resources for both ideation and execution. Time blocking and setting up specific time frames for each phase ahead of time, helps allocate resources efficiently. 
  • Embrace your discomfort zone to overcome the fear of failure and the fear of what others think.
  • Focus on learning and growth to help push past fears and take bold steps toward execution. 
  • Embrace failure as part of the process and reframe it as an opportunity for learning and improvement.
  • Set realistic expectations and embrace a growth mindset.
  • Break tasks into small, manageable steps to allow for progress and reduce the overwhelming feeling of perfectionism. 
  • Focus on the journey rather than the result.
  • Foster accountability and maintain discipline. Set clear goals and establish deadlines.
  • Seek support from an accountability partner or join a community of like-minded individuals. Create regular check-ins and progress updates.

Self Awareness is the Key

Bringing awareness to how you feel will allow you to look at what’s missing and give you the biggest opportunity to address what’s happening.

Pay attention to your internal dialogue about the situation; altering this conversation empowers you to act for results and make necessary adjustments.

Finally, take the long view: recognize that ideation and execution is an endless cycle of improvement – and see what you can accomplish.