The first time I met Joe Sabah was at a seminar that he was teaching. He spoke of an invention he had created as a young child. He remembers the times that he sat in class and watched as other kids went to the teacher’s desk to sharpen their pencils. They would insert the pencil in one end and as they did, they would grab the handle with the other hand and start grinding away. Joe thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could attach some kind of motor apparatus to that sharpener that would make it so that the pencils could be sharpened automatically?” He went on to draw up plans in exact detail that would make possible the first electric pencil sharpener in the history of mankind. Wow, he thought to himself, what an idea!
Do you know what happened next? The class bell rang letting everyone know that it class was over. Joe took the paper that he had worked so hard on, tore it up and threw it in the trash can, and went to recess.
Ideas. We all have them, but what do we do with them? Well, the fact is that the majority of our ideas just sit there. For all intents and purposes we do what Joe did that day in class; we tear them up and throw them away.
Ideas are a dime a dozen… the person who puts them into practice is PRICELESS!
A great example putting ideas into practice is the story of this is my wife’s uncle, Denny Proctor. Denny worked for a construction company.
His job was to go from construction site to construction site and treat freshly cured concrete foundations with a special waterproofing sealant. He would stand day after day spraying concrete solution with a special high powered wand. But one day he had an idea that would change his life forever!
He thought, “What if someone created a high pressure wand that everyday people could attach to their garden hose and use to clean their cars? In fact, they could use it to clean the exterior of their house, lawn mower or anything else they needed to be washed.”
Denny took action on his idea, and with his brother created a special power washer and called it the Jet-X Sprayer!
Depending on your age, you might remember seeing one of the many commercials that were run back in the 1970’s selling the Jet-X sprayer. Millions of dollars’ worth of products were sold as a result of acting on that one idea.
Here are three questions to ask yourself.
- What idea do I have?
- Does it solve a real and tangible problem?
- Would people be willing to pay for it to solve their problem?
More often than not our ideas may sound good to us, but unless people are willing to walk on glass to have their problem fixed, you had better think differently about your idea. The idea may be good but you may not be focused on the right audience. You may need to reframe how you are communicating to your audience about the solution you are offering. But the biggest lesson here is to take action and fail as quickly as you can. Failure doesn’t have to stop or discourage you. It is supposed to happen that way.
Someone once told me that the term “Practice makes perfect” was wrong. The proper way to frame it is “Practice makes better.” You see, failure is only proof that you are choosing to move forward in life. That is a good thing and you should congratulate yourself by giving yourself a big pat on the back.
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