How to go from big idea to action

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At the World Domination Summit this weekend, I delivered a workshop for 200 motivated people, who had all kinds of big dreams to change the world. Some of their goals were to:

  • Close the income gap between men and women
  • Heal the corporate world
  • Create a bestselling book and tour the world speaking
  • Build a community center
  • Quit a job to start a business

Such overarching goals are so important, yet can be totally overwhelming if they are not broken down into feasible chunks.

The most important part of getting started to take action is to define a small and feasible project. In order to do this, you need to choose a small part of a huge project.

Let’s look at the example of one of the big ideas from the WDS workshop:

Big idea: Heal the corporate world

Possible smaller project:

  1. Define specific problem you want to solve
  2. Connect with team of peer mentors
  3. Identify list of top companies you want to heal
  4. Make connection with one company
  5. Define pilot project for one department
  6. Coach one manager in new methodology
  7. Conduct first pilot
  8. Refine methodology
  9. Write up case study
  10. Pitch idea to more departments in company

There is no sense in creating a detailed project plan for the latter stages of the project, since there are so many unknown variables.

Once you choose a feasible smaller project, answer the following questions:

1. What do you want to create?

Name it. Describe it. (A book, a job, a video, an app)

2. Whom is it for?

Describe your audience. (Who are they? What is important to them? What scares them? What are their personal interests?)

3. Why does it need to get done?

Describe the roots of this project. (How does it fit in your body of work? Who will be affected by it? What good thing will happen as a result of completing it?)

4. How are you going to structure it?

Define a model. (Who was done something like this before? How was it structured? How can I customize this model and make it my own?)

5. When does it need to get done?
Set a deadline. (Set a date, and work your project plan backwards from it)

Once you successfully complete one small project, you will have the energy and enthusiasm to complete the next.

As Lao Tzu said:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step.”  Begin it now!

I did a video last year to help with marketing planning, which is very applicable to learning how to break a big goal into small steps. View it here:

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9 Responses to “How to go from big idea to action”

  1. Kevin says:

    A journey of a thousand miles, Begins with a single step.


  2. Vincent says:

    Thanks Pam, this is very motivating. I like the way you’ve laid out a plan of action which one can follow.

  3. A very nice article… I totally agree with you on the part of dreaming big but starting it small.

    Thanks for the informative article…

  4. […] Slim shows us how to go from a big idea to big action. Be sure to watch her video on marketing plan tips that she links to at the end of the article as […]

  5. […] always helpful Pam Slim breaks it down on breaking it down, explaining the process of breaking down the scope of a project into do-able […]

  6. faisal says:

    Just go ahead solve the problem, try your best, it sure works.

    • Alan says:

      That can work with small things, Faisal, but big things can only be done in cooperation with others. Too often, we think we can do something on our own, but success comes more easily when more committed people work on a project.