Why I Don’t Convert Ideas into Action

Aaron McHugh

Finished Ironman CDA 2005
Finished Ironman CDA 2005

Thinking but not committing

If you are anything like me, I bet you spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming about starting something new.

For me it can range from an Adventure trip that I want to go on to an ebook I’ve been writing.

Ideas into action are more difficult.

There is a pattern.

But I notice a pattern when the ideas in my head swirl around but no action is produced, I know its time to assess the source of my reluctance.

Today, I am hesitating calling a desired podcast guest that I’d like to interview.

The best I can tell I am simply nervous that she will say no.

And she might.

Converting ideas to action.


1) What is stopping me from starting?

I hear that little voice in my head always taunting me.  Telling me to be realistic, safe, and reliable.

What might I hear if turned down the volume on the voice of self-protection, self-preservation and safety?

What am I really afraid of?  

Rejection?  Being a bother?  No one liking what I create?

I actually feel much better when I can hear myself say or read the words that are holding me back.

The words or emotions behind the fear seem to have less power once I say them out loud.

2) Have I written down my plan or idea?

I find that when I write down in a journal or a notepad what it is I want to begin, it becomes more tangible and attainable.

The power of seeing my ideas and words on paper in front of me further commits me to launch. When it is electronic, it’s easy to skip past it in your list of Word docs or read emails.

3) What is the worst that could happen?

I recently resigned from a leadership position that I held for almost eight years at a software division that I helped start.

I labored over the decision for years.

One of the most helpful questions for me to answer was this one.

How bad could it get?  

This is a phenomenal exercise to spend some time on.

Ask yourself this question and then write down everything bad that you could envision happening.

“I could loose my job, not have health insurance, have to live with my in-laws, and live with the shame for failing”.

It is so liberating to actually see on paper what I was afraid of.

Some of it was down right laughable.

Some of it was actually uncomfortable but still not tragic.

4) Facing the Dragons

I think you will find that staring face-to-face with your perceived dragons will liberate you.

They are not as powerful or dangerous once you identify them.

I’m going to go make that call and invite the podcast guest.

Wish me luck.

7 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Convert Ideas into Action

  1. Good luck!

    The how bad could it get exercise is really helpful…done quickly and realistically. Too many people dwell on imaginary worst case scenarios and don’t ever take action because of a fear of something that is completely unrealistic.

      1. Many years ago (5+) I ran an advertising company. I hated it. I used to play worst case scenarios in my head. All my customers cancel. I end up in debtors prison or worse chased by the IRS. It wasn’t particularly helpful or realistic. The realistic worst case scenari. was always I go get a job and survive just fine :).

  2. I remember when I was facing some very difficult financial struggles about 5 years ago – I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown because of this. I met with a dear friend for some counseling, and he took me through the same exercise of imagining worst case scenarios. Most of them were not desirable, however NONE of them were as bad or worth the energy that I had invested in worry and fear. It was a revelation and has changed the way I look at so many things in front of me. Thanks for writing so vulnerably Aaron!

    1. Bryan this is a great story. How big the dragons must have seemed for you related to finances. I can think of few other topics that can feel as gloomy as money. Glad your friend was willing to walk you down the list of How Bad Could It Get? Very practical example. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.