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The trick to turning bold IDEAs into reality

In the evening of January 19, 2011, I sat comfortably on the futon in my house processing a conversation I had with a mentor earlier that day. I turned to a blank page in my journal and wrote the name Rosabella Consulting. I decided then I was going to start a business.

I was elated! After years of feeling completely lost in my career, I had finally figured it out. And I was even more inclined to make the leap because I felt the support of my Grandmother.

Rosabella Consulting is named in honor and memory of my grandmother, Rose Puzzutelli. My grandmom had a positive disposition that was contagious and saw the beauty in everything. We were really close and would write letters to each other throughout my late teens and 20's.

Shortly after the name came to me, I found a letter my grandmom wrote to me while I was in college. In it, she relayed hearing about something new I was doing at school, to which she encouraged me with a "you go girl!"

That was all the encouragement I needed. I was committed to turning this idea into reality.

Not surprisingly, my journals were an essential tool in my process of taking this idea and creating an actual business. Ten years later, they remain an integral piece of my success.

Journal Jam sponsor, Ben West reflected on the power of journaling as a tool for clarifying bold ideas so they're actionable. "My ideas take on extra dimensions...the nice thing about information technology and the concept of information science is that when you're not confined to a physical reality your ideas can have as many different dimensions...but having to commit to an idea on paper is so valuable for having to say, 'ok these are the parts that are really important' and having to choose turns out to be an amazing exercise at understanding your own ideas."

My initial vision for Rosabella Consulting included a broad sweep of ideas I was excited to act on. Journaling helped me to make those ephemeral concepts more tangible. For me, the challenge was marrying my values with actual services I could offer.

I would imagine my business while I was gazing out the window or going for a walk. I would think about talking with a client or networking at an event, envisioning what I would say or do. Then I would define my ideas by writing about them in my journal. From there I talked about my plans with colleagues and potential clients. Those conversations, as well as the process of clarifying my own thinking through journaling, caused my ideas to evolve. At each step of the way, I would define concrete actions I could take to make progress on my idea.

Here's the basic framework I followed in my journal for turning my IDEA for Rosabella Consulting into reality.

Imagine it

Before I even start writing, I let myself daydream. I imagined my business as though it already existed. I found the process of imagining it elating. The possibilities were exciting. The potential for creating a positive impact fueled my resolve.

  • What if you imagined your idea without judging whether or not it’s possible?

  • What would you imagine if you knew you couldn’t fail?

  • What does it look, feel and sound like?

  • What about your idea excites you and why?

Define it

After writing down my initial thoughts for Rosabella Consulting, I continued to define my idea in the pages of my journal. I did this by writing about the services I wanted to offer - defining what they looked like, how I would provide them, and who I would work with. My initial idea was to sell a service called Integrate Green, which would help companies create a culture committed to sustainability through and through. To do this, I would guide them in integrating sustainability into their existing organizational documents, processes, and procedures rather than having a separate Sustainability Management Plan (SMP). This was a need I saw because I had worked with so many companies that strove to be green but were held back by the culture of the company.

  • What if you defined what it looked like to turn your idea into reality?

  • How would you define done for your idea?

Evolve it

Before I even launched Rosabella Consulting, I started talking with potential customers about my ideas for Integrate Green. Much to my dismay, I quickly learned that none of them wanted to pay me for this service. At the same time, as word got out that I was embarking on this new venture, entrepreneurs asked me to help them grow their businesses. That’s because I had a track record for successful business development. My services have continued to evolve based on best meeting the needs of customers in a way that leverages my strengths and passion.

  • In what ways can you let this idea evolve so it's realistic to accomplish?

  • Whose insight/perspective would be valuable to take into consideration as you turn this idea into reality?

  • As you let your idea evolve, what’s the essence of it that you do not want to change?

Act on it

After I defined my idea in my journal, I wrote a list of tasks to complete. And I started taking action. In the beginning, a lot of my actions revolved around refining and better defining my idea. Other actions involved having conversations with potential customers and key partners. And some actions I never completed, because it turned out they were not a priority. Either way, having the actions written down in my journal helped me stay accountable to making progress, especially when I felt like I was hitting a wall.

  • What specific next steps can you take?

  • How will you stay committed to completing actions to turn this idea into reality daily?

  • What actions are a priority for you to complete?

I thought that day in January was the day that lightning struck, but in reality, it was just the point where things came together. Looking back at my previous journals I saw that I had been toying around with this idea of starting a consulting business for a few years. It was always something in the back of my mind that would eek its way onto the page here and there.

Using the IDEA technique in journaling becomes a cyclical process. While I might be celebrating a decade in business this year, I continue to have and process new ideas for creating positive change while growing my business. These ideas comprise many many many pages of my journals. I have found that the more effort I make to turn my ideas into reality, the more inspiration I receive to dream even bigger.

Are you ready to turn your bold IDEAs into reality? Would you like to elevate your journaling practice? Join us for a Journal Jam on May 13th, more information and registration is available online here.

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