As a person with a creative background I find coming up with ideas easy. It is the execution of those ideas that I find hard. Scott Belsky has written a great book that all leaders should read called Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality in which he says that the next idea that I have could be the thing that will kill my execution of the first idea:

As we move further along the trajectory of execution, we are liable to get lost in the “project plateau.” We know we’re on the plateau when we are overwhelmed with Action
Steps and can see no end in sight. Our energy and commitment—and thus a willingness to tolerate the sometimes painful process of execution—are naturally high only when an idea is first conceived. The honeymoon period quickly fades as Action Steps pile up and compete with our other ongoing commitments. Our ideas become less interesting as we realize the implied responsibilities and sheer amount of work required to execute them.


The easiest and most seductive escape from project plateau is the most dangerous one: a new idea.  New ideas offer a quick return to the high energy and commitment zone, but they also cause us to lose focus.  As the new star rises, our execution efforts for the original idea starts to fall off.  The end result?  A plateau filled with the skeletons of abandoned ideas. although it is part of the creative’s essence to constantly generate new ideas, our addiction to new ideas is also  what often cuts our journey short.


To push your ideas to fruition, you must develop the capacity to endure, and even thrive, as you traverse the project plateau. You must reconsider the way you you approach execution. The forces you can use to sustain your focus and renew your energy do not come naturally. Making ideas actually happen boils down to the self-discipline and the ways in which you take action.

Scott Belsky Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, 70-71

So in the end what is the difference between someone that executes and someone that doesn’t? It is simple, the difference is discipline. The one who sticks at executing the idea even through the grinding hard work that is not fun will see that idea be realized the person that doesn’t “grind it out” will not. As Thomas Edison says “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

Where do you struggle with execution?

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