Anatomy of a Big Idea | David Couper Consulting


Anatomy of a Big Idea

Posted by David A. Couper, MA on April 02, 2015 9:34 AM


The action level thoughts are things like:

“How will I find the time?”

“Where will I get the money?”

“Which path will I choose?”

“How can I stop procrastinating?”

Moving through the action level is the easiest, because all you have to do is take one step after another.  When you’ve gotten to the action level of the idea, you can raise your chance of implementing all the way to 100%.

Distinguish a thought or a ‘want’ from an Idea.

Steve had a Big Idea for his business. He had read all the books on success:  The Secret, Think and Grow Rich, all the classics.

He had a check made out for $1 million taped to his computer where he could see it every day.

Every day for years he would repeat the mantra, “I am rich beyond my wildest dreams,” and every year, he watched his business and his income stagnate.

“What’s wrong?” he’d cry. “Why doesn’t this positive thinking work for me?”

From my perspective, the problem was that Steve had not distinguished between what he wanted, “to be rich,” and what was his true Big Idea.

Big Ideas are easiest to achieve when you can interpret EXACTLY what the idea is.

We tend to think of an Idea as a thing and usually as a thing that we want:  “I want to be a millionaire,”  “I want to be a best-selling author, selling books around the world,” “I want to start a business and earn passive income.”

When I work with clients like Steve, I begin by probing his Idea. The conversation might go something like this:

“’I want to be rich’ is a thought, not an idea, Steve. What do you see when you see yourself ‘rich’? I mean, really SEE, like you can taste it, feel it?”’

“Well,” he said, “I see myself on a sailboat in the Caribbean, wearing shorts and a beard, with my wife and kids playing cards on the deck.”

“Great,” I said. “Now how do you feel when you’re on the boat?”

“I feel relaxed, calm, energized, sexy and full of joy.”

“So now we’re getting somewhere. Your Big Idea has something to do with a sailboat, a relaxed lifestyle, time with your wife and kids and feeling relaxed, calm, energized, sexy and full of joy. I don’t see anything in there about being rich.”

“Well, duh…you have to be rich to have the boat!”

“Maybe, maybe not,” I said. “At this point, we don’t know. All we know now is that if your Big Idea is to be on a boat but you are focusing your attention on getting rich, that might be why you have seemed so stuck lately.”

Instead of focusing on the ‘want’ of “I want to be rich,” Steve would create a Big Idea Blueprint that had the elements that he really could envision. He could envision the boat and the beard, he could envision being relaxed and calm. Once he shifts his focus on the things that are in his true vision, he will start to see movement in his results.

And the side benefit of this approach? Instead of waiting until he makes the money to buy the boat to feel calm, relaxed and happy, by focusing on the elements of his Big Idea, Steve can feel more relaxed, more calm and happier without changing a thing in his outside world. 

Try it yourself. Think of a goal you have, something that has been difficult to achieve.

Now imagine that you have miraculously achieved the goal. Picture it as completely as possible.

Describe what you see in as much detail as you can.

Describe how you are feeling in as much detail as you can.

Are those feelings a better description of your Big Idea than your original ‘want’?

What are the possibilities that open up if your Big Idea is to have more of those feelings and qualities in your life? What are some other ways you can imagine reaching that goal?

Notice I said ‘more’ of the qualities, because just by doing the exercise and imagining the qualities, you should automatically be experiencing more of them than you did ten minutes ago.

Rory Cohen is known as the Idea Implementation Coach. Her company, Entelekey, Inc., produces Take 10, a system for implementing Big Ideas. Rory is an implementation faculty/coach for international seminar leaders like Steve Harrison and Alex Mandossian. She blogs on implementation issues for and serves as a frequent media guest on national TV and radio, including Entrepreneur Magazine, SmartMoney Magazine and National Public Radio. If you have a great idea inside of you that you haven’t taken action on, visit her at to find out how you can move forward at lightning speed in just 10 minutes a day.

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