In a previous post, we talked about why you need a Big Vision now. Let’s look at why you need to test your idea for your Big Vision.
You’ve got an idea you’re excited about. It’s a dream that keeps nudging at you to be explored. Now what? It’s time to test it out.
When I got out of college, I thought I wanted to be a massage therapist. It seemed like a relaxing career that could help people. Plus, I’d been told I was good at back rubs ( : . Before I made the leap into getting certified, I took a class and quickly realized that massaging people you don’t know without clothes on is very different than massaging a friend’s shoulders over a sweater. I moved on to another idea.
When you test your idea for your Big Vision, you learn what you want and what other people want. Whether you’re thinking about writing a book, creating art, starting a business, or launching a nonprofit, it’s wise to test out your idea before you put all your time, energy, and resources into it. There’s a reason publishers want a book proposal and funders want a business plan. It’s not to be annoying. It’s to show that there is a market for your idea. In the case of a changemaking project, you need to learn if how you want to “help” is effective, and even more important, wanted.
You can learn two things when you test your idea:
1. How it affects you (does it give you energy and keep you engaged?).
2. How it affects others (is it needed, wanted, effective?).
Your Big Vision comes from your imagination. That’s what makes it so magical and inspirational! You created it out of nowhere. It’s based on assumptions about what the future will be like once it’s in existence. Some of those assumptions are based on fact and some are based on guessing. Doing small tests will help you build a strong foundation for your Big Vision.
Here are some ideas for how to test our your Big Vision.
Talk with people who do similar work. This can be a formal informational interview, or jumping on a Zoom call with a friend of a friend.
Pilot the idea. That could mean sharing a prototype of a product with a focus group, doing a test run of a class with friends, sharing a draft of a few chapters with your writer’s group, writing a few blog posts, or putting together a survey.
Try a smaller version. Live in your dream town for a month before moving. Develop a side gig before quitting your job. Write one evening a week before booking a 2-week writing retreat.
Try an even smaller version. Take one class. Apply for one job. Write one chapter. Paint one artwork.
Learn. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Watch a documentary. Take a class.
Volunteer. You’ll experience some hands on learning and make connections in your field of interest.
For more ideas, check out How to Test an Idea by Sarah Moon.
It’s a myth that people have an idea, make a plan, execute it, and succeed. There’s a lot of testing, learning, failing and succeeding that happens along the way. If you’re feeling stuck, test your idea. Voila! You’re not stuck anymore. You’ve taken action towards making your Big Vision real.
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