Urgency motivates us to take action and come up with creative solutions to life and work problems. How many times have you come up with a good idea after feeling a sense of urgency over something? How many times have you been at work and someone comes up with a great idea for solving an immediate problem? Sometimes we act and our ideas solve problems, sometimes we don’t act at all, and sometimes we act and fail. Perhaps what our idea needs is time.
Successful endeavors require more than feelings. They require time, perseverance, development, resources, and the opportunity to transition into longevity. Those types of characteristics require making a choice that is not based on a feeling. I don’t feel like, always enters the equation over time and so does second guessing. If we make a choice to move forward despite our feelings we will give our ideas the time they need to succeed.
For seven years I served as a director of a nonprofit. People consistently came to me to run their ideas by me for a new nonprofit or program. They would often exclaim, “We have got to do something now!”. I knew that feeling. I served men and women in our community on a daily basis. I understood how the feeling of urgency can drive someone to act. As a nonprofit leader I also understood the requirement of time in developing ideas. Every good idea requires time to succeed. A scary thought for some. What if my idea changes? What if others get involved? What if it’s a bad idea? It’s okay if our idea develops and will most likely make it better, it will be great if others get involved, and we won’t know if it’s a bad idea if we don’t try.
The people that I met had great ideas. Some ideas did need to change and some needed to be partnered with others to achieve success. Most of the people that I met couldn’t get their idea past the urgency stage for two reasons:
1. They lost the feeling. Feelings motivate us to do great things, but they also fade. When they fade we need to have the commitment to stick it out for the long haul. Urgency is often fueled by fear, panic, and the epiphany that a problem exists or something needs done. Oh wow, look at that, we need to act. I will try this!
2. They didn’t want to put the work into it. After the feeling faded it felt a lot like work, required a lot of waiting, and involved a lot more than they bargained for so they quit. I often recommended to founding nonprofit leaders that the best way to develop their idea was to do more research by talking to community stakeholders, other nonprofits, and by getting to know their community better. This would help them understand the need, the context in which they wanted to serve, and benchmark their idea against the reality of the community. Their eyes would glaze over. Especially when I emphasized how important this was to all the fundraising that they would need to do. Fundraising?
Urgency provides us the motivation to act. If you acted and failed then perhaps it was because your idea needed some more time to develop. What if you went back and tried again? What if you did some more research to find out if your idea needed to be modified? Perhaps you just needed more information. The key to success is transitioning the feeling to a choice. A choice we make to keep trying despite the obstacles and when we lose the feeling that motivated us to act. We do this as parents, spouses, friends, and employees. Let’s do this with our ideas and creativity. Being creative isn’t about maintaining a feeling, but about making a choice to express who we are. You do have to do this now! Because it’s who you are if you choose to be.