song: stealing cars by james bay
read time: 5 minutes
i recently cut a client from my roster which cleared my schedule and allowed me to actually think, imagine, and dream up new ideas for the first time in a long time. it was a tuesday afternoon, and i had just come up with a new business idea for third story apartment. i was getting ready to take my daily afternoon nap [yes, that’s a real thing] and the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. the possibilities were endless for this idea. i got up. wrote down my idea. brainstormed out how the idea could work and jotted down all the primary logistics that came to mind. next, i tried to call my dad and bounce my idea off him. [he’s my ultimate business consultant]. he didn’t answer. so i texted him. he didn’t respond. [needy much?] so, as soon as i heard him walk in the door, i summoned him up to my office [which some may also call the “living room” located in the upstairs of my house.] completely pumped about this new idea, i told my dad the ins and outs that i had already thought of. he gave me that look… you know, the one fathers give you when they 1] realize you’re grown up and 2] are questioning if you can really pull off the words that are coming out of your mouth. my dad gave me his two cents on the idea and as he was leaving -- he said, “what if it doesn’t work?” i said, “i’ll think of something else. i’m an idea person. i’m never short on ideas.”
i can’t pinpoint when i became an idea person, but at some point i did. i think of ideas all the time. sometimes, the ideas won’t leave me alone and really interrupt my sleeping patterns. but mostly, i like to think i have a beautiful relationship with ideas.
if we are speaking in analogies —
i think ideas are a lot like making friends. watch, it’s like this: you meet a cool new person, they ask you to hang out. you say yes. you have a great time. you agree to hang out again. so you do. before you know it — you have a beautiful relationship that’s ongoing.
on the flipside, you have the choice to say no to the new person who is asking you to hang out. chances are, if you say no, they may not ask you to hang out again. if they do, and by chance, you say no again — you’ve most likely killed your chances to form a relationship with that person.
ideas work the same way.
when an idea approaches you — you have the opportunity to say “yes” and entertain it or flat out ignore it with a big fat “no”. when you say “yes” the more likely ideas will keep coming to you, because they know you’ll be responsible with them and at least explore them. when you constantly say “no”, eventually, the ideas are going to give up and stop coming around.
if i can be completely honest — i think too many of us are saying “no” to the ideas that come to us. i came to this conclusion because of several reasons:
i have had an overload of conversations with people and over the course of time have heard some amazing ideas, but many of these brilliant ideas are currently sitting in idea purgatory because no one is taking steps to put those ideas into action.
too many people are writing off their ideas as “not good enough”, before they even give their idea a chance. i’ve seen it. you scroll through social media and think, “well, this idea isn’t like blah-blah-blah, so it’s obviously not good enough.” the idea is then held back and silenced because of intimidation.
people keep stealing my ideas and my friend’s ideas and are making them seem like their own. wording, verbiage, exact ideation — i’ve been watching it happen for years. #notbitter
if you fall into any three of these categories —
here is what i have to say: BELIEVE IN YOUR IDEAS.
yes, every idea may not be worth executing. but your idea deserves to be explored and thought twice about before slamming the door in it’s face.
so, people group #1:
yes, timing is everything. there are some seasons of life where it is completely impractical to launch our ideas. that’s okay. be aware of timing. but don’t rid your idea off just because “now” is not the right time. sometimes, ideas are like good wine. they require us to be patient and wait for them enriched over time. and other times, ideas are like a hot cup of coffee — best when executed as soon as possible. you may not always be able to work towards your idea right now, but you can certainly dream about it. so dream a little.
people group #2:
i guarantee you that anyone who has launched anything has asked themselves “is this even a good idea?” chances are — if you think it’s a good idea, if you think it’s filling in a need, if you think people can benefit from your idea — it’s worth launching. there have been so many times i have launched something and been so nervous about whether or not people would hop on board. but everytime… everytime, i am passionate about an idea, i find other people are too. let’s keep social media as a powerful tool to connect us, instead of a tool that makes us feel intimidated. there is plenty of room in this world for everyone’s ideas to be put in motion.
people group #3:
stop stealing. you are cheating yourself and the rest of the world of YOUR ideas. reality is — copy cat ideas will never succeed. unless the idea was given to you, it’ll never succeed. because you stole the idea, which means you don’t understand the heart and soul behind the idea. you don’t understand the oxygen which gives the idea life. you don’t understand the trade-offs that make the idea one of a kind and special. what makes an idea stand out is when you insert your personality, your experiences, and your beliefs into an idea. so do that. if you need help shaping your idea into something better, then ask. that’s what brainstorming and consulting is for. my friend, alex may, is a genius and can help you.
the one underlining truth in all of this is — we are all idea people. we are all creative. we all have ideas in us that can change the world. the secret is to start saying “yes” to ideas.
i went to dinner last night with a friend, she told me about a book she was reading that suggested writing down seven ideas a day. there are no “good” or “bad” ideas in this exercise. the ideas can be big or small. there are no terms. the point is to let your mind imagine and allow ideas to interrupt your day. if you write down 7 ideas for 365 days, at the end of the year you’ll have 2,555 ideas. surely, out of literally thousands of ideas there will be one or two good ones.
i don’t know about you — but i never want to stop being an idea person. i want to have a beautiful and eclectic relationship with ideas — where ideas know they can trust me, where they might only faintly whisper to me, but i’ll hear them.
wild ideas are what makes the world spin, they are what bring change to the world. hidden within you are a sea of ideas that waiting to be uncovered and explored.
today, i challenge you—
don’t discount your ideas. believe in them. chase them and build them.
and if you’re wondering, yes. i am taking on the challenge to write down 7 ideas a day. will you do it with me?