Have you ever said something like this to a friend:

“Okay – I have this idea…
[You then spend a good three minutes explaining your idea – and you finish off by asking,]

“…Is that a good idea? Or am I just, like, COMPLETELY freakin’ NUTS?”

So, let’s talk about this little habit for a moment, okay?

Here’s why.

Because…

#1: The IDEA is not the problem.

And #2: YOU are! 🙂

If you recognize yourself in that above example, it’s okay.  But please understand the REAL ISSUE.

The real issue is not about the idea. The real issue is about DOING IT.  And the even realer issue is about fear.

So here’s what to do about all of your ideas – so you can (gasp!) DO something about them.

1.   Consider HOW you share your ideas.

Say you’re sharing an idea with a friend. And say you add the self-deprecating “finisher.”  (ie, “…or is that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?”)

This is the “smoke and mirrors” approach to sharing an idea. The share-ee, rather than getting to help you with your idea – now has to deal with the QUESTION you’ve presented – which is dramatic, self-defacing, and has nothing at all to do with your idea.

Imagine you’re sitting in front of a venture capitalist, and she’s considering investing in your idea.  Would she even give you a second of her time if you closed with one of your self-deprecating questions?

No way!

Your friend has the same dilemma.

When it comes right down to it, people read your energy MORE THAN they absorb your idea.  If your energy is all over the place, it’s hard for them to take your idea seriously.

2 – “Procrastination-by-Inquiry.”

Long ago, I caught an MTV video with an electric guitar player surrounded by women clad in nothing but plastic thongs.  I got an idea for a song.

Rather than pick up my guitar and begin writing, I did the next best thing.

I waited.

Later, I called my friend Kathy. I explained about the video and about my song idea– and shared a list of reasons my idea was boring, and should I just give up on everything in my life?

After a long pause, Kathy said, “Tell you what Christine.  You write the song. Then we’ll decide if it’s good.”

Face it.  There’s absolutely NO way to know if an idea is going to be “a good idea.”  In fact, there’s at least 10 good reasons it’s NOT going to work. Asking people about your idea is often just “Procrastination-by-Inquiry.”  You aren’t going to know if it’s good until you start DOING something about it.

3 – Be careful WHO you share your idea with

I’m guessing there’s at least five people in your life with one common trait:

They’re the WORST people you could EVER share a new idea with. They’ll tell you it’s a terrible idea – and that yes you ARE, in fact, insane.

So, then, why are we compelled to share our ideas with these five folks?

Well, they provide an amazing service.  In fact, we secretly LOVE these people!

Why?

Because they give us the go ahead to not take action!  After all, if Uncle Richie says that your idea for a vegetarian catering service stinks – then hey, good news!  You don’t have to face your fears!  Now you get to head home and dive headlong into a bag of Cheeto’s and watch Friends reruns!

Do yourself a favor.  For the sake of your spirit and your ability to take action – be mindful of who gets to hear about ANY of your ideas.

4 – The most crucial question of all.

Ask yourself this question to end all rumination and make you the most productive kid on your block

“What is the very next step I need to take?”

Here’s a secret:

Getting the idea is step one.  The rest of the steps are all about tricking your ego into shutting up so you can get stuff done. The ego would prefer it if you’d just continue getting big ideas.  The ego LOVES your big ideas because then it can reach into its arsenal of big fears and big dramas – and it can MATCH your big idea.

The ego doesn’t have much to say when you sit down and do some work for 30 minutes. That’s not nearly dramatic enough.

So, what’s the next step you need to take?

5 – Give it Legs.

The most successful people make decisions quickly.

Even if that doesn’t apply to every single decision, it makes perfect sense.  Many of us let our emotions and our drama become the perfect excuse for procrastination and fear.

Wanna know the exactly how to have faith in your idea?

Decide to do it.

Tell someone you’re going to do it.  Move forward. Then wake up tomorrow and decide again.

Anytime your faith wavers, decide again.

Repeat until successful.

Share with me below!  What’s an idea you’ve had and keep on putting off? And even better…what’s the very next step you’re going to take???

26 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Shawnee Kilgore

    Ok. Something I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager was to take my (many, many) journals and turn selected entries from them, wholly unedited, into a book. Now that I’m more serious about music I also would like to make a songbook. I’ve now had the idea for a while to combine the two, taking journal entries from the time leading up to a song and what was going on for me when I wrote it, and also entries about real musical experiences I’ve had, special gigs, studio time, etc. I’m totally overwhelmed by the idea, but I would say my first step is to decide what songs I want to feature, and wade through my journals to find where in my life they came from so I can start finding the writing to go with them. Thanks for getting me to write this down!

  • Rebecca

    Thanks so much Christine!
    I’ve been listening to your music and finding inspiration from it for quite sometime now. I love “Overjoyed”, “How Not to Behave” and “Virginia”. Your advice is insanely useful, with the core message of “Go ahead, push aside those fears and do it!”. Right now, I’m tossing around a few ideas. Sometime in the near future, I’d like to start a campaign against human trafficking and raise money and awareness by walking across my city, or possibly even further. I’m also thinking about writing a book, converting it to audio and then inserting songs to create a novel/ audio/ musical experience. The issue is, whenever I try to start to initiate these ideas, I get in the way with my practical “You need to focus on school” or “That will never go anywhere” mentality. Now, with this article, I think that I’ve found the courage to do follow through with one of these ideas and embrace my slightly more spontaneous side! So thanks a million Christine, you are a huge role model to me 🙂

  • Robin

    Thank you for this article, Christine! I had the problem you talk about – sharing with wrong people, getting discouraged but secretly happy to be off the hook. And then I took that next step – still shaking in my stilettos – only to find a new weakness. It turns out I am a terrible judge of people! Those who were equally excited about my idea and wanted to be part of it, every one of them gave up along the way and left me hanging. On two different ideas! Now I’m feeling burned, not trusting others, and a new fear to try again since I don’t know how to get around this weakness. When interviewing for a new job, one of the old default questions is about weakness, and all the “experts” tell you to express it in terms of something you have turned around or have a good grasp of almost defeating. I’m clueless with this one. And if I were to apply for a job today, I would not use it as an example because I’m stuck. I wish just one of my ideas only required me since I know I can depend on myself. Not trusting is a terrible way to get through the day. Any insights would be appreciated!

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Robin — I’m starting a video series to be released very soon called Feedback Friday where I answer (on video) the questions that show up on my blog. i will happily take a stab at this on there.

      But for now – I will just say that, as hard as these experiences are, they aren’t about JUST the people. They are probably also some about the clarity, the communication and the motivation– which means that you are being called to step up higher and play a leadership role in every idea you have. It’s a challenge indeed. But I have found with my ideas that no one ever loves them as much as I do. 🙂 So, that means that I have to keep people enrolled and create well-defined goals and tasks. I don’t think it sounds like you can’t trust people – i think it means that you are being called into a leadership role. (Just a thought.)

      • Robin

        I hope you’re right!

  • Page Holland

    Ok, I’ll play. Here is my crazy idea. I live in Moab, Utah, I am an artist. I occasionally spend some bucks to go to workshops in different parts of the country, but I’d love to get some top artists to come here. I want to put together a river trip…a 5 day float trip in an incredibly beautiful canyon. Most workshop attendees won’t go far from amenities like a warm cozy bed and a restroom, BUT alot of top caliber artists don’t mind roughing it to get to the prettiest, most sublime places. What if I offer to put all the logistics together with rafts, equipment, meals, permits, etc. and offer a get-away for around 6 or 7 people. They pay for the expenses, of course, and I would get paid for putting the pieces together. Everyone is required to do one 1 to 2 hour workshop for all the rest. Even if someone of the group is not an artist, but could do, say, a yoga workshop, or a dutch-oven cooking workshop, they still participate. All of us would benefit from some top-notch instruction and have plenty of time to paint, write, hike, etc. on our own. I would be able to network and learn from some top artists, and possibly find someone who can help mentor my progress as an artist.
    I’ve allready floated the idea to some people who are interested in participating. My next step is to talk to a few of the tour companies here to have them give me some quotes on prices. This is a trip that I did once with my daughter and fellow painter with our own boat, and once as part of a family reunion trip where we provided some boats, gear and did cooking, etc. I want to do this other trip without having to do so much of the work. I want to paint!

    • Christine Kane

      Love it, Page! This is EXACTLY how I started offering my retreats to women back in 2000. It just grew and grew from there. All you have to do is keep puttin’ it out there!

    • Elissa Joy Shames

      Oh Page.. It is my vision to for creating retreats!! I live in the most magical place.. Vancouver Island British Columbia.. wow. so pretty here. and I want to put on retreats.. I just have not 1. Have the courage .. 2. the Confidence.. 3. the HOW to put it together..

      I know that if I just DO it.. the pieces will come together.. and love the idea you have to make Yours work.. ( haha. the artist, chef, photographer, healer, forager, wild thing in me wants to raise my hand wildly to you and say.. Pick me!!! Let’s play!)

  • Daniele Largo

    Praech it Girlfriend!!!! I live for this everyday. Being an entrepreneur requires bravery! I make it a point to confront myself daily … thanks for sharing Christine lol.

  • Kimberly Sherry

    I love the idea of needing to keep re-deciding everyday. Sometimes the Universe helps us with those decisions.

    I had this great contact with the creators of the Intention Call where they meditate for 15 min every Saturday. At the time their audience was about 1200.

    I got the green light to be one of the Intention Guides, I just needed to send them my bio and picture…and then I shelved it. For several months it was in my “to-do” pile…was going to make the bio better.

    I even distracted myself by starting a radio show…maybe this would help me be ready to present myself to their audience. Even though this seemed like a step away from the Intention Call, it did help move me closer and helped me to own my voice. I have something important to share.

    On Monday I got an email from them apologizing for losing contact and explaining all the exciting changes they are making and did I still want to play? I replied to the email, spoke on the phone yesterday and was relieved with her confirmation of divine timing.

    I have another call today to finalize it. They are now doing 30 min interviews with the Intention Guides that is aired on their new radio show…and now their audience has grown to over 2200!

    Ahhhh…divine timing and re-decision. The perfect combo since things keep changing. Thanks for the reminders.

    • Lisa Schreihart

      Kimberly, please provide a link or contact info for the Intention Call. Sounds great!
      Lisa

    • Elissa Joy Shames

      Sweet Kimberly!! That is soo great that you had an opportunity to reconnect with them in this way.. and with more confidence after doing your own radio show!

      And now you will get more exposure.. Congrats!
      Elissa Joy

  • Nancy

    Hi Christine,
    For the past few years, I have been the queen of self-deprecation! Loved your comment about seeing yourself in front of a venture capitalist. I am shifting into selling my ideas, first to myself, as if I was sitting in front of a venture capitalist. Just thinking about doing that shifts my energy!
    Thanks!

  • Lisa Schreihart

    Hi Christine!
    You’re right on with this article. I have examples in my life where “just doing it” was the only way to get past all the little voices in my head. My life is filled with opportunities for “just doing it.” One day I was sitting at my engineering desk in a big company. I woke up that day a little feisty and not sure why. That morning, I got an urge to look into the MBA program at my local university. I decided right then and there to go, like jumping in the deep end of the pool, not knowing if I had the swimming skills yet. If I had sat back and thought about getting my MBA, I could have come up with a rationalization for why not to do it. Instead, I immediately bounced it off my supervisor, who already had his MBA, and he was very supportive (and confirmed that the company would pay for it). That afternoon, I threw myself into the process of applying and never looked back. I graduated in 2007, thrilled to have my MBA, and it has served me well ever since.

    Fast forward to 2013…. Now I’m laid off that engineering job and have the opportunity to go to law school for patent law. Well, if you consider that I was laid off in May 2012 and law school starts the next August (a year a half later…I missed the window for 2012), you realize there was a whole lot of time to prepare, yet a whole lot of time for voices in my head to grow and fear to set in. But I started going through the process, one foot in front of the other, over the last several months: took an LSAT course, got a good score, applied to 4 law schools, got accepted to all, got scholarship offers to 2. But now job recruiters are running after me and decisions abound. I’m taking interviews because I have time to do so. Take another job? Sell my house and move? Or law school and where? How will I afford this? Am I crazy at 40 to be going back to school? What if I hate it? Will I take myself out of the engineering market if I do this?

    Last night was especially bad as I have stacked 10 decisions in front of me and am realizing that time is growing slim for some of these decisions. I feel overwhelmed. Law schools want answers by April 1, recruiters are ringing my phone off the hook, job offers are coming in……Gaaaaaaa!!!! I called my best friend, who is the ultimate voice of reason. First thing, she said, “Get rid of the muck. You have too many decisions that you yourself placed in front of you, and you keep bringing more in. Stop that.” I agreed. More opportunities are great, right? Not so much if they just cloud and complicate my decisions. If all they are is smoke and mirrors over the original plan I set out to do – go to law school – then they are not value added. My friend said, “Keep down that path that you set up years ago.” “Years ago?”, I inquired. “Yeah, you’ve been talking about law school for years. Don’t you remember? Now it’s all laid out and you yourself are putting obstacles in your way that are making the path rocky.”

    So, maybe I’m afraid and want to give that law school idea a run for its money by bringing in other safer choices, like getting a new job. Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m doing. As I’m bringing in more ideas, I’m frozen stiff in one place, piling the muck up on top of me and not making progress toward my original goal, and actually, growing more fearful as the muck applies more and more pressure. Last night my friend helped me lay out a to-do list that will de-cloud the process to complete my law school preparation. Once we were done talking, I didn’t feel so overwhelmed anymore. I’m almost there. The next steps are easy, as I had already been laying them out and setting them up. All that is needed now is to turn in the acceptance form to my #1 school choice and the rest will fall into place. The ultimate step: focus on my studies and do well. Seems simple, huh? It’s right around the corner.

    • Christine Kane

      Lisa – The activity of making decisions is a huge work out for the brain. I teach my clients to literally keep a list of unmade decisions each and everyday so that they are aware of what is taking so much energy. Business owners make hundreds of decisions each day as they get more and more successful. So, it sounds like you got bogged down in all the options. And it sounds like you are finding your way into clarity and simplicity. That’s great. (And geez, you sound like a crazy smart person too! MBA’s, engineering, law degrees… and I feel lucky when I put on matching socks in the morning!)

    • Elissa Joy Shames

      WOW!! Lisa.. you are amazing.. not only smart because of all the ‘degrees’ and going to law school.. but also because you sought out help and clarity from a friend whom you know could be the voice of reason for you.

      What an intense time for you. so many decisions. Thank you so much for sharing your process.. it was inspiring to hear how you worked through it.

      My favourite part was your friend telling you that you needed to follow the path you have been on ( Law School) for YEARS and stop putting obstacles in your own way. Wow. Brilliant! ( ahem.. I can SOOO relate!)

      Wishing your the best of success in your journey!!

      peace and light
      Elissa jOy

  • Marjorie Roth

    The Ego statement was my ‘aha’ as well – always proud that I can think of the BIG ideas but I would relegate the ‘steps’ to someone else with my own words – “I’m not good at the details”.

    Time for a change – let’s see, What’s my NEXt step??? 🙂

    • Christine Kane

      Marjorie – Waiting for your answer to that question! 🙂

  • Diana Fontanez

    Amazing article Christine. This part was the aha for me: “The ego LOVES your big ideas because then it can reach into its arsenal of big fears and big dramas – and it can MATCH your big idea.”

    No wonder we get stuck so much in our own Big Idea No Action World! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Kelly Diemond

    Hi Christine-I love this article as I have been stuck in the idea vortex for many years. I spend scads of time generatiing great ideas and then an equal amount of time ripping them to shreds. I’ve just started holding myself accountable by announcing that I am going to become a thriving artist and blogging about what I’m actually doing. The blogging seems to also be helping others who are in the same mire. Now that I’m moving and taking action, it feels really good! Thank you so much for sharing. I plan to post your article too!

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Kelly! And yeah, people always think they’ll wait til the fear goes away (or whatever) and the only thing you can do is just take the next steps – and THAT is when the fear goes away. 🙂

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