Have you ever said something like this to a friend…
“Okay – I have this idea. Here’s the deal…
[You then spend a good three minutes explaining your idea for a direction you want to go in – or a business you want to start – and then you finish the whole thing off by asking,]
“…Is that a good idea? Or am I just, like, COMPLETELY insane, totally freakin’ NUTS?”
So, let’s talk about this little habit for a moment, okay?
Because #1: The IDEA is not the problem.
And #2: YOU are! 🙂
If you recognize yourself in that above example, it’s okay. But I want you to 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. As Seth Godin so aptly states: “There isn’t a shortage of ideas. There’s a shortage of execution.”
So here’s a few simple ways to begin creating unwavering faith behind your ideas – so you can (gasp!) DO something about them.
1. Consider HOW you share your ideas.
Okay – let’s just SAY that you’re sharing your idea with a friend. And let’s just say that you do it with the self-deprecating “finisher.” (ie, “…or am I just an idiot”, “…or is that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?”, “…or does that idea just totally suck?”)
I call this the “smoke and mirrors” approach to sharing an idea. The share-ee, rather than getting to jump in and help you with your idea – now has to deal with the QUESTION you’ve presented – which is dramatic, self-defacing, and has absolutely nothing at all to do with your idea.
Imagine you’re sitting in front of Donald Trump, and he’s considering investing in your idea, your business, or your art. Would he even give you a second of his time if you closed with one of your self-deprecating questions?
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’ll be hard for them to take your idea seriously.
2 – “Procrastination-by-Inquiry.”
One night I caught an MTV video with a cool-dude electric guitar player surrounded by women clad in nothing but plastic thongs. It gave me an idea for a song.
Rather than pick up my guitar and begin writing, I did the next best thing. I waited!
Then I waited some more!
Then I called my friend Kathy. I explained about the video and about my idea for the song – and then began a long litany of reasons my idea was so boring, and did she think it was a stupid idea, and should I just give up on everything in my life?
After a long pause, Kathy said, “I’ll 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.
(By the way, that song I mentioned became my most requested song ever.)
3 – Be careful WHO you share your idea with
I’m guessing there’s probably about five people in your life with one common trait:
They’re the WORST people you could EVER share a new idea with. They’ll trample all over it. They’ll tell you it’s a terrible idea – and yes you ARE, in fact, insane.
So, then, why are we compelled to share our ideas with these five folks?
Well, the truth is: they provide an amazing service. In fact, we secretly LOVE these people and how they trash our ideas with bone-chilling sarcasm.
Because then we never have to do anything about them! We don’t have to 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 reruns of The Biggest Loser on the Lifestyle channel! Woohoo!
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.
Here’s a question that will end all questioning, all excuses, and will make you the most productive kid on your block.
“What is the very next step I need to take?”
When I knew I wanted to be a songwriter, I bought a new guitar. Then I signed up for lessons. Then I’d sit in my Georgetown apartment and learn riffs while a metronome ticked along in the background.
At no time, during the implementing of these steps could anyone say to me: “Are you INSANE?? You’re playing SCALES? Have you LOST YOUR MIND?”
No. Because I was simply taking the next step.
Here’s a secret I’ve learned about execution:
Getting an 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, big dramas and big emotional hooks – and it can MATCH your big idea. Tit for tat.
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.
It is said that 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, our hooks, 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.
Decision gives legs to intentions.
Make a decision. Tell someone you’re going to do it. Move forward. Then wake up tomorrow and decide again.
Anytime your faith wavers, decide again.
Anytime it wavers after that, decide again.
Repeat until successful.