Ideas are intoxicating.
You are peacefully walking along, minding your own business, and suddenly this BRILLIANT idea shows up! It feels like making eye contact with the most gorgeous person in the room and noticing that they aren’t looking away. They want you. And all you can think about is getting closer to see if this person is really as stunningly perfect as they appear from way over there.
So, you take the idea into the quiet and private room in your mind. You can’t wait to pick it apart, learn its greatness, think of ways you will use it to bring great pleasure to your life and work.
It’s just like the beginning of a love affair. That person comes closer and your giddy heart and imaginative mind conspire to create a passionate connection – as long as that person doesn’t do anything drastic to get in the way of this conspiracy, you embark on an exciting adventure in coupling (for however long.)
There is danger here. I’m sorry – you know how I hate to interrupt a thrilling interlude.
We just don’t think straight in the throes of novel passion – with people and with our own ideas.
Like that time you decided, on a whim, to call and ask on a date that guy who comes into your office every day– only to have him explain, with great discomfort on both of your parts, that he is gay. Then your office mate explains that she already knew this – everyone knew this but you, apparently.
Or, the time you decided to start a cheesecake bakery because everyone raves so enthusiastically about your cheesecake only to realize that you actually despise sitting in the kitchen all day waiting for cheesecakes to bake.
Exciting ideas can be so… enticing.
Here are four things you should do when you come up with a really exciting idea.
- Write it down, in detail. Just write out everything you need to say about your idea so that you won’t spend the next week trying to hold onto important details for fear you will forget.
- Put it away for one week. Try not to think about it – or more realistically, think about it as little as possible. If you’re convinced that you must act on it for fear someone else will come along and do so, you shouldn’t be. Not to squelch your enthusiasm, but surely by now you’ve heard a zillion times how there are no new ideas. This means that someone else has come up with your idea already and if they haven’t acted on it in however long since there were actually new ideas in existence, then surely you’ve got a few more days. If you simply cannot get yourself to wait a week, then wait 72 hours. Or wait 24 hours. Just WAIT before you expend a bunch of time and energy on the idea.
- Read your idea and see if it’s still really exciting. It may not be. If not, move on. You’ll have other exciting ideas, I promise.
- Share it with three trusted and smart people who have your best interests at heart. Listen to what they have to say and take appropriate research or other action. If I hadn’t done this, I would have started a childcare center at one point in my life and I can say with great confidence, that would have been a very bad idea.
Save yourself a bunch of time by not diving in too deeply before you have the chance to really get to know your idea and its place in your overall goals, strengths, lifestyle.
(I hear you should do the same with your love affairs, but I was always terrible about that so I can’t speak well on it. Except that one time, about eight years ago, it worked out really well for me to take a risk… so, I guess I have to follow up with the idea that some ideas are worth a risky plunge… you decide which are which.)