If you’re anything like me, new ideas run through your brain constantly. Sometimes, we come across a true gem that we just can’t stop thinking about – because it’s Brill!
Come on, you know what I’m talking about.
All rights reserved to artist Sarah McAtee.
Constant brainstorming, rapid note taking, and visions of success are all symptoms of this sort of “genius moment”. I obsess, can’t think of anything else, skip meals, get sweaty palms. . . and sometimes other symptoms as well including visions of grandeur, best case scenario, maximum outcome positive thoughts.
But then, a few days later or even a month or so the motivation behind the spectacular grand idea just seems to die and never evolves into the next step. Or you bounce the idea off of a realist and they bring you back down to earth, outlining sometimes in detail why it won’t work. Sometimes, it’s not even subtle they just poke your big balloon with a giant pin and you feel like crying.
OK maybe you don’t feel like crying but I often do. Then the evil voice inside my head starts in on it and viciously tears apart any good that I could have ever imagined was in that stupid idea.
I am my own worst critic, and am a confessed self defeatist.
It’s rather sad, because some of those ideas are serious money-making material.
If we can get a grasp on why we repeat this cycle over and over and over again, we can escape that matrix and build momentum taking our lives to the next level.
So, here are 5 reasons why the ideas in our head ends up in our own slush pile:
1. We Don’t See Any Immediate Results
Let’s face it, we have become a microwave generation. In fact the microwave just isn’t fast enough anymore. Instant messaging, drive thru orders, instant search on google, it’s what we are used to.
Ideas take time to grow. Quitting or giving up before there’s even a bud on the vine is a guaranteed way to kill a great idea. Remember what your goals are and why you were so excited about your idea in the first place.
One trick I learned is to make a road map. Brainstorm, mind map whatever you call it. Get it down, and out of your head. Create an outline, a business plan whatever it takes to see what it takes to make the idea become a plan. Think about transitioning this to a dream board to see your plan to fruition.
Write down the steps it will take to get to where you want to go. You’ll see you’re only in the beginning phases of the entire process. But, seeing the rest of your “roadmap” (including your goal) on paper will give you the boost you need to keep going.
2. Uncertain What To Do Next
This happens all of the time, but it shouldn’t stop us. It’s just the first hurdle, and we just have to do a little more research (or simply ask someone for help!), in order to jump over it.
Also, you can go back to your “roadmap” and see what the next steps are. Remember to take things one step at a time. Often the details will work themselves out as you near the next step.
“Cinch by the inch, hard by the yard.”
3. We Just Don’t Care Anymore
For whatever reason, you’ve lost sight of why you’re working so hard. When it comes to motivation, here’s what you can do:
- Remember why you were so excited about your idea in the first place! Envision what life will be like at the end of the tunnel. Revisit the gem, ooh shiny! Get yourself motivated. (And people think I’m a dork for posting my self motivational stuff!) Journaling can really help with this because you have a written reference documenting your excitement in the beginning. Revisit it, it might breathe the enthusiasm back into your plan.
- Read an inspirational book. One of my favorites is The 4-Hour WorkWeek, by Tim Ferriss. I also like Michael Hyatt and Dan Miller.
- Display your favorite quotes. At my desk, I have this quote posted up on the wall next to my computer: “The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Become.”
- Reading that always gets me going again. My favorite is framed, done in Calligraphy, very simple. It says “If not now, when?” Now that I am reminded of that, I will have to go find that one as it was moved when I relocated my “office” to a real desk and not at the kitchen table.
- Talk it out with someone. If you’re feeling low on energy, sometimes all we need is a pick me up from a buddy. That’s why so many people say it’s a lot easier to go to the gym or stay on a diet if there’s someone else there with them. My Facebook writing friends are the best on the planet. I’ve been in a local group, and it was a bunch of posturing peacocks. Everyone looked down their nose at me because I was green. It’s ok though because I’ll have the last laugh, I already have in some measure. I find that I often need a sounding board. My husband is willing, but when I am firmly in the grasp of the brainstorm frenzy describing my ideas, my eyes glistening with zeal, my husband is looking me like Martin in Finding Nemo – she’s speaking to me and I think she’s speaking English, her lips are moving but I can’t understand the words. Sometimes I wonder if he gets glimpses of the sick depravity that is in the recesses of my mind and isn’t working on his plan for what to do when I finally snap.
- Take a quick break. We often work on something so much that we forget why we’re doing it. Take a day or two off, and you’ll often see the motivation come back in no time.
4. We’re Not Certain if Our Idea is as Great as We Thought it Was
Maybe you’re having second-thoughts about your idea. Maybe it’s not as awesome as you thought. This is the thought that pops into my head more often than the others and it’s definitely a downer. It’s the reason I have dozens – yes dozens, and that is probably a gross understatement – of unfinished projects. If I were to sit down and finish every book, every poem, and every article that I started, I would be much further along. This is part of my plan for the coming years, to finish what I’ve started.
But here’s what you can do to keep your idea alive.
Simply put – think positive thoughts.
Have you ever heard of “The Law of Attraction”?
It basically states that people’s thoughts dictate the reality of their lives. In other words, think positively, and positive things will happen to you. Good juju in – good juju out!
I find it ironic that this is a Biblical principle, but the world is more attune to this than Christians.
“For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
It takes a secular book like The Secret to get Christians off their duff, and in an uproar over a concept that the world grasps – The Law of Attraction – before they will ever consider that they should be following the same basic philosophy. It isn’t difficult to figure out really, If you think you are worthless, you behave as if you are worthless. If you believe that you are a person of value, then you carry yourself, value yourself, and work towards achieving the goals that you have within you. If you want positive results then stay your mind on positive things. Makes sense to me.
Also, you have to realize that you’re not going to succeed unless you give it a shot. What’s the worst that can happen? If you’re doing business online, the worst is probably not as bad as you think it could be. If it’s getting published, seriously take a look at some of the stuff that has been published and ask yourself if they can get published, then surely I can too.
5. We See Someone Else Doing Something Similar, and It Seems Better: we Lose Hope
Okay, so someone “stole’ your idea, or beat you to it. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Here’s why:
- That fact that you see someone else doing something similar to what you had in mind is actually a good thing! In fact, it shows that it IS a great idea, that others are already using it to make money for themselves. There’s a proven market for it, and now it’s your turn to join in. And, no one else can tell the story inside your head, or get the exact plan that’s in your head. Do It! Quit being a quitter!
- The Dry Cleaners Theory: Have you ever noticed how many dry cleaners there are in one location? Here in St. Louis, there are over 100s (according to the yellow pages). My point is this: you don’t need have a unique idea in order for it to succeed. And if there’s a need for something, there’s always room for more options and solutions in the market. This is a concept that has been conveyed with affiliate marketing. You don’t need to control the market, you can do quite well with 5% of the market!
- Lastly, all you have to do is build a better mouse trap. Put some thought into why people will choose to visit your website, read your content, and purchase from you, instead of someone else. Spend some time asking yourself if you are a writer: Would I read this? Would I spend my money on this? What can I do to make it better? Does it have enough plot twists? If it’s nonfiction, have I given factual data and clear instructions? Think – engage your brain.
I hope you will agree that staying on course hurdle jumping is the backbone for the success of any business or blog, which is why I spent some extra time today. Truth be told it’s my own personal self motivational talk. I just let you listen in because I’m a freaking awesome motivational teacher! Just ask my students from CS.
Work hard, play hard. If you spent half as much time working hard for yourself as you do for a company, think where you will be in 5 years, 10 years. Not still in the stock room that’s for sure. When you follow through on your own plans you are working for yourself, to achieve your own goals not the goals of a corporate CEO. Soon you will be your own CEO. Nobody is going to work as hard for your success than you are, so what are you waiting for?
I have three potential personal assistants lined up for my next step of success. I’m hoping interviewing will begin soon.
I used some of Pat Flynn’s material in composing this. Thank You Pat! It applies to the writing life so well, and to entrepreneurial ventures as well. I have enjoyed this self-help discussion, what about you?
Leave me a comment with your next step to pursue your dreams.
Write on my friends, write on!