One of the gifts that unite Kerri and I is what the good folks at Clifton Strengths call “Ideation.” We are idea machines. Potential lines of business to pursue, products that should be improved or invented, problems that need to be solved; you name it, we have suggestions.
Seriously, if you need help with pretty much anything, we got you.
Clearly though, there are only so many hours in a day, so while we have plenty of volume, we have to eventually make some difficult choices. There simply has to be a separation of wheat and chaff.
So how do you know when it’s time to DO something with an idea? When it’s ready to be made three dimensional and live on its own?
For me, it comes down to one simple litmus test: it won’t leave me alone.
Writing is a great example of this. All day long things happen that I think “that would make a great blog topic.” Many of them make it to the whiteboard, but very few ultimately make it to the page. The ones that do feel like they basically write themselves; the words so clear that all I have to do is let my fingers finally manifest them.
Now this doesn’t mean they are effortless, but they are relentless.
They follow me around, continually showing up, they keep coming to mind. Put simply, they start as a whisper, then become a conversation and eventually a mantra.
It happened just this morning. As I write this, it’s a Sunday and I could have slept a bit longer, but the words wouldn’t leave me alone. To honor them, I put the gist in the “Notes” app. But they continued to swirl. Finally, they urged me out of bed, made me put on a sweater and find my laptop.
This also doesn’t mean all the ideas are good or will be successful. Sometimes they prod, so I write them out, then send them to Kerri for editing. She may mark them up quite a bit or even rewrite large sections. One thing I have learned for sure is that even if the first incarnation (of any idea) isn’t good, we may eventually use the substance of it. Sometimes the idea isn’t ultimately even for us and we give it away.
We have learned to listen and wait.
My guess is, you have ideas. May I lovingly suggest you pay attention to what they are trying to tell you? Maybe you don’t know if they want to be something more, if they are viable, if they are for now or actually even for you.
Learn to notice the ones that keep coming to mind, tug at their meaning and test their viability. Let them be what they want to be, give them their moment, give them away. Whatever you do, notice them. They have something to say and you may not realize how much you need to hear them.