We all have them. The old saying is that only death and taxes are inevitable. I would add ideas to the list. Unlike the other two, ideas are fun—and unavoidable. Why, just today I bet you had a few.
The problem is most of us don’t think our ideas are worthy, or we assume that ideas have to be groundbreaking, noble, or grand to earn the moniker. Or they have to come complete with superhuman drive and unwavering self-belief. The idea that changed my life and career had none of the above. It was not new or noble and was certainly riddled with doubt and the “Can I be bothered to do what it takes?” question. My idea was to start my own lipstick brand because I didn’t like any of the shades and glittery, slimy-feeling textures out there. I wanted a more 1940s approach to lipstick.
I was only 18 at the time and had no training, no money, and no guidance. What I did have was curiosity. From that came a living of designing lipsticks. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, triumphs and mistakes, and have had hundreds of ideas since. Some good. Some not so good. Some I have acted on and many more I haven’t. The only difference between me and anyone else in this regard is that I have learned to sift through my ideas and minimize my fears enough to explore. You can too. Here’s how.
Lower the bar. It isn’t often that I suggest this, as most things in life rely on striving harder. However, so many of us miss out on bona fide ideas because we don’t think they are worthy enough to go anywhere. That may be the case in the end, but now is not the time to decide that. Consider every idea worthy until proven otherwise.
Let them fester. Once you have acknowledged your ideas, sit with them for a while. See which ones you keep coming back to. They may not be the most eureka ones or exciting ones, but if you find yourself thinking about one or two in particular, there’s a reason for this. Look into them.
Choose your fears. People have marveled at how fearless I must be because I have so often acted on my ideas. Not true at all. I have a great deal of fear of failure and of wasting money, time, and energy. The good news is that I also have a fear of NOT trying. It only slightly outweighs the other. And that is all you need to do as well.
Remember that you will survive. I have found that the best ideas I have are the ones where I know I’ll survive—even if the idea doesn’t. If I feel like I can’t face the outcome of it not working, that tells me I won’t be able to give the idea a proper go. The best ideas come with a strange calm and acceptance. The not-so-good ones tend to induce panic. Take the time to feel the difference and then…GO FOR IT.