Some friends came to visit unexpectedly yesterday and like buses, they three came on the same evening, a week night to boot. It was lovely. It’s always nice to see warm, smiling faces and open one’s doors to friends, especially as we live quite a way from many of them since moving down here to the south coast.
When something isn’t planned for, there are no expectations and so in many ways, things unfold organically and naturally. Rather like conversations that have no agenda, the words ebb and flow and take the participants on a journey that hopefully we’re all engaged in. My favourite kinds of conversations are when ideas pop up. Someone is talking about something and my mind is stimulated by the words I’m hearing and like tiny trains meandering along the tracks of my mind, little thought-passengers and ideas are being collected at various stations along the way. Sometimes those ‘idea trains’ get enough momentum to pop up and be expressed vocally – and they can just be the perfect thing at the perfect time. A golden idea that stimulates more discussion or inspires new thoughts in others.
“Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.” Albert Einstein
My friend and I had one of those moments this morning. As she spoke about her current trade and shared a sense of what she wanted, I expressed what was coming up for me, a name that encapsulated a lot of what she was trying to convey. That then sparked off a whole load of ideas and tangents that excited us both. All morning and beyond we explored the concept, which we refined and re-shaped as we discussed it further. My great pleasure was in seeing how that one little golden thought had stimulated and rejuvenated the wonderfully creative ideas my friend had within her. The next step is putting those ideas into action.
“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” Vincent van Gogh
Here are some tips on getting in to action:
Free flow thinking:
You’ve had the idea, but where can it go? What can it become? Mind maps are a great way to explore these thoughts and let your mind flow freely, rather than writing linear lists or comprehensive documents in these early stages.
Sit on the golden egg:You know you have a great idea, so once you’ve explored it freely for a while, just be with it. Sleep on it, rest with it and let it take shape on its own. Feel it out for a while. I’m not talking months or even weeks – just think of it as a small pause in which to breathe and let the dust of your mind settle a little.
Then it’s time to really start talking about it and observe how you talk about it. Are you excited? Do you feel a lot of energy around it? Is your imagination stimulated as you share it? How are others responding? Be open to what can they contribute to your thinking. Are their more golden ideas that come out of that process? What emotions are you feeling when you talk about or write stuff down?
Craft a vision:
Now write your vision; something that really motivates you. Don’t worry about the ‘how’ yet. Let your words inspire you. Think big rather than small. Anything is possible.
Set some goals or objectives:
Start converting that free-flow thinking into more tangible actions. What needs to be researched? Who do you know who can help you? Finance, skills, ideas, space, stock, design, writing, networkers, movers and shakers…when you really look at who you know, it’s amazing what support structure you can build up for yourself. In his book ‘The Business Playground: where creativity and commerce collide’, successful businessman and creative entrepreneur Dave Stewart of Eurhythmics fame talks about how important it is to partner up with people, even if that means letting go of some of the control. He says, “I’d rather have 10% of something that took off than 100% of something that was still on the table”.
Look at the time frames here too, but also don’t overwhelm yourself with too much to do. Think bite-sized chunks, but within a given period.
Remember what you know already:
You are a font of knowledge. Use that accumulated experience, wisdom and the skills you have and put in to practice what you know already. Look at those goals and apply yourself to the quick-wins first so you get some momentum going, and you feel a genuine sense of achievement. This will keep you motivated when looking to achieve the other goals. And keep learning from what you’re doing. How many times have you heard that entrepreneurs often fail at 9 out of the ten things they’ve tried, but that last idea then really delivered?
Stick at it:
Don’t give in if you truly believe in your golden idea. Persevere and hold your ground. It may take time, but if you’re in action you will get there.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.” Goethe