When you're consumed with "what's next?"
While on a walk one morning, I was listening to a business/coaching podcast and getting stoked on some new ideas.
My Creative was in its element- connecting the dots, making plans, problem solving on the fly- and as I finished my loop I was overcome with overwhelm. What started off as ideas that brought me energy quickly turned into a heavy weight to carry.
So I took my headphones out and put my notebook away and walked with my head up, just so that I could take in the surrounding beauty. I watched cows eat in a nearby field. I noticed the morning dew evaporate before my very eyes. And I relaxed.
I say this because I get all too often consumed with what’s next, with idea building, with the new thing I want to try. I too, have to reign myself in, remind myself of my values, and of what I’m building all this for.
How to slow down when your ideas pile up
If you feel like your ideas are outrunning your ability to execute them, take a deep breath and ask yourself:
Does this really need to happen right now? As creatives, new ideas can mean a couple of different things- it can be a solution to a problem we've been mulling over for a while, it can be the next step in our strategy, or it can be another shiny thing to focus on to avoid doing something that might be scary, require a lot of work, or be uncomfortable. By asking "does this really need to happen right now?", we're challenging the knee jerk reaction to make this idea come to life and instead, focus on whether it's truly something to put energy into right away.
Does this really support the big picture vision I have for myself? This question is what we call in the Co-Active Model: using a meta-view. By zooming really far we're able to see the role this idea can play in getting us where we want to go. Additionally, thinking about our big picture vision brings us back to our life purpose, our Big Audacious Goal, which helps refocus our energy and remind us of what exactly it is that we're working towards. If the idea doesn't serve a purpose with our vision, it's much easier to let it go.
What will it cost me to implement this idea? Cost, in this case, isn't about the financial cost but instead the cost of time, energy, focus, relationships, balance, values, etc. It's so easy to make a case for why something should be prioritized or added to our to-do list, especially when it's fun, honors our values, or could be useful somehow. We can always make that case. But how much will it cost you to shift things around and make space for it? With a finite amount of time, energy, and focus, prioritizing one thing, especially a new idea, undeniably means moving other things out of the way. This question really makes us confront the point: "Is it worth it?"
As creative entrepreneurs, our ability to generate ideas is one of our greatest assets.
But to be successful in business, we also need our Business Self to be just as powerful.
It's that version of us that helps The Creative channel its focus, prioritize what's important to us, and build momentum. Hopefully the framework above helps you do just that!
And remind yourself: you’re doing great.
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