(sorry for that clickbaity title. but you're here so it clearly worked)
Ever wanted to do something – start a blog, make a career change, cut your hair, invite a new friend to dinner – but been too scared to do it?
Now, I don’t gamble. Casinos actually make me very uncomfortable. There’s something unsettling about being in the same room as a drunk couple in cocktail attire, an elderly woman in SpongeBob pajamas and that dude in the corner who’s probably killed a man, or three, with no real indication from the outside world as to what time of day or year it is.
I don't normally gamble but I feel confident enough to employ the saying "Vegas odds" when I say that Vegas odd are that you were scared of failure. Even better odds are that you were scared of failure because you were comparing your idea to someone else’s.
Am I rich yet?
Put a dime on that, baby. (Psst! I just Googled gambling terms and learned that a "dime" is $1,000. Did you know that?)
Next time this happens to your idea, I urge you to put down your phone. Stop comparing that grounded, 2-year-old business to your business plan, stop social media stalking the girl you want to invite to dinner to see if her friends are cooler than you, stop wishing that your dream looked like someone else’s already attained reality.
Put down the phone and take a walk. Do some meditation, call your mom, drink some mid-range rosé and, when you come back to yourself, remember that your idea is a good one. Don’t believe me? Here’s three signs that your idea is, as the kids say, absolute fire:
1. You’re comparing it to other people’s ideas.
I know I kind-of just told you to stop doing this, but the fact that you had to be told is a start. It means you care. It means your wheels are turning. Some of the best advice I’ve received from small business owners and artists is to accept that there are millions of people out there writing stories, making art and going after goals similar to yours. The trick is to find the balance between knowing that and knowing what makes yours unique – and I think sometimes the defining factor is simply: you.
Own your idea. Pitch it with pride. Identify the flaws in it before anyone else can and mark them as areas for improvement. Acknowledge the things that deserve to be congratulated and congratulate yourself. If you care enough about your idea to look at it objectively while maintaining your confidence when it's questioned, go after it. Keep standing by it.
2. It doesn’t feel easy but it feels necessary.
I’m not saying that everything new has to be sleepless-nights, tear-inducing levels of hard – one of my favorite business owners/bloggers/babes talks about that here.However, pursuing a new idea usually feels challenging at least in the beginning and on an emotional level because change is hard. The decision to go from long, wavy hair to posh, inverted bob can feel monumental. Even with something as superficial as a haircut, you're asking yourself to step into a place of unknown. New ideas present lots of uncertainty: you are uncertain of people’s reactions (until, of course, they love it), you are uncertain of your success (until, of course, you find it), you are uncertain of the next step (until, of course, you take it).
Your idea probably doesn’t feel effortless but I’m guessing that it feels pretty damn important? If it didn’t, you’d have let it go by now and wouldn't be reading this post. Unless you're my mom. Hi mom.
But even my mom might be here because she's got amazing, scary, challenging and completely compulsory ideas. In fact, I know she does. When an idea, even if it's just a haircut, feels like you’re on the verge of both an obligation and an opportunity, it’s probably worth exploring. Obligation without opportunity usually feels like work (not the good kind) and opportunity with obligation? Well that can feel pretty nice but can be hard to stick. When you feel them both, you know you've got the makings of a delicious, fresh-baked good idea.
3. It’s yours.
This is important. Perhaps the most important. (and if this sign isn’t there, then you might want to consider having a whole different talk with yourself) If the idea you’re doubting is yours, if it is your dream, your opinion, your haircut, your own unique and creative spin on life and the direction you can take it, then it’s a good one.
I’m not saying every idea will be a success in the traditional sense of the word. I can't promise every business plan will turn into an empire. I can't guarantee your new haircut will be the one you stick with forever. All I’m saying is that it’s a good idea. Even if it fails.
An acquaintance of mine who I deeply admire recently opened up on Instagram about her tendency to fill her life with people that, like her, are on the path of growth and are constantly looking to access a higher potential. People with “hearts that want to beat as powerfully and wholly as they possibly can.”
I’m going to make another “dime bet” here and say that people like that, people like us, go after their ideas and probably don’t mind admitting when those ideas don’t go as planned. People who value growth don’t dwell too long on regret. They don’t redefine their ideas as a bad in retrospect.
An idea that yields a different outcome than you expected or intended shouldn’t be defined as a bad one. After all, it was just an idea. There is circumstance and execution to consider as well. But more importantly, ideas that don’t end the way we expect can be cathartic and transformative. They can lead to even better, brighter, wilder ideas down the road.
They can most certainly lead to more good ideas*.
*Oh and what makes a good idea, you ask? Scroll up to find out! Hehe. Happy Belated Groundhog Day.