Ideas come to me quite often. They just jump into my mind and I make a point to acknowledge them, to say HI, and explore them. Sometimes they are big, things that can’t happen without a lot of work put into them, but a bunch of them are also easily executed. I once read somewhere that what makes an idea good is executing upon it, because whatever happens, in failure or success, you would have learned something for having taken action.
My father has always joked about how he used to “tremble” (and still does!) when he heard me say: You know what I’ve been thinking? Because no matter how crazy it sounded, I would always try to make it happen.
Some examples, you ask? Here are a few of the “personal” ones, the ones that I feel have impacted my life’s trajectory.
– At 17 I had the “idea” to go to England (we lived in Venezuela!) for the summer to perfect my English. I still don’t know how my very conservative Sicilian Parents said yes, in a time where there was no Internet, cell phones, or WhatsApp to check on your kid on the other side of the pond. I lived with a British Family, in the beautiful town of Bournemouth, and was an experience that defined me. I also lost 16 pounds during that time (no Italian homemade food anywhere on site), which undoubtedly helped me become more self-confident!
– At 22 I had the “idea” that going to Miami to pursue my master’s right after getting my Bachelor’s made sense. My parents supported me again, against their preference, and 25 years later, that’s still where I am.
– After being laid off from Nortel I had the “idea” to take six months completely off, and go live in France to perfect my French. A lot of people around me weren’t shy in their opinion that French is a useless language (not my opinion of course!) and that learning it was a waste of time. Today, I can proudly say, that one of the most important customers our company has had is French, and if it wasn’t because I spoke their language, we would have never closed the deal.
– At 32 I was still single and struggling to meet people (I traveled a lot for work!), I had the “idea” to sign up for Match.com Back then, the whole “online” dating concept was so new that it took courage to give it a try. I am glad I didn’t dismiss it because that’s where I met my husband Don. We have been happily married since 2008 and I admit that it is kind of fun to say that “I have two kids with a guy I met online”
– 2 Years ago, Ok, Ok, at 45! I had the “idea” of creating a Podcast, with the sole intention of creating inspiring conversations that could motivate others to pursue their passions and dreams. The podcast is about to reach the 100th episode and at some point, I had thought that inviting Seth Godin (19x Best Seller Author, Marketing Guru and the creator of the podcasting course I took) to be the special guest. Convinced that he would say no, I asked anyway and He actually said YES!
Have I convinced you yet, that pursuing even the strangest of ideas is worthwhile? That most times it is US who say NO to them without giving them a fair chance?
So, can you tell me about that Idea you were thinking about?
It might have been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you!
—Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic.