How many times throughout the day do you have an idea? How many times do you fail to take any action on your ideas and move your ideas forward? How many times have you failed to make a great idea happen? Yet, how many of you remember every time you did make some idea happen in your life, your work, or your community? Do you remember the energy, joy, elation, and happiness that flowed with it? Even when it was hard, it was worth it.
To begin, you need to start remembering and reconnecting with your imaginative self and getting those big, hairy, audacious ideas out of your head and visible. To do this, and not lose ideas over time and circumstance, means you have to take your ideas and anchor them in reality. Anchoring an idea is important, because most of our ideas die before they see the light of day. In other words, they never make it out of our minds and into our speaking or writing.
Close your eyes for a minute or two and think of the last time you were inspired about something. What was it? How did you feel when you thought about it, talked about it, worked on it? Energized? Excited? Optimistic? Hopeful? Passionate? Anchor that memory and feeling into your mind. Now write it down. Read it out loud to yourself. Did reading it energize you? What if you read that weekly for the rest of your life? You have just experienced how to capture the energy of your ideas and keep them going.
The goal of this practice is to get all ideas out of your head and get them visible to your eyes. The practice itself is simple. All ideas are written down, big and small. So many of our great ideas never make it out of our heads. We kill them automatically before they even have a chance to see the light of day or the support of anyone else. This not only kills the idea, but it can slowly crush your spirit and drain your energy.
Anchoring: How to Capture Your Big Ideas
- Take a pen or pencil, type, or use my favorite smartphone tool of voice to text and make a habit of writing down each idea you have as it occurs to you (or as soon as you can).
- Do not allow input from those little voices in your head telling you whether it’s good or bad. (I know you have them. We all do.)
- Don’t worry about punctuation or whether it makes sense. Just let it flow out of you like a river.
- There is no magic length, either. It can be one sentence or it can be pages. Just get it out of your mind and visible to your eyes.
- Every week, take 15 minutes to review all the ideas you captured that week, and see which ones you want to move forward with. I love Sundays to complete this step, as we tend to be more creative and open on weekends (or whatever your days off are if you work a different schedule).
- Pick the ideas you want to make happen and write them powerfully. By powerfully, you should look for limiting-type words in the ideas you want to pursue, and take them out of the idea. The phrases ‘try to,’ ‘hope to,’ and ‘want to’ are psychological tricks that give us a get-out-of-jail-free card from making the idea happen. There is no trying, hoping, or wanting to make an idea happen. You work on it, or you don’t.
- Then, commit to taking 5 minutes (yes I just said 5 minutes) of action each day and be amazed how fast you can move an idea forward!