How to choose which idea to pursue when you have SO many

7-23-13

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Last time we talked about how to make your ideas happen, but what happens when you have SO many ideas that you don’t know where to start?

Having “too many” ideas isn’t a bad thing. You’re creative, you’re a great brainstormer and you’re probably multi-passionate.

But, what happens when you can’t decide which idea to pursue is that you don’t follow-through on any of your ideas.

Believe me, I know.

I was stuck in idea paralysis for pretty much the entire first half of 2013.

I would plan out which idea I was going to work on and then I’d get “bored” and move onto the next idea, not finishing anything I started.

Then, I’d choose another idea, write the outline and start brainstorming. And then I’d stop. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

“Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.”

- Mary Kay Ash

Over the past few weeks, as I’ve been creating this new offering that will be launching (very!) soon, I’ve started to realize a few things.

First, you don’t have to create the end-all-be-all product.

You just need to create something that helps at least one person. If you can help 10 people, even better. If you can help 100, thousands or millions, you’ve got a good thing going.

One of the things that always stops me in my tracks is resistance and this feeling of wanting to pack everything I know into every offering. What happens then, though, is you end up with something that isn’t specific enough to understand.

You have to understand that you

Second, adapt my motto, IT’S NOT A NOW THING.

Before, everytime I got a new brilliant idea, I’d want to act on it immediately. That meant that the project I was working on got pushed to the backburner and eventually completely pushed off the whole damn stove. That process would continue repeating itself.

Now, I tell myself that “It’s not a now thing“.

Everytime I get a new idea, I write it down in my Moleskin and then once a month I review my idea notebook and add the still good ideas to an Evernote folder, creatively titled Project Ideas. Then, I review my next 3-6 months to decide what ideas I want to focus on. Now, of course this is constantly changing, but this new process allowed me to focus on 1 idea at a time.

Take it one step further and put a sticky note on your computer so you’re constantly reminded IT’S NOT A NOW THING.

its-not-a-now-thing

Third, choose the one idea you want to focus on right now.

This is the only idea you are going to focus on, besides your normal marketing activities.

In the future, you might be able to simultaneously work on 2 ideas, but for now let’s focus on 1 and see how that goes.

Choose that 1 idea and tell me in the comments below that you’ve decided on it and you’re commited to following through on this, while pushing all other great ideas aside.

Once you finish this project, you’ll move on to the next one. A new Rinse. Wash. Repeat. One that is much more productive.

So, how do you choose that one idea to pursue right now?

My favorite way is to choose the one idea that you can easily get out there in the shortest amount of time.

When you’re training your brain to follow through on ideas, it’s best to start with something easy that won’t lead to too much resistance. Then, once you’re gotten good at following through on the small ideas, you’ll be more prepared to take on the larger projects.

Did you choose your idea?

Awesome!

Make a declaration in the comments below that you are going to focus on this ONE idea all the way through to execution. Don’t worry about wondering if it’s the “right” idea to work on at this time, because the only way you’ll know is to follow through and see how things turn out.

 

 

I’m also baking up something fresh to help you make those ideas happen. It’s a live group coaching program where we go from research → launch in 5 weeks.

I’m taking the scary parts of following through on ideas (doubt, the unknown, fear) and flipping it on it’s head so I can provide support, feedback and accountability. The three things that we all need to feel more confident with what we’re putting out there and make things happen.

Want to be the first to know when the program launches? Click the image below to sign up to the VIP list.

getontheviplist-blog

Additional Resources to Peruse:

Ideas are a Dime a Dozen (article on Forbes)

 


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  • http://www.malynn.ca/ Michelle Clement

    Love this! Definitely idea paralysis is something I struggle with! To a fault. I’m kind of the queen of start-and-not-finish-for-a-long-time. I love your tips for pushing through with one idea. And I definitely fill notebooks up for when I need something new to focus on! Follow through is so important in relation to the whole idea thing… :)

    • Amanda Genther

      Ahhh! You sound just like me! I’m finding though, that even though I have tons of ideas… when I give myself enough space to really focus on 1 idea at a time and follow through on it, it creates momentum for my next projects.

      • http://www.malynn.ca/ Michelle Clement

        Yes! I totally agree. I have to focus on one and get her all done, but I usually have to hide the other stuff or get some kind of reward system set up for myself to keep focused on that one thing. :) he he. Great article!

        • Amanda Genther

          Thanks Michelle!

  • Egle Karalyte

    very good tips! it is easy to get ‘stuck’ when lots of ideas are in your head and you can’t make a choice.

    • Amanda Genther

      Yes, SO easy! The faster you move on, the faster you can get to those other great ideas!

  • http://thestylester.com/ Ritu

    I really needed this post right now. I’ve been in major idea paralysis. I can’t even decide which topic to do my newsletter on this week! Thanks for helping me to finally decide. It’s going to be on follow through. :) Thanks Amanda!

    • Amanda Genther

      Sometimes, you also have to just force yourself to make a decision.

      Lately, when I’ve been struggling with a decision, I just pick one and state it out loud (thankfully I work from home!) and then move on.

      I feel so much better once I do!

  • jonesfordesign

    I have an iPad cash register offering along with a retail store (programs and products all it’s own) AND a collaborative web design program. And this was AFTER I did a lot of ‘narrowing down’. But I’m focusing as much of my focus as I can spare (I’ll call it 80%) on getting the collaborative web design launched and all systematic because it’s the closest to being ‘done’ and will bring in money and fans the fastest :) This was not even in the business plan when I launched, but it was in high demand and will give me more time to do my iPad Cash Register/Cloud Business School RIGHT when I get back to it. ‘It’s not a now thing’.

  • http://www.sandeejackson.com/ Sandee Jackson

    Simple and effective! I LOVE the idea of looking at idea generation as this ongoing process and not an as-needed item on your to do list. Also love the reminder that our work is ongoing, ever evolving; we can tweak, add, even subtract to our heart’s content. Thanks for the reminder, Amanda!

  • http://www.wellroundedherbs.com/ Sarah Sorvillo

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m just starting my business and I have SO MANY ideas!!! I kept flittering between them, getting a little done on each. But guess what? Then NOTHING gets done! That post it is going on my desk today.

  • Kia Perry | Girly+Inspired

    Amanda you always know what’s going in this crazy head of mine! This is just what i needed. I’m in the process of starting my own design studio and I’ve been stuck for the longest because of fear and because of the millions of other ideas I have like a workshop, an online shop, etc.

    I’ve decided to solely focus on getting my design studio off the ground FIRST! Then my other ideas will come later and be that much better because I’ve followed through with starting my own business!

    Thanks a million!

  • http://blog.bettyreddesign.com/ Nesha- Betty Red Design

    I so needed to read this today! I’ve had so many ideas about workshops and eBooks that I want to create- but I never create them because I’m so flippin’ indecisive!!

    I did write one eBook on niching your creative business, but I’ve never showed it to anyone. So when I read ‘choose the one idea that you can easily get out there in the shortest amount of time’ I knew it was this book.

    Cheers, Amanda!

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  • Malea

    My one thing right now is actually following through on writing an article that I’ve thought about for a long time. I’m always making little notes for article and book ideas, but I never sit down and actually DO anything with the ideas. We had friends visiting the past few days and the husband half helped me flush out one particular idea. Now I’m obsessed with it! :) It helps that he’ll probably keep bugging me until I get it done. I’ve committed to having a full outline by Weds, intro paragraph by Friday, and work on query/pitch letters to magazines next weekend. Then, have a first draft complete by the following Wednesday.

    • Amanda Genther

      Love this, Malea! Yes, follow-through is key here, and honestly is a practice. You have to actually practice the follow-through, so that eventually it’s just engrained in your brain. Good luck and let me know how it goes :)