Ever had an idea pop into your head, but you immediately second guessed it? You’re in a room full of highly-educated, highly-qualified and highly-experienced white collars who seem to have it all together all the time. They think on their feet and know just what to say and how to say it when they’re pitching their ideas. And suddenly, when we take notice in their brilliance, we begin to question our own. Yeah, I’ve totally been there.
We see ourselves like the Instagram versus reality memes in most situations. But when we give in to playing the comparison game, we so easily start to doubt who we are and what we are capable of offering others. Whether we’re type A or type B personalities, our creativity, our ideas, and our dreams are incredibly invaluable in today’s world of copycats — as a friend of mine once told me, a little gumption and moxie goes the distance. As you continue to grow in your field and learn more about yourself in the process, here are ways to take initiative on your ideas:
Let’s plan! Pick up your pen, paper, and laptop and strategize it all out.
Many of our ideas die quickly because we simply didn’t come up with a plan of action for next steps. Whenever an idea comes to mind, write it out in detail. In doing so, we’re giving our creative brain a chance to create and innovate without feeling the fear of being rejected by ourselves.
Next, ask yourself, “With this idea in my hands, what resources do I need to accomplish this bad boy? What do I need to do in order to get the wheels in motion?” Then take a few more minutes to map out action steps that require something of you. Maybe it’s a phone call you should make. Or perhaps, it’s reaching out on Facebook to an old friend who has relevant insight for what you’re trying to do.
Whatever the connection is, make it happen, babe. Some of the greatest ideas have been left dormant because of the neglect to create a plan of execution and actually follow through with those steps. Instead of letting something fall through the cracks, stay motivated and dedicated to your own ideas.
Build a resourceful team to both delegate to and hold you accountable.
Come on, ladies! It’s not about what you have; it’s all about who you know. So many times as creatives, we get caught up in wanting to do everything ourselves. Especially when you wear multiple hats in a business or side venture, you can easily feel the pressure to utilize every single skill you have in order to accomplish goals. But guess what,
You don’t have to do it all!
Delegation is a powerful practice that can make or break your day in the workplace. Learn to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your own team, and ask for help. Yes, that’s right. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s an acknowledgement that there is strength in numbers.
A freelancing creative I know puts it this way every time: it takes a village. In community, we find huge accountability and the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another’s intellect. Surrounding ourselves by the right people can help us not only further develop our initiatives but take those ideas to their next level. When our own coworkers are passionate about the ideas enough to back us up, we’ve won half the battle. The more people buy into our vision, the stronger the support will be when we’re implementing the new idea. Whether it’s three people or thirty people, having a team to depend on is a crucial part of the process.
Do your homework before someone else does.
A passionate and well-informed leader of any initiative will quickly win the hearts of its critics. Why? Because people can sense when someone has cared enough to do their homework on any given topic or social issue. Make it a priority to hustle hard for the information you need to know in order to accomplish your initiative. What are the ins and outs of the industry you’re looking to serve? Or what are the current frustrations or problems being experienced by the people who will be affected by your idea?
By highlighting these issues, we bring awareness to our critics and an opportunity to learn more about the current state of a business venture, creative field, or company. We don’t know what we don’t know. By investing time to learn, we’re setting ourselves up for a better chance of receiving support within our initiative. Bring out the statistics — what are the numbers to support your stance on a given topic that affects your workplace? People will respect the time and the effort we put into our own projects.
Stay active in your pursuit of the end goal.
Whether you know it or not, you are creative. You are brilliant. You have something to say. In knowing this truth, it’s important to then realize how much of an enemy complacency is to our imagination. Ideas will always thrive upon the multiplication of our efforts — and not the subtraction. What does arithmetic have to do with it? Everything, lady! What this means to us is that we need to make a constant, conscious effort every day and every moment we can to advance our progress. It means when we could sit around and wait for someone to call us with an answer, we’re actually staying up until three o’clock in the morning to send out as many follow-up emails until we discover the answer for ourselves. It means choosing to go the extra mile when other people are trying to take short cuts.
Regardless of how many closed doors or nos you may face, persistence is worth the disappointment. In the words of our beloved Rocky Balboa, “It ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” We all face rejection at some point within our lives. Maybe a coworker will doubt your abilities, a friend will think your idea is lame, or an executive will overlook the idea. Instead of letting the rejection become a state of being, we can leverage our rejection as a simple redirection of where to go.
You turned left and found a dead end? Turn right. Your big idea failed through the cracks? Try again, babe. Part of being a creative or visionary is choosing to appreciate our fumbles as lessons to be learned and not as definitive proclamations over our identity. When we fail, it’s part of being a human — heck, it’s part of life. By no means does it make you a failure when your efforts have led to no results.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let your dreams, ideas or visions hold a shelf-life — they need to be heard. In a time where people’s thoughts are being blasted into every medium out there, own your voice and share what’s on your heart. What if your idea could evoke the change your workplace needs? A little self-confidence goes a long, long way… and so does a good red cup of Starbucks Peppermint Mocha.