The New Idea Big Dipper
Read this blog post if you notice that initially, your new ideas seem very exciting, but then quickly they seem less attractive, you start to doubt yourself and it’s hard to follow through with it, especially when the next shiny new idea is already queued up inside your brain ready to force itself into your awareness (usually at 2am, or any time your hands are full or you don’t have a pen handy).
It happened to me just last week.
An idea downloaded to me via The Universe (or possibly thanks to my 3rd coffee of the day).
Instantly I was convinced that this was The Best Thing Ever and that in just a few month’s time I could triple my email list, double my income, and secure my status as The Marketing Legend of the Internet.
I booked a session with my coach, so I could talk out loud at someone to help me organise my thoughts and wrangle them into some sort of plan (my cats and husband were all begging for mercy by this point as they had heard all they could handle about the Big New Idea).
48 hours later, just as the dates and project plan were coming together, I suddenly realised I was making a terrible mistake and should definitely NOT do this thing because I’d be investing a lot of time and money on a thing when I had no idea what the outcome would be.
But wait, isn’t that what being a business owner involves?
Instead of swapping my time and energy for a guaranteed salary and paid time off, I chose to invest myself into building a business that may or may not enable me to pay myself.
OK, so now I’d talked myself back around to at least considering taking a risk on the Big New Idea…..
And now I’m dizzy.
And this isn’t the first time.
Curious as to why each Big New Idea triggers this wild ride, I did some research.
It’s not just me - it’s other people too.
Actually, it’s not us - it’s our brains, playing little tricks on us.
It’s caused by a combo of The Honeymoon Effect and The Sour Grapes Effect.
The Honeymoon Effect
Yep, it means what you think it would mean
The Honeymoon Effect is that initial rush of excitement and enthusiasm we often experience when we have a new idea or embark on a new project.
We feel energized and motivated by the possibilities and opportunities this Big New Idea has brought us.
Sour Grapes Effect - What we get when the Big New Idea seems unattainable
The Sour Grapes Effect takes hold when we start to see the Big New Idea as unattainable - a grape that is just out of reach (which isn’t going to mean anything to you if you’re not familiar with the story, so you can read it in the Aesop for children book here)
Because you don’t think you can have it, you start to doubt the value of your idea, finding faults and reasons why it may not work or be as great as you originally thought. You may start to question whether your idea is really feasible, or whether it’s worth the time and effort to pursue.
Riding Out the Honeymoon-Grapes Rollercoaster
This cycle of unrealistic expectations and over confidence, followed by hyper-criticism can mean we (and by we, I mean me) bounce from idea, to idea, without ever actually implementing a thing.
Here’s how we (I) can get a grip, ride it out, and decide when an idea is worth taking action on:
1. Relax - this is ‘normal’
Now you know this is a thing, you know the initial euphoria is going to wear off, so don’t jump into action too quickly, but also don’t get too despondent when the doubts start to creep in.
2. Use the Honeymoon period
While you’re not taking action, you can still harness that magical initial rush by recording all the reasons why you think this is a good idea, how that links to your mission/goals/ambitions. At this stage I also get extreme clarity about the action I need to take. So I make plans, but I don’t do the things.
3. Use the Sour Grapes period
Take the time to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of your idea, and consider whether it aligns with your overall business strategy and goals.
4. Ask people you trust
Even if you don’t pay any attention to what they say, you can learn a lot from just saying your idea out loud, and feeling how you respond to their reaction.
5. Set a decision date
Make a date with yourself a week or two in the future, when you will spend some time reflecting on the idea and making a decision on whether to move forward with it or not. Knowing this decision date is coming can take away the pressure to do something RIGHT NOW!!!!
And when you get to the date, you may be able to renew your enthusiasm for the idea now it’s passed through the Sour Grapes phase.
OK that’s a wrap.
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