Sometimes you get one of those ideas. An idea that won’t shut up. An idea that whispers in your ear ever so sweetly and demands your attention riiiiight about the time you’re finally falling asleep. An idea that, when shoved in your metaphorical brain closet where you cram your ideas that you just don’t have time or energy for, goes full Jumanji board on your ass, banging on the door to that closet, complete with metaphorical brain monkeys and all.
I had one of those ideas recently, just three weeks before my wedding. You know, the time in your life when you have even less time to deal with those nagging ideas than normal? And this idea was special, because it was so far outside of my wheel house and comfort zone that I felt like my brain was, at this point, just fucking with me. So I rolled my eyes at it and gave it the old, “not now honey”, and continued on with my regularly scheduled program of running my current businesses and planning my wedding.
Then a funny thing happened; the moment my seatbelt was fastened and my chair placed in an upright position on the flight to my honeymoon, that idea showed right back up as if it had never been banished to the brain closet at all. But this time I had 19 hours to kill, and had an inkling that unless I took a meeting with this idea, it very well may never leave me the hell alone.
So I listened. And wrote. And lit up with more excitement and anticipation and optimism than I’ve had for an idea in a while. Every time I completed a page of notes, up sprang another wave of new ideas to build on the ideas before them. It was an idea tsunami, and I was happy to let it carry me away to sea.
And then everything worked out perfectly and I made millions of dollars and we all lived happily ever after. THE END.
What actually happened next was a good month and a half of me second-guessing whether this was actually a valid, worthwhile, manageable business idea, running it by a select group of friends and colleagues, talking myself into and out of it every few days, and even consulting my old wise friends the Tarot cards to figure out how to proceed. (They said go for it.)
After nearly a full month of Sunday hot tub brainstorm sessions with one of my oldest friends and trusted confidants, it was settled: the idea would be allowed to exit the brain closet and show me what it was made of. Oh, and that hot tub friend? She’s now my co-founder.
A funny thing happens when you open yourself up to possibilities, be they business ideas, new relationships, opportunities, whatever. Suddenly things start to feel coincidental, serendipitous, easy. The missing pieces you were so hung up on in the beginning are suddenly no big deal, and the exact right person to help you happens to text you out of the blue. You tell a few more friends about it and out of nowhere you find yourself being introduced to people who have just the right advice to give. A good rule of thumb for life: if things feel easy and simple, you’re probably on the right track. It’s called synchronicity, and let me tell you, it’s a delight.
So now what? Now we build. We continue brainstorming. We organize. We iterate. We pivot. We strategize. We have more hot tub sessions. We figure it out as we go.
There is no happy ending here, at least not yet. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is finding things in our lives that light us up, give us something to stare out a car window and daydream about, and make us giddy to share more details as they come with our friends and family.
There’s absolutely no point in being an entrepreneur if you don’t appreciate and live for the journey of taking a pesky idea out of the brain closet, breathing life into it, watching it grow, and sometimes, watching it die. That’s where the good shit is. The adrenaline, the lessons, the failures, the wins. Those entrepreneur drugs that we all can’t seem to quit.
So, next time a tenacious idea comes barreling through your brain, maybe take a meeting with it. It might just end up being your new dealer.