Why You Need To Share Your Ideas
We need to change the mentality of keeping our ideas or work a secret.
The common response when someone finds out I’ve published a book is some variation of, “Oh, I want to write a book, too!” I then openly (and to the best of my abilities) answer any question they throw at me.
I’m not worried about them writing one. I actually get excited for them when I hear the passion in their voice. I also feel down because I know the likelihood of them actually doing it is low.
There is so much fear of failure that creeps up even before any action begins on the actual idea’s plan. This mental battle with fear is really the only difference between you and me. It is the reason why I wrote the book (or insert whatever startup or business in mind) and you didn’t. So we become idea hoarders because this fear paralysis takes over from the idea stage…leaving us to justify our inaction with whatever lame excuse we can think of (no money, no time, etc.).
If the response isn’t that they want to write a book themselves, then I start picking their brain a bit. Everyone has an idea of something they want to make or create. Some people happily share it with me, but most have a weary look on their face as they scan the situation and whether or not they should share their idea (or how much of it to share).
I can understand the fear of releasing something of your own into the world after you’ve poured time and attention and love and money into it. Will people like it? Will they criticize it? Will I have wasted time and money on this?…but why are so many people fearful to even share their ideas?
Secret: No one is going to steal your idea.
People are lazy. If they are lazy with their own lives and ideas, I wouldn’t worry about them having even more energy to focus on trying out someone else’s.
Before I go further, I’m not saying you should put your idea on blast to the world. I’m talking about sharing it with people you know and trust. Also, keep in mind I’m just talking about sharing your general idea(s), not your step-by-step plan.
“Share the meal, not the recipe.”
If you want or need to do that, then I recommend investigating some steps you could take, like a non-disclosure agreement, beforehand.
Ideas are worthless
Ideas are plentiful, and they are worthless. Execution is what adds any life and value. And remember, most people are full of fear and excuses. Every head has many ideas floating around in it. But most don’t act on any of them. Reasons for this vary from no money to no time, to whatever else excuse. But the main point is the action part is the part that’ll keep your ideas safe (that is if you actually do something about your ideas instead of just sitting on them).
So, quit the fear of sharing your ideas, and let’s recognize some of the benefits of talking about them with others.
Benefits of sharing your ideas
You are watering your idea when you talk about it. You bring it life and light when you start discussing information that helps formulate a plan. When you keep it in your head, it remains in the dark where it can easily die.
Interest and motivation around your idea are permitted to grow. People start hearing about the cultivation of an upcoming product or service and they get excited. They stay in-tune with the progress if it is something they are interested in.
Once you get into the nitty-gritty of the execution and action, it can be hard to remember the fervor and enthusiasm you held toward it at the beginning stages. Other people’s excitement can be a substitute during those times.
This community you create around your idea should start growing as soon as possible. Imagine launching a business, project, or product you were hellbent on keeping a secret until its birth? Hello, mass confusion and small sale numbers. You should start growing interest and potential clients from the moment the idea is cooking.
And if the community doesn’t start growing? Then you’re gaining market feedback. Why the lack of interest? Is it a product people will actually want or need? Are there changes you can make now in order to increase its popularity?
One personal reason I share my ideas is that the more people who know about it, the more people I have to answer to. This means forward motion must continue in my eyes. I am talking it into existence and therefore I have others expecting and waiting for progress. I use this for fuel to my fire and it keeps the passion for the idea alive during the moments of execution in which the thought of quitting can be dominating.
You open yourself up to countless resources. People can’t help if they don’t know. Guidance and assistance can come from some unlikely people and in various forms. Maybe someone talks about competitors you didn’t know existed. You can then research their products/style/business model and learn more.
Some people bring you though-provoking questions which in turn is great feedback. They ask because there isn’t enough clarity or some holes in the plan.
I can get so involved in my own writing that I can longer have the vision of an outsider. At a certain point, I become blind to my errors (even huge ones). But someone else can read or review it just once and shed light on areas that, left unaddressed, may have ruined your final product.
Your conversations and idea-sharing can also lead to podcast or book recommendations (hello, personal development), or even to introductions to potential partners.
During my planning phase for my first book, I shamelessly reached out to other local authors acquaintances had mentioned or said they knew when I spoke to them about potentially publishing a book. I didn’t see these authors as the competition but as a well of resources.
All of the practices of pitching your ideas are creating an even better sales pitch once your service or product actually exists. These practices will allow you to form a more solid pitch you will use for future clients and investors. If you’ve spoken to enough people, then you’ve probably encountered most of the questions (and given thought to your answers) potential investors, clients, partners, and journalists may throw at you.
But what if they actually do steal it?
Those dirty idea bandits!
Let’s say the worst-case scenario happens. Someone hears your idea and thinks it sounds profitable. They steal it and execute a version of it before you can.
Remind yourself it’s not a race to be first. Most likely, a competitor has already arrived before you without you even knowing it. That doesn’t signify anything. Facebook, Google, and Nike weren’t first in their arena. Observe and learn.
Then, continue onward because your execution, passion, and specific set of skills/context/network/many other elements are unique to you and your creations and ideas.
In the end, the difference between you and anyone else may not be the idea, but it will always be the execution.
Execution is a process and an investment. Make a smart choice by including idea-sharing into that process in order to increase your chances of success…however you define it.