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How to Wrangle Your Ideas

ideas are like mischievous pixies — don’t let them lead you astray

A bunch of hand-drawn light bulbs

Pixies have a penchant for making mischief. In fact, to be pixie-led is to be led astray.

When things go wrong, it’s easier to blame the pixies.

We have pixies in our business — we call them ideas. They’re fun, shiny, and exciting. They call to us with a smirk and a twinkle in their eye that promises opportunity and growth.

So we say yes and follow them wherever they lead.

As we add more and more pixies to our business, the dull buzz increases to a roar that pulls our focus. Instead of opportunities and growth, we struggle to find clear direction, engage in deep work, or find the time to get to everything on our to-do list.

When you add ideas indiscriminately as a business, you end up with a priority problem, which leads to an accountability problem, which then leads to an execution problem.

Eliminating pixies entirely robs you of the good mischief: the shake-ups, the improvements, the different perspectives that enable you to innovate and differentiate.

So, what to do? Here are three tips to exist alongside these pixies — without all the noise:

1. Make an idea holding pen.

When an idea pixie shows up, don’t let it buzz. Put the idea on a list, on a board, or on a sticky note on your wall. Somewhere that allows you to keep track of ideas without getting distracted by them.

2. Establish a process to assess ideas.

On a set cadence, perhaps monthly or quarterly, make space to assess the ideas that have come through. You can assess in a meeting or asynchronously.

3. Narrow down to the right ones — say no to the rest.

Interrogate each pixie. Determine if they enable you to fulfill your purpose, fit within the unique capabilities of your mission, and help you create the world that exists in your vision.

If they don’t, say no and send those pixies packing.

The pixies that remain won’t lead you astray anymore — they’ll shapeshift from ideas to plans to actions that move you forward.

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Originally published at on June 20, 2022.



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Katie Burkhart

Katie Burkhart

Putting a point on business 🟡 | Entrepreneur Contributor | Serial Entrepreneur | Not-a-Book Author | Keynote Speaker | Minimalist Designer | Jargon Slayer