As a creative, whenever I’m around other creatives, I am energized by a magnitude of new ideas.
We brainstorm and go off on tangents that spark inspiration.
This happened the other day as I was energetically talking to a couple of newly acquired creative friends.
We would start throwing suggestions and experiences into the conversation.
‘Oh, have you read this book? No? I think you would love it – so insightful and along the same lines as what you are talking about.”
“Have you heard of so-an-so? They are doing something similar, you need to go talk to them.”
“This is a great idea! I’ve done this-and-that and found blah,blah,blah.”
Your mind is fired up, conversation flows and you feel like you are about to burst with inspiration.
Then you know what comes next…Idea Overwhelm.
Like right now for example. My head is spinning, my heart is beating frantically, and I am trying to shovel food into my mouth so fast that I don’t loose any time and forget any of the conversation, and so that I have the energy to respond to all of these ideas and concepts.
FYI : My fingers are typing faster than they have ever typed before, and I swear I saw a little smoke.
Fired up, Ready To Go! pops into my head.
(You may remember this 2008 Barack Obama campaign trail story.)
And I love the momentum and passion it brings.
But Go where? A lot of times I freeze and don’t know how to implement these ideas. Overwhelm takes over and I abandon the thought. And so they just remain ideas.
Oh, the overwhelm!
Part of me desperately wants to get caught up in it. Another part of me knows from experience, that when I do get caught up in it, I freeze and I don’t action anything.
And then there’s another part of me that is like, ‘Kate, slow down. Breathe. The ideas will still be there in another 30 seconds. What’s the rush? Why do you need to do ALL of these right now?’
And gradually, I start to slow.
My fingers type a little more leisurely.
There are not so many typos.
My shoulders detach themselves from my ears and my lunch of kale omelette cools enough, so that I can eat it without continuing to burn the roof of my mouth.
It’s hard. Hard to keep focused on that one idea and to keep it moving forward when you have so many other things that you want, no, NEED to do.
You can see the potential benefits of this idea, in helping others and how this would create community by bringing like minded people together.
I don’t know about you, but I kinda live for this.
The inspiration. The connection.
But I also know that I need to focus on my main ideas – and who knows, maybe the other concepts will naturally flow into this.
So, here are my top 3 ways of dealing with, what I like to call, ‘Idea Overwhelm’.
Noting them down.
I always carry a pen and notebook in my bag, specifically for these moments! And I have my phone as back up.
For me, the act of writing allows space in my mind where I can formulate the ideas a little more. Allowing time for my thoughts to mellow.
Specific words help to conjure up the feeling, the inspiration, the vibe of the idea.
Slowing down my breath.
Closing my eyes and focusing on breathing.
In, 2, 3, 4, out, 2, 3, 4.
This in turn, slows down my movements, and therefore my thoughts.
I feel my shoulders release and my tongue removes itself from the roof of my mouth and that annoying grinding sound? My teeth are still.
Often harder than you think.
Fear sometimes gets in the way. Especially when a little time has lapsed from when you were talking through the idea, to when you start to take action.
What if I fail?
What would so-and-so think?
What if this is just a dumb idea?
And yes, all 3 of these have happened at some point. But, so what?
I’m still here thinking of more ideas.
The act of action, helps guide me to the feasibility of an idea. It helps to tweak and to refine.
Recently I read The War of Art, but Steven Pressfield.
Resistance. Yes! I have you. Constantly.
This book shows me that we all have this. We all have resistance. That paralyses us: temporarily or permanently. But that to move through it, requires a little action.
Nike is right. You just gotta do it and it doesn’t matter if you tweak, pivot or drop the idea, you just have to start.
Starting can mean big steps, or it can just be something small such as research, or talking to a trusted friend or writing that blog post.
But just start.
You never know where that one action will take you and who you will meet on the way.