We’re Creatives. You, Minette, Brad … we just are.
And with that comes what we like to term “Bright Shiny Idea Syndrome”.
There are too many ideas and things and people. Too many directions to go. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something, is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size. – Charlie Kaufman
It’s both a blessing and a curse of creatives to have a wealth of great ideas. We have them because we see things differently.
On the Blessings side of the equation, you’re never at a loss for something interesting and cool to work on.
On the Curse side of the equation, people go into overwhelm and procrastination when they have too many ideas. Those same people have a tendency not to finish their work before they bounce to the next great idea: this is not the path to making money.
That overwhelm and not finishing due to too many great ideas is what we term Bright Shiny Idea Syndrome.
What do you do with these epic bursts of ideas?
That’s what this episode is all about.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:
The 5 steps to dealing with you bright shiny ideas:
- Honor all your ideas – every one has value, you just don’t have to develop it now. Excitement about new ideas. Write them down, draw them out, put them in one place. Dump them out into a safe place where you won’t lose it.
- Keep them in a safe place – it’s nice to have a fallback when you don’t have any new ideas
- Allow to incubate – plant a seed in the garden and allow it to germinate.
- Develop a few – see if people are interested, shine a light on a couple. Gently test a few.
- Monetize one! – make sure it’s something that people really want and will pay you for.
- Our Business Model Assessment – a great way to help you manage your ideas!
You can also subscribe to this podcast on our Youtube channel.
Brad Dobson: That’s us.
Minette Riordan: That’s us. Brad and Minette. We are the co-founders of the Path to Profit Academy where we teach creative business owners just like you how to make more money and you might wonder what’s the connection between money and productivity? Everything, right? You can’t make money if you don’t finish.
Brad Dobson: Damn straight.
Minette Riordan: Which leads me into our topic today, which is how to really manage the chaos of ideas that’s flowing through your head. So, we’re gonna be talking about bright, shiny idea syndrome. And at the end of episode 121, we said we were gonna be talking about gamification today, but in our own flourishing of ideas …
Brad Dobson: That’s right.
Minette Riordan: I …
Brad Dobson: We had a squirrel moment …
Minette Riordan: We had a squirrel moment.
Brad Dobson: And made a left turn.
Minette Riordan: We did and we’ve been thinking a lot about this. This concept of bright shiny ideas and too many ideas and in my one on one coaching and in our creative business accelerator community, we see people pivoting so often and Brad certainly has had to manage my desires to pivot.
Brad Dobson: And mine.
Minette Riordan: To bring us both back on course. So, we wanted to dive into this concept of bright, shiny idea syndrome, as we affectionately call it, how to manage those ideas, how to complete your ideas so that you can actually make money doing what it is.
Brad Dobson: I have another idea for this podcast. Let’s change right now.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, right now. Right in the flow.
Brad Dobson: I have a creative mind. I just need to have all of these ideas and do all of them.
Minette Riordan: I know.
Brad Dobson: I’m gonna do all of them now.
Minette Riordan: We’re kind of sitting in this place where we have four brands that we’re working on that are in different stages of existence and launching and we just were in … Well, Brad did a five day certification and bootcamp course for ONTRAPORT that we use for our CRM and email marketing. And he and I went straight there from … To ONTRApalooza Digital Marketing Conference and our heads are super full.
Brad Dobson: You bet.
Minette Riordan: Wow. And they were already full before we took in and I was at a business retreat last week. It’s been like input, input, input, and this is what happens. We get so much input and it sparks so many creative connections and ideas and guess what happens? We get into overwhelm. We get stuck. Then we get to …
Brad Dobson: I make a list.
Minette Riordan: Then we get to inertia. Brad makes lists.
Brad Dobson: Oh, yeah.
Minette Riordan: He doesn’t take action, he just makes lists. He’s really good at that.
Brad Dobson: Yeah.
Minette Riordan: And I just think. Like, I stare off into space and I think or I say, I can’t do anything, I’m just gonna go paint.
Brad Dobson: Right.
Minette Riordan: Right? So, we have different ways of managing our bright and shiny ideas that may not be the best ideas and because we’re talking a lot about mindfulness and diet and exercise, this is the mental wellness part of the conversation …
Brad Dobson: Sure.
Minette Riordan: Around what do you do with these epic bursts of creative ideas.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, I wanna hear about that. I definitely, yeah.
Minette Riordan: And I have a five step system that I’m gonna share for you …
Brad Dobson: Oh, cool.
Minette Riordan: For how to go from managing all of these ideas to actually monetizing your ideas.
Brad Dobson: Nice. Let’s go with today’s quote.
Minette Riordan: Yeah. It’s really tiny print. Can you read that?
Brad Dobson: From Charles Kaufman? Charlie Kaufman.
Minette Riordan: Charlie Kaufman.
Brad Dobson: There are too many ideas and things and people. Too many directions to go. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size.
Minette Riordan: And I love that quote, because we have done whole episodes on knowing your big why, we’ve done episodes on finding focus and I love this perspective that the reason that we need to whittle down those ideas and find our purpose is because it makes it more manageable and from a business perspective, it doesn’t just make it more manageable for you personally, but way more manageable for your clients as well. I had a big A-ha I think earlier this year that we were just doing too much. We were offering too much, trying to solve too many problems and that was when you noticed we shifted from what used to be the Path to Profit Podcast to Structure and Flow and we focus on productivity. It’s manageable. It’s manageable for us, it’s manageable for our listeners. It’s like bite size …
Brad Dobson: Therapy.
Minette Riordan: Therapy. And that therapy is for us, by the way, not for you.
Brad Dobson: That’s right.
Minette Riordan: This is like we talked about exercise in the last podcast, what we failed to mention in that podcast was how much exercise is therapy for us together and how much of our processing and talking and idea generation and difficult conversations happen while we’re walking. We actually haven’t had a lot of difficult conversations lately maybe because of the walking.
Brad Dobson: It’s just because of me.
Minette Riordan: Just because of you? Like, you’re better than you used to be?
Brad Dobson: Let’s move on to your five step system.
Minette Riordan: So, we said this was gonna be therapy. We’re a little punchy after two weeks of input and deep conversations into marketing. So, the first thing, and I think I always see so much relief when I share this with my clients. When you have a lot of ideas and you don’t know which idea to pursue or you’re in the middle of developing an idea and you get a burst of energy, enthusiasm and excitement for something new, what do you do? Well, the first thing is to honor all of your ideas. Every single one of them has value. It may have value in the moment, it may have value as a connection to something that you do in the future, but just because you have an idea doesn’t mean you have to implement it in the moment.
Brad Dobson: Right.
Minette Riordan: This is what stops creative businesses from being successful, because it derails you and my friend Norma Hollis, who I think we’ve had on the podcast before. We should probably have you back. I loved her analogy about creatives. She says, “Creatives are like runners in a relay race and they’re at the starting line and they’ve got the baton and the starting gun goes off and they’re running with the baton and they can get to where they can see the person that they’re gonna hand the baton off to, they drop the baton and they go back to the starting line. They pick up another baton and they run, run, run, run, run, and they see the other person, then they drop the baton and they go back and get another one.” So, finishing projects is a big challenge, but part of that is because we are so often distracted by these ideas. So, you have to just love on your ideas, honor the ideas, ’cause we never wanna stop the flow of ideas. What we wanna stop is the mismanagement of the implementation of the ideas.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. And I think to a certain extent we get addicted to that … Well, quite frankly …
Minette Riordan: Adrenaline.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. The little boost that we get, the dopamine hit or whatever it is from the excitement about …
Minette Riordan: Excuse me.
Brad Dobson: The excitement about a new idea and it relates to mindfulness as well, right? It’s okay for that idea to come into your head and to honor it a little bit, but if we’re not being mindful about how it impacts existing stuff then …
Minette Riordan: Right. That’s so true.
Brad Dobson: Then we’re not being true to ourselves.
Minette Riordan: Excuse me. So, how do you honor all of your ideas? You honor all of your ideas by writing them down or drawing them out, if you’re a more visual person and putting them all in one place. That could be a brain dump journal, it could be a Google Keep note, it could be a spreadsheet. It doesn’t matter how you collect them, but you wanna collect all of your new ideas into a place where you can access them easily for the future.
Brad Dobson: There was something from that book that Twyla Tharp did …
Minette Riordan: Yeah.
Brad Dobson: About creativity. Where she did that, she, I think she had a box for each idea, like a physical box where she collected all of her notes and everything and was able to file those away.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, you could totally do it on little slips of paper in a jar, a box, a big manila envelope. If you like jotting things down on sticky notes. Manila folders would work really well.
Brad Dobson: Right, right, right, right.
Minette Riordan: But, absolutely. It’s like you need to capture the ideas. I was recently flipping back through some journals, I saw ideas that I’d written down in my regular journal. Not all in one safe place, but I’m like, oh, these came to fruition, or oh my gosh, this is what I’m doing right now is just a recycling of this ideas. So, there’s something very powerful about just capturing the idea whether you look at it or not. It begins to germinate and to incubate where it’s planted. So, make sure that you’re doing the planting the seed part and then you get to let it go, right? And this is … We’ve talked a lot about this too, it’s part of the open loop conversation.
Brad Dobson: Right.
Minette Riordan: Is when you have too many ideas circulating in your head all at the same time, it creates overwhelming confusion and chaos and you can’t clearly see next steps for any of the ideas, but if you literally dump that idea into a safe place, then you release it from your mind, you release it from your body, you release it physically into someplace where you know it’s safe. You’re not gonna forget it. You’re not gonna be distracted by it for the moment and it allows you to find that focus again on the project that you’re working on currently.
Brad Dobson: So, that was step two. Step one was to honor all your ideas. Like, give them the time of day, enjoy them a little bit.
Minette Riordan: A little bit.
Brad Dobson: The next one was to keep them in a safe place. Of course I’m gonna encourage you to do something digital, because then you could search for them later, but I’m just saying.
Minette Riordan: I’m a pen and paper girl. What can I say? Structure and Flow, Analog and Digital.
Brad Dobson: That’s right. So, what’s step three?
Minette Riordan: Step three is to allow them to incubate and I alluded to that a little bit. Once you write them down and let them go, it’s just like planting the seed in the garden, right? In the early spring the rain comes and the sun comes and that seed germinates for a long time underground before it actually burst through.
Brad Dobson: Right.
Minette Riordan: Or, did you ever have chickens as a kid that you have under the incubator?
Brad Dobson: Not me.
Minette Riordan: Under the hot light and you got to watch them?
Brad Dobson: Oh.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, so it’s like that. They’re inside the egg in the incubator for a long time, for days and days and days and days before they come close to hatching.
Brad Dobson: I see. It’s like an itch though, right?
Minette Riordan: For them, maybe, but for your ideas, it doesn’t need to be, right?
Brad Dobson: Okay.
Minette Riordan: So, but anyway, let the idea go. Let it be nurtured by your unconscious, not your conscious action.
Brad Dobson: ‘Kay.
Minette Riordan: Does that make sense? And then from those ideas you will notice that some of them sprout, some of them lie fallow. We’ll keep going with our gardening analogy here.
Brad Dobson: Went from chickens to …
Minette Riordan: Well, I talked about seeds and eggs.
Brad Dobson: Gotcha.
Minette Riordan: So, I mean and the truth is that not all the eggs hatch. We wanna stick with the chicken and the egg analogy, right? So, they don’t all hatch. So, when you’re trying to build a business and you’re trying to decide what ideas to implement, you might give a little attention to two ideas and see which one feels the best or you might share those ideas. We have a client right now who is creating something in the food and health and wellness space and I’m like, you need to go talk to people. So, we figured out that nutritionist are the people that she wants to be talking to and go get feedback. Do other people respond to the idea with curiosity and interest? You cannot grow something in the dark. It needs light, it needs conversation. So, go down the path of a couple at a time and see which one is gonna stick and which one has the most potential to go from seed to fruit.
Brad Dobson: So, I think this step is probably where I’ve struggled the most, to develop a few one. I was able to make my big list of ideas and my head was trying to juggle them all at once and then there came that point and actually I got some coaching related to this, was in terms of prioritizing them, dropping off the ones that were really pie in the sky, that weren’t realistic, but it’s that point … There’s a point there where you say develop a few where there’s a conscious decision to let some of them fall off the table.
Minette Riordan: Yes.
Brad Dobson: And that was where I struggled mightily in the past.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, sorry for the coughing.
Brad Dobson: Not wanting to let them go.
Minette Riordan: Yeah. So, learning to let go of the ones that aren’t going to make you money, aren’t going to bring you joy or beyond the resources or information that you have currently, to bring them to completion. So, when you go down that path, you have the freedom to make some decisions. It’s the beauty of being entrepreneurs is that we do get to make those decisions and oftentimes it brings us right in the face of failure and our fear of failure and our overachieving need for completion and perfectionism. Like, it feels like a failure to put all this time into something and then decide to just let it go and then it’s like, oh my God, that was a waste of time. Why did we do that?
Brad Dobson: Well for me, though, I have more of that I don’t wanna let it go type of thing.
Minette Riordan: And why don’t you wanna let it go?
Brad Dobson: That’s my baby.
Minette Riordan: Is this gonna be therapy again?
Brad Dobson: Because it’s an exciting idea. I think I’m the same as other people, right? It’s an exciting idea. I know it’s a cool idea. It would be fun to develop it. I get more dopamine hits, right? So, that’s where the … That’s where the struggle is.
Minette Riordan: Yeah. And remember how we looked at the wheel of time and we did the sort of business idea assessments. Actually that would be a great freebie to share on this one about your ideas, right? It’s like, do you have the time? Do you have the money? Do you have the support to invest? Like, we have a great assessment that I created when you have these bright shiny ideas and we’ll put a link to the show notes for that freebie for you guys so you can go download this super quick. It takes just a couple of minutes to really analyze if an idea is valuable or not. That was one of those fun things I created that I’d forgotten all about. I got like, see, this is my thing, right? I have buckets and buckets, libraries full of great resources that I’ve created that are all hiding that nobody can actually access.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, that’s kind of scary.
Minette Riordan: And so for me it’s that I love the creativity part, but then it’s that next step to how do you go from developing a few to monetizing one at a time, because this is something we really support our clients with, especially in our creative business accelerator program, because you cannot develop all of them at once. Ultimately the goal is to grow a leveraged business with passive revenue streams and to be able to scale and have support and work from anywhere, but in the beginning you have to start with just one product or one service and make sure it’s something that people really want and will pay you money for. My art is a great example of I had so much resistance. I’ve talked about that on the show before. I had tons of ideas for things to create and yet I had all this fear about putting it up there for sale and finally Brad’s like Minette just do it and he pushed me to get it done and I’m just literally, I’ll stick a picture up on Facebook and say, hey, it’s done. It’s for sale. You want it? Yes please. And we brought in a couple of grand in extra cash over the last few months just from haphazardly selling things. And it may seem haphazard, but the truth is we’re testing. What do people want?
Brad Dobson: Sure.
Minette Riordan: What are they interested in? Just ’cause they said it’s pretty on Facebook doesn’t mean they’re willing to buy it, right? So it’s that how can we gently test some of these ideas to see which ones are the ones that we wanna monetize and go whole hog after.
Brad Dobson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, that was step five.
Minette Riordan: Yep.
Brad Dobson: Monetize just one of them …
Minette Riordan: And then it’s lather, rinse, repeat.
Brad Dobson: Opportunity … That’s right.
Minette Riordan: [crosstalk 00:16:05]
Brad Dobson: And, I think the bright, shiny idea syndrome, especially as it relates to entrepreneurs in productivity, relates to the adage about how opportunity has killed so many businesses.
Minette Riordan: Yes.
Brad Dobson: Right? It’s a curse of being a creative person that you have all of these ideas and they’re exciting and that’s a neat place to be, don’t get me wrong, both of us, we have a little bit of an ego about our own creativity. I hope you guys, I hope …
Minette Riordan: Who, me?
Brad Dobson: I hope you guys do too. You’re in business and flying your creative freak flag because you have that in you, but it can also be a curse. And, that bright shiny idea thing that turned into your life is full of creative opportunities and that doesn’t align well with trying to get an effective business running.
Minette Riordan: It’s so true. And I’m thinking again, I don’t think I mentioned it in this episode, maybe it was the last episode, about the Accidental Creative by Todd Henry.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, yeah.
Minette Riordan: Who is one of my current favorite podcast and I’m listening to his book as well, and if you know Todd, we’d love to have him as a guest on our show by the way, and he talks about how there’s this big gap between ideas and output and that in between, there’s a lot of creative processing that tends to happen. So, part of this journey of managing these bright shiny ideas is learning to really connect with your own creative process. That there’s gonna be times when you feel like you have too many ideas and then maybe a time when you need to write a blog post and you’re staring at the blank screen and you’re like, where’s that flood of ideas now? Well, you’ve captured them somewhere, whether it was that Google Keep note or in a notebook that you always have this incredible collection of ideas to tap into to feed and nurture your own creativity or to decide what’s next in the process.
Minette Riordan: So, those ideas can be overwhelming, they can be exciting, they can bring up so many emotions about fear of success, fear of failure, all the different things. And I think that what happens when people have too many ideas is they go into overwhelm and procrastination. So …
Brad Dobson: Yeah, I relate to that.
Minette Riordan: I’d like to hope that through this simple five step process of honoring all of your ideas, keeping them all written down in a safe place that you can find again, allowing them to just germinate subconsciously, not proactively, you working on them, but just allowing ideas to bubble around in your dreams, in your journaling and whatever else that you’re doing, your walking, your exercise and then developing a few. Going down the path of a few of them, sharing them with people, getting feedback, seeing what really resonates with people, what are they interested in and responding to, and then picking one at a time to monetize, because when it comes to monetizing one of your ideas, there’s a lot of implementation that goes around that. There’s marketing strategies and plans that have to be created. Sometimes whole businesses get developed around one idea, but to begin with, go down after one revenue stream, one bright shiny idea at a time and we promise you that this will help you be more successful and more productive in your business.
Brad Dobson: Great stuff, and we will, once again, we’ll have that assessment in the show notes for you, [inaudible 00:19:37] download.
Minette Riordan: Yep. Super awesome little download …
Brad Dobson: Cool.
Minette Riordan: And again, you can find that at pathtoprofitacademy.com/podcasts, with an S on the end.
Brad Dobson: Cool stuff.
Minette Riordan: All right, we’ll see y’all on the next show.