3 Types of Ideas & How To Work With ThemJul 19, 2021
Have you ever had an awesome idea for a business, a book, or maybe a fun project but as soon as it popped into your head you were flooded with thoughts like...
"That business couldn't make it in the long run"
"Who would read what I have to say?"
"People would think I'm totally nuts"
"It's my dream but no one else would care"
I heard a saying that goes something like, "people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime", and immediately I wondered if the same was true for ideas.
Since then, every time a new idea comes to me (usually while cutting the grass on my tractor) I ask myself if it’s an idea for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. And guess what? It works pretty well at helping me figure out why the idea showed up and what to do about it.
All ideas are valid, creative expressions.
What we do with them, however, will depend on which of the 3 category types they fit into. Read on to see where your big and small ideas land.
Ideas for A Reason
The reason itself doesn’t need to be deep or philosophical. No one’s asking your idea to change the world if it doesn’t feel like it. The easiest way to identify a “for a reason” idea is by tracing it back to where it originated.
Did your kids have an awesome soccer season and you want a special way to say thanks to the coach? That’s a reason.
Did you make it through a health challenge you know others are facing, and you want their experience to be better? That’s a reason.
What to do with Ideas for a Reason
These might fall into the category known as passion projects because there’s a meaningful connection to them and the goal is usually to help/thank/guide someone else.
One of the best ways to honour these ideas is to go with your gut and bring it to life however it feels best. Whether you’re a weight loss coach who loves helping clients shed pounds or you teach meditation to Type A corporate executives, your idea has good intentions behind it, so be proud that you’re making a difference in the world.
Personally I love this category because it’s so easy to act on the idea. Hearing stories of someone in the drive-through paying the bill for the vehicle behind them reminds me how connected we are as humans and how we inherently want to help each other out.
Spread some joy by agreeing to carry out your idea.
Bottom line: Create what feels right.
Ideas for A Season
I once had the brilliant thought that if contact lenses were tinted, we’d never have to worry about wearing (and breaking) sunglasses ever again. My Hubby quickly laughed at this concept but I thought it was pretty innovative.
Ideas for a season are those that come about to solve a particular problem, just like my sunglasses contact lenses did. I suppose a lot of great inventors would place their ideas in this category, since they tend to arise because of a gap that needs to be filled.
Your idea might be a shirt that never stains, a type of grass that only grows 3 inches high, or an app that suggests food based on your hunger level. Sometimes they have a high level of passion and excitement behind them but if I had to generalize, I’d say they’re more like trends or the hot gadget everyone wants to get their hands on.
What to do with Ideas for a Season
These little gems are time-sensitive. That doesn’t mean the idea itself expires. I believe our ideas stick with us for as long as they need to and there’s no urgency for us to act unless we feel compelled to. That said, if you’ve got a fun idea you want to capitalize on, you’re best to get started - umm, today.
Have you ever had an idea you wanted to bring to life but the nasty fear monster held you back? Been there! What’s worse is seeing your idea selling like hotcakes because someone else took action and made the damn thing.
These are quick decision ideas. Don’t expect them to be relevant for really long, and don’t require them to lead you to financial security. Have fun with them in whatever capacity they need to be created in and enjoy it while it lasts.
There's no rule that says your fun business idea won't work unless it's going to last for decades. So go ahead and launch that pop-up biz if it'll make you happy!
Bottom line: Do it quickly
Ideas for A Lifetime
These are the biggies! The dream you’ve had since you were a kid or the fiction novel you’ve wanted to write for years but have been too afraid to venture outside the box of your career.
Ideas for a lifetime are the ones that stick. You can remember when it came about and you still think about it from time to time like a long lost friend. And just like friendships that last a lifetime, these ideas are ready for you to revisit whenever you like. They'll be there waiting to catch up like no time has passed at all.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a mother, live in Paris, or swim the coldest waters on Earth. Whatever the idea, if it keeps nudging you like a puppy wanting to go outside and play, it’s here to stay.
What to do with Ideas for a Lifetime
The first time my fiction novel idea came to me was in 2014. Yes, I’ve been sitting on it for the better part of a decade but that’s ok because it’s my idea and I know it’ll come to fruition when I’m good and ready.
I remember waking up in the morning and writing out the story’s plot lengthwise on a piece of legal size paper. Each point in the adventure documented in shorthand. I’ve felt called to get back into the story a few times over the past year, which tells me it’s almost time for this baby to be born.
The same goes for you.
Lifetime ideas need a lot of nurturing and care to get the most out of the experience.
Take your time but know that it’s your responsibility to fulfill the lifetime idea sometime (you guessed it) in your lifetime.
Don’t let yourself procrastinate to the point of regret. It pains me to think about how many unwritten book ideas have died alongside their owners for no reason other than “I’ll get to it later”.
Bottom line: Take your time and savour it.
One of the most exciting things about ideas of any kind is the possibility of what comes next. If you’re like most people you’ve got some really unique ones up your sleeve so instead of stressing about whether they’re big enough to be something real, just decide which category they belong in and go from there.
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