If You’ve Ever Had a “Great Idea” You Need to Read This
If you’ve ever found yourself just staring at a blinking cursor, waiting for inspiration to strike (but feeling more like your brain has gone on strike) you’re not alone.
Whether it’s writers block or the entrepreneurial equivalent of “failure to launch”, many great ideas and products never make it to prime time.
What accounts for all those false starts?
Turns out it’s not the start we should be concerned with, so much as the finish.
Are We There Yet?
The greatest stumbling block to creation is the obsession with perfection.
Waiting for the perfect time to take that risk; start a family; leave a bad relationship; take a vacation; make time for exercise.
No matter what the idea or initiative, as Tony Robbins often says, “perfection is the lowest standard…”
So instead of perfection, would you consider yourself open minded to embracing another standard?
One that is used by Grammy winning songwriters, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, and Entrepreneurs around the world?
I Have A Dream
At the time of this publication, I’m in the iterative process of refining a speech called the Tip Jar Culture™️
While everyone in my business has “their way” of creating a new program, I’ve found that my creative process often follows a progression like this:
Step 1 — Name and frame the problem and solution I talk about in such a way that the audience is invested & interested in it.
Step 2 — identify the assumptions, assertions, and implications within my idea, and seek evidence to justify or nullify their presence. While I’m not going to link to all the research, this is — perhaps — the most time consuming part of the whole process.
Step 3 — select stories that will imbue emotion and excitement into these ideas; to make them ‘real’ for the audience. This is where my life and all its adventures really pays off. Like the band AJR said: “100 bad days make 100 good stories”
Step 4— get out there, and deliver a performance that delivers an impact for the audience.
Now if you know me, you know that I preach the PRP Process when it comes to developing new skills: “Practice, Rehearse, Perform” — so you might be looking at that list and thinking “Hey, how come there’s no mention of practice or rehearsal?”
Because I don’t have the program to develop yet, I’m still creating it.
And rather than practice and rehearse a program that’s not going to create the desired end-state for my audience, I’ve chosen to take another approach.
Johnny Mercer, one of the most prolific songwriters of the 20th century, is often quoted as saying regarding the topic of songwriting “you must write for the waste basket”
Instead of chasing perfection with every lyric, Johnny gives himself permission to say “Heck let’s just try it, and if it sucks I’ll throw it out.”
By allowing himself to write — even though the song may ultimately be headed for the waste basket — he creates space for success to step in.
This is why entrepreneurs often produce something called an MVP — Minimally Viable Product. It enables them to get an idea out to market quickly, and receive feedback.
Several years ago, I designed an iOS App with a team here in Philadelphia. We produced an MVP, and after several conversations with VC’s decided that the timing and approach of this app wasn’t right. This decision saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars in development costs, and also taught me enough about the world of tech start-ups to decide that I’d rather be an advisor than a founder.
The MVP process is also how a location based app called “Burbn” became the behemoth known as Instagram.
And it’s how I bring a new program to life.
So what if instead of getting your idea perfected you simply get it to the MVP stage?
What if you started releasing your ideas to the world when they were about 75% formed?
If you’re feeling like that’s a bit scary, that’s ok.
To put something out into the world is to invite criticism. And criticism can be scary.
But the unintended benefit of releasing your ideas into the world at MVP stage is that, as you hit criticism and find flaws, you can say “Hey, I’m not totally finished yet.”
Then you could take the feedback, both from your audience and from your own experience, and iterate.
As General George S. Patton famously said: “A good plan executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed next week”
One last thing:
At this point, I can’t stop thinking about this quote/story from Jim Carrey.
The whole speech is available on YouTube, but I’ve dropped the quote below (the actual story starts at 0:46).
The quote became my mantra as I made the difficult decision to leave the safety and financial security of my corporate position, and begin my quest as a keynote speaker and performance expert.
I hope it rings true with your journey, too.