Isn’t it funny how a few simple words can spark our thinking? This past weekend I was in St. Louis for an ICD meeting. In my room at the Springhill Suites, there was a message pad with a thought-provoking sentence printed on the top of each page. It said,
“Catch wandering ideas.”
I couldn’t believe how timely this was given that the New Year is when many of us do our idea gathering. I love this concept to “catch” or capture our thoughts by writing them down, thinking about them, or talking with others.
The fresh start that January brings, encourages us to experiment, consider alternate perspectives, and explore new ideas. As you mull over what "next" might be, perhaps you’ll find some of these strategies helpful.
Unlike my daughter Allison, who is confident about cutting her own hair, I’ve always been afraid to mess with my curls. I delegate haircuts to the curly hair professionals. However, in one moment, that changed. Because I was overdue for a haircut, some unruly curls kept getting in my eye. I took what I perceived as a big risk. I picked up a scissor and cut the stragglers off.
My heart started racing, my eyes widened, and I burst out laughing. It felt thrilling to do something I’d never considered and that was completely outside of my comfort zone. I didn’t let fear prevent me from taking action. Yes, I admit this is almost a ridiculous story. It’s just hair. But remember that often it’s just ________, which prevents us from doing that thing we fear. So when you’re afraid to face a new challenge, remember the “scissor incident.” Feel free to use it as your call to action.
The temperatures seem to have leveled out for now. However, last week much of the country experienced erratic winter weather. In New York we had a super cold 5° day. This was followed by a 30° day that felt downright balmy. Normally 30° would feel ridiculously cold, but in relation to 5°, it seemed like spring. So I questioned, “What is cold?” How is it possible to think that 30° is both cold and warm? It’s all a matter of perspective. Our ideas and beliefs are in relation to other factors that constantly change. Being open to these shifts in perspective will help us to reframe and consider ideas in a different way. What shift in thinking might help your “wandering ideas?”
As I mentioned earlier, I was in St. Louis for an ICD Board meeting. This also included our annual Strategic Planning session, which I led (a first for me.) While there were many parts to the session, one section was devoted to brainstorming. We collected new ideas to integrate into our current plan. We shared them while leaving all judgments, explanations, or potential problems aside. Evaluating and prioritizing came later. And guess what? By allowing the space to brainstorm without judgment, many wonderful ideas emerged. As you move forward in these coming weeks, give yourself that gift of non-judgmental idea generating. Record your thoughts first. After that, you can be purposeful about how you organize, prioritize, or abandon them.
So how will you “catch wandering ideas?” Will taking risks, shifting perspectives, and brainstorming be useful strategies for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!