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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« Is It Too Small To Save? | 1 Year x 12 Experts = 12 New Ideas »

"Wandering" Ideas

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.


Taking Risks

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.


Changing Perspective

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!

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Reader Comments (11)

This reminds me of a post I did on Load, Relax, Capture. I talk about how important it is to take time to relax, because that is when most of our most creative and exciting ideas pop up -- not when we have our nose to the grindstone. Then of course, we must capture them! And I have to agree… so funny how I started to think of 30 as "not too bad"… not much of a fan of the polar vortex!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Lovely way to start the new year with fresh perspectives on how we think! Many of us have TONS of wandering ideas. For me just a few keep going and I like to think about them percolating for a while. I use a basic capture tool, a pen and pencil, and sit them on my desk on this pad for .... a while. Those who know me would not be surprised!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Changing perspective is absolutely exhilarating for me.

Once in a while I get the itch that needs scratching; for me, it's an excellent idea to change the view out my office window, the furniture in my family room, the side of the bed I typically sleep on, the places I'd y normally buy coffee or lunch - even- [audible gasp] the people I exercise or socialize with.

It's a lovely way to rejuvenate.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGeralin Thomas

I like the idea of changing perspective, I am a great proponent of that. Great post Linda

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Taking risk is for me now:
My blog just turned 2 years old and decided to change it from Tumblr to WordPress, and now is a proper web site, not just a blog (I had to learn how to put it together).
This year I'll be shifting from less Architect work to more P.O. work, launching my own business (I work for a firm). So I'm 40, I'm scare but at the same time I'm confident to make it. I can't stay watching how life goes by, I need to catch the train and go all the journey and experience it by myself.
Oh I forgot, today is my first tele-class with NAPO, I'm pretty nervous as well :)
Linda as always you make me think how marvelous life is.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

To me there is nothing like sitting down with a blank piece of paper, some colored pens, a mug of coffee and doing a brain dump. This process allows things "wandering" in my brain to materialize and give me a game plan. Great tips!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Rutter

This topic of "changing prospective" compels me to share a story about my Pilates class. The studio is small and boutique-ish style and houses 8 reformer machines, one treadmill, an area for private training, and a variety of random apparatus for circuit training. What feels like every week, she re-arranges the entire room! (Now instead of training in a row we are in a circle :) ).

We always laugh because we never know what to expect when we walk into class. It always feel different. The cubbies that used to house our bags are now at the entranceway housing our wet winter boots. We access our Pilates "toys" (bands and rings) from all new places. Just when we think it's fine, she changes it up again. She always keeps it fresh and it keeps us on our toes.

Yes, there is something to be said for changing your "view." It can change the energy in a very powerful way.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

Great insights, Linda! It's always a great idea to challenge our assumptions - about ourselves, especially. (And how I envy your curly hair!)

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Lowenheim

It's a party! So great to "hear" all your wonderful voices.

@Seana- Would love to read your post. Please post a link so I can check it out.

@Ellen- Nothing quite like pen and paper, is there? I use many methods, but doing it old school is one of my favorites.

@Geralin- A trailblazer indeed! Sounds like you thrive on change. I admire that quality and your ability to adapt, alter, explore without fear. You go Girl!

@Jill- Thanks so much. Yes…nothing like shifting our thoughts to get a different view.

@Nacho- I'm excited just reading about the ways you're stepping out, taking chances, creating life the way you envision it to be. I love your positive attitude and know you'll succeed in all that you do.

@Nancy- What a story! That's fascinating and ties into what Geralin was saying too. "New" absolutely shifts our energy and perspective in a powerful way.

@Sharon- Ohhhh! Challenging our assumptions…especially about ourselves. Yes! Nice to know you're a fan of curly hair.

January 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, I bet you would enjoy the book "The Power of Why" by Amanda Lang. It talks about brainstorming and shows how we would be much more innovative if we harnessed our innate curiosity instead of stifling it. I highly recommend it!

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Janet- Adding it now to my "Books to Read" list. Once I get through the stack I have now, I'd like to Lang's book next. Thank you for the "hot" tip.

January 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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