I’m hooked on ideas. I love them. Especially other people’s ideas. Brainstorming, creating, developing and building. If it is different, shiny and new, I’m in. But if my own experience is anything to go by, it’s not all light bulbs and stylish copper filaments. It makes sense then that I draw on the experience of starting Know You More and write a sentence or two on our relationship with ideas.
‘Coaching for University & College Students? What kind of an idea is that?’
I quite naturally follow good old Thomas’s path when it comes to ideas. I’m never short of them but a lot of them fall short. My most recent idea is to AirBnB our entire house (that we haven’t bought yet) for the entire 2018 summer holidays to fund the hire of an awesome camper van to travel around Europe in. Madness. Last week, it was family yoga on a Sunday morning. Didn’t happen and, after some meditative reflection, what the actual downward dog was I thinking.
But nevertheless, it is important to take the time to be creative in generating ideas to solve our most challenging problems or design our aspirations. Mindmaps, journals, sketches, post it notes – take some time out, stick on some music and go big. What is the question you would most like to answer?
You’ve done it. A masterpiece. It’s such a good feeling to have a mind blowing idea. You fill up with this energy and if you don’t get the chance to tell someone about it, there is a good chance that you might just cartoon explode. You finally get hold of someone to listen to this precious nugget. You go into every wee detail (in all the wrong order) and their facial expression doesn’t change. In fact, they look confused. ‘What! They don’t get it. What’s not to get. Oh no. They think it’s rubbish’. After going through it all again 5 times in even more detail they finally give you a nod and a ‘Yeah..good one.. sounds great’. All that energy for this small morsel of enthusiasm leaves you completely unsatisfied.
The fact that the idea is ‘yours’ often means that others will not get equally excited about it and it’s something we have to get used to. Even if someone goes batshit crazy with excitement they’ll forget about it minutes later. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, it’s just that it’s not theirs to be excited about and we must appreciate they have their own stuff going on. The joy of ideas is that they are yours to own and enjoy. Share it, shout it from the rooftops but don’t look to others to validate you or what you want to do. It doesn’t end well. If you believe in it, give it absolutely everything you’ve got regardless of what others think.
Last year we were involved in an initiative to support new business ideas. The first couple of times the group met it was quite quiet with people sharing very little. I asked the guy facilitating why there was no chat. He explained that when people commit to and develop a new idea, such as a business, they can become quite protective. They don’t like to give a lot away at the early stages because they’re worried it will get stolen or copied. And don’t we just hate that? In every playground you will hear kids shout ‘stop copying me!’, at work ’that was my idea, why did you do that?’ and heaven forbids someone turns up on a night out wearing the same as you.
What I’ve found is that risk/reward factor in sharing your idea weighs heavily towards the reward. Feedback is so critical when you’re developing anything and you can draw from the learning and experience of others. If you do it often enough you might just be lucky enough to find someone who will collaborate with you. In ’Start With Why’ Simon Sinek talks about the successful dynamic between the ‘Why’ person (the visionary with the idea) and the ‘How’ person (the person who can make it real). We could not have gotten as far as we have without collaboration and support from others. It may not be that the person you’re speaking to who will unlock the door but maybe someone they know, will.
‘A coaching service for University & College Students? What kind of an idea is that? It won’t work *Snort Guffaw*’. How many times we have heard that over the past year isn’t important. It is the number of times it took for us to stop listening that is. Coaching isn’t the most widely understood, nor the easiest to explain but it is immense and it works. We absolutely believe in the process and the people themselves. We’re a social enterprise but many people in this space don’t see focussing on Uni students as ‘social enough’. So we’ve had to man up and grow a thicker skin. Be resilient. In truth, we actually quite like it. We’ve never really followed the status quo.
If there is one message that will be repeatedly and unapologetically shared through Know You More it will be this one – Do You and Only You. We talked above about how some people may not care about what you’re doing. You can add to that the people who will just pull it apart and those who are actually dead set against what you’re doing. They all exist. They don’t hang out in dark allies, some of them are our closest friends and family. They’re not enemies but they’re not you. Hunt down and surround yourself with those people who believe in you. And be quite ruthless about it. As Jim Rohm said, ‘You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’. So you have no space for the derailers.
These days the small decisions are just a swipe or a click away from being solved. We’ve gotten quite used, even programmed, to search, act and to do. When it comes to the big stuff it’s important to spend a bit more time thinking and knowing. When we started the process of developing of Know You More a year ago, it was a small seed – ‘Young adults would really benefit from professional coaching when deciding on their future’. Why did I decide to plant this particular seed? Well, 6 months prior, I’d spent a lot of time understanding what I wanted over the next few years. I knew I wanted to start something of my own. It was so important that it made a difference to people. People younger than me. It would be quite original and bring people together. It wouldn’t be stuck in an office and I could run it remotely.
Why? Because in 3 years time I wanted to spend the whole summer holidays with my kids traveling through Europe in a campervan.