YOUR LAST BEST IDEA
If you’ve worked in a creative team, there’s a moment that occurs for every person at some point in time. Maybe you’ve presented an idea to a small group of coworkers and then a member of your team is tasked to elevate the idea. In turn, the co-worker may have received all praise for the idea.
This doesn’t feel good and our natural response is to be hurt or angry. We all just want to be appreciated for the work we’ve contributed. The coworker may have had zero ill intentions, but it doesn’t make it sting less.
Our reactions take many forms; one is to try and sabotage the project while another may be to take shots at those running with the idea. If I’m honest, I’ve had ideas for projects that others had the opportunity to run with and my reaction was to be hyper-critical of the end product. “They didn’t get where I was trying to go with that idea”. Or if someone is saying something nice about the end result, I would try to force my name into the conversation “Yea, when I came up with the idea, I was really seeing it as X, but they did the best they could”.
How we react may have origins in fear and insecurity that the idea you just saw get away may have been our last best idea and we won’t ever get our due credit.
Why do we do this? Our brains can be greedy when we subconsciously think that greatness in our creative thinking won’t happen again.
How Good Are You At Cultivating and Budgeting Your Ideas?
The issue of my last best idea didn’t change for me until I began to look at ideas as money and sharing the ideas as the outpouring of a budget well kept. Let me explain.
How do you get money? We gain money mostly by working for it and sometimes it comes in a form of a surprise (extra money at tax time, gifts etc.). But for the most part, the more we work, the more money we have (in an ideal world).
How do you get ideas? We get ideas by working at it and only every so often by chance. By routinely setting time aside for brainstorming. Making it a habit. The more we work at it, the more ideas we’ll have. I’m a big fan of Morning Pages by Julia Cameron. This strategy keeps me constantly mining for ideas.
How do you become generous with your money? If you budget your money wisely, you should have plenty after all your needs are met to share with others. (See also my conversation with Author/Speaker, Todd Henry on creating margin financially HERE)
How do you become generous with ideas? If you’ve built up a stockpile of ideas and continue to do so, you should have plenty to share with others.
That was a lightbulb moment for me. I was greedy with my ideas because, at the time, they really were my last ideas. We would all practice the same selfishness if we were down to our last dollar. If we have an abundance of ideas, that one that our coworker took credit for wouldn’t sting as bad.
Being Generous with Our Ideas
What are the benefits of being generous with your money? You give others the means to live. You allow others a chance to succeed.
What are the benefits of giving ideas away freely? You give others a chance to succeed and create trust within relationships that will last a lifetime.
Routinely mine for ideas. Find the times in your days where you are free of distraction and are at your creative peak. Free write ideas that come to your mind. Keep a folder (digital or analog) full of these ideas. A person who has a million dollars will rarely mourn when losing a buck. How much more would a person mourn who has a million ideas and only loses one?