What To Do With An Idea

This weekend, when I was out on the trails with my running partner, she asked me a simple yet important question about creativity. She asked how do you know which idea you should pursue right now?

Now my running partner is not an entrepreneur. But, like many creatives and small business owners, she is an idea person who has a lot of creative ideas bouncing around in her brain. And, like you, she’s always trying to figure out which ideas she should prioritize and which ones she should shelf for another time.

Figuring out which idea to prioritize isn’t always an obvious or easy task. But if you can get comfortable looking at your ideas objectively – and if you know which questions to ask yourself to determine their merit – you can decide which idea is the best idea for you to pursue right now. 

First, you need to learn how to look at your ideas practically. (And hang in with me here – I know that doesn’t sound fun.)

Here’s how I do that: I look at my list of potential ideas and consider which ones are the most timely given the season of my business or even the season of the year. I consider which ones are realistic given my work hours and time constraints. And I consider which ideas will bring me closer to my current business goals and which ideas are just bright, shiny distractions.

After I run my ideas through these filters, I’m usually left with 2 to 3 contenders. But I like to focus my time and attention on a single idea at a time so I always try to whittle that list down by checking in with inspiration next.

To do that, I look at those 2 to 3 ideas and ask myself what I’m the most curious about exploring. And then I make that idea my top priority, not because it’s necessarily better than the other ideas but because it’s the one that excites me or inspires me the most. After all, I got into this business to do work I love, and I know you did too.

The next time you’re juggling a few bright ideas and wonder which one to pursue, try this approach. First, ask yourself some practical questions. Then check in and make sure you’re curious enough about an idea to nurture it into something real. And if it is, you’ve found the idea you need to prioritize. Now you just have to go do it.

All my best,