Are All the Good Ideas Taken?
Courtney Lynch, September 14, 2020
I (Angie) don’t remember everything about 1984, but I do remember this: it was the year the songs “Jump” by the Pointer Sisters and “Jump” by Van Halen were released. I remember marveling at all the different song names up until that point – there were so many! I now assumed that all the song names were taken up and we’d have to recycle through the titles going forward. I failed to consider that maybe, just maybe, the “Jump” naming was merely coincidental and that new artists would break through and innovate music and song titles in ways I just couldn’t imagine.
This wasn’t going to be the first time in my life that I failed to consider possibilities. I know I’m not alone.
We, as humans, can be cursed with limited imaginations. When it comes to our future, sometimes we just don’t imagine all the possibilities and choices that can emerge. We think life will present us with very binary decisions – we can choose Choice A, or Choice B. There are times when we fail to consider other letters in the alphabet.
Here’s the problem: this type of thinking can really box us in and limit the greatest asset we have in our careers – our mind. And because our thoughts become beliefs that become behaviors, we unintentionally might be limiting our potential if we don’t push our thinking.
Right now is a great opportunity to exercise your mind by demonstrating creative thinking to your current and most obvious challenges – personally and professionally. Here are some ideas:
- Challenge Your Instincts. When you land quickly on two different courses of action, challenge yourself by asking, “Hey, self, is that all that you’ve got?” Sometimes that little nudge will get you thinking of more solutions to your challenges; sometimes the less obvious solutions end up being the better ones to take.
- Ask Better Questions. Other people can spark our creative thinking … that is only if we let them. In routine meetings, when people share their ideas that you might dismiss or not find relevant, force yourself to ask these individuals, “Tell me more of why you think this” or “Help me see what you’re seeing.” Their thought process might positively influence your own.
- Listen to Different Podcasts/Read Different Books. I know we all get pretty comfortable with our media selections; there’s something warm about a familiar podcaster’s voice and there’s something comfortable with a current genre of books. Comfort doesn’t always lead to creativity. Our challenge to you is to try to find 1-2 pieces of different media each week you can consume for 10+ minutes at a time. This is an easy way to get either inspired or informed by different sources, which helps broaden your thinking.
We’re all on a journey to be better leaders. We encourage you to get in your mind a bit this week and explore a little on where your thinking serves you… and where you could benefit from a little self-confrontation.
We’re with you,
Angie and Courtney