Ever have the experience of thinking you have an idea that is the Greatest Idea Ever? You might start by keeping to to yourself, then try it out on someone you trust to be kind – before trying it out on someone you trust to be honest. You might do some research to determine if anyone else has had a similar idea and what became of it. You might dream of the extraordinary impact on your life and the lives of others should the Greatest Idea Ever come to fruition.
It gets heady and ridiculous fast, this Greatest Idea Ever fantasy. It makes it hard to maintain perspective and to think with a cool, calculated mind about which elements of the idea are underdeveloped (at best) and counterproductive (at worst). Sometimes the potential an idea has is so intoxicating that momentum builds before a path is defined. The ball is then rolling, quickly, in no particular direction. I’ve seen this more than once in the field of education: it’s fun and exhilarating in the beginning and ultimately an incredible waste of time and resources.
I spent quite a bit of time in the Greatest Idea Ever phase of my new venture. I’m not ashamed of that because my reading on entrepreneurship has led me to believe that this is all part of the process. And this enthusiastic and nothing-is-impossible spirit of a fresh new idea is what sustains the effort when more procedural and less fun steps need to be taken. For me, working on those steps – like writing a business plan and doing the research to get a sense of how much $ is needed to get and keep this project going – has really helped.
While I still think that most of us can’t get the distance we need to evaluate our own Greatest Idea Ever objectively, doing the daily business tasks can help determine whether it’s worth doing in the first place. If I’m spending a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at my computer instead of outside with family and friends (with no fixed launch date for this idea and no guarantee that it will ever make enough money to support my family or have the societal impact that is really at the heart of the project), the answer for me must be yes.
And still, as I write that, my no-fun pragmatic side is asking the spirited, hopeful, let’s-do-it! part of me if she is sure she’s not totally crazy. I go to sleep with this broken-record bickering in my head. That’s when the people I can trust to be honest factor in. I take them at their word and keep on keeping on and hope that I’m glad that I did.