Have you ever had an idea that would change the world? An idea that would solve a problem or issue, bringing innovation, profits, or even save lives?
I have, maybe 4 or 5 times a day!
I've spent my life constructing complex, meaningful, and useful ideas. Ideas that could fix all the major problems in the world have crossed my notebook. I've filled pages and pages of diagrams, programs, and visuals that my mind and hands created in response to the needs that are being communicated to me.
These are not always direct requests. This could be a general comment during a meeting, an article I've read, video I've watched or the estimated 25% of actual verbal or written requests.
I want to help the world, it's an engine that has been humming along for years. I want to offer ideas and solutions, to feed that engine. Sometimes though it's hard to push out those ideas for that 75%.
What if I told you that I spent the majority of my career feeling like a phony? That I spent years sitting in board rooms hoping no one would ask to see my degree as if it were an ID card that granted me access to this sacred space.
That I spent years suppressing the want to speak up, pressing my tongue so hard against the roof of my mouth that the I was worried people could see my clenched jaw. I would close my throat and hoped that someone else would speak up. I hoped that somebody would pluck the idea out of my head and shout it to the world.
"WE FIGURED IT OUT! HERE'S WHAT WE HAVE TO DO!"
I'm not going to try to hide The Catcher in the Rye that sits on my shelf in the living room. It's a factor for sure. The worry of being a phony started around the time that I first picked up the book. Life circumstances only elevated the ideas height. The way that we (board room phonies) arrive here is diverse.
We can theorize that me being thrust into a world without proper footing caused me to have a set of sea legs. That this voyage caused me to tremble in the face of uncertainty.
We all have a ticket and they each have a unique destination and mode of transportation. Though some may be similar they are all unique and purposeful in their own way.
Giving your ideas away can have major impacts. You may feel relieved, anxious, or even scared. The feeling leading up to the release of an idea can be difficult, and at times the task may feel impossible.
I was given some advice by a very wise friend who was a poet and an author. She warned me that when you give away your thoughts, ideas, or lines on a page that you have no more control of it. You have no say in how the reader or receiver will take your message. You have little or no leverage in how your idea will be interpreted or used. This fact, can be terrifying.
But what happens if you don't take a chance?
What would the world look like today if we all kept our 75% to ourselves?
The next time you have an idea. An idea that you know will change the world.
Take 3 deep breaths. Un-clench your jaw. Soften your tongue. Now, Let your idea flow into the world.
Sometimes our unwanted consulting is exactly what it's called, unwanted. That's okay!
Sometimes our ideas have missing pieces, and its possible that someone who receives your idea has the pieces needed to fill in the blanks. This is where collaboration and convergence has the opportunity to shine.
The important thing is to encourage your engine to keep humming, encourage the constant problem solving, and don't let the illusion of the board room stop you from making the world a better place.