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What Do You Do With an Idea?

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our lives is change.” Daniel Gilbert

If someone would have asked me two years ago how many upcoming changes I expected, I would have answered that two years is too short for any major changes to happen. I would have answered that life would most likely follow a similar rhythm. Yes, some new work related challenges would be inevitable. And some new problems in the ever changing parent metaverse, for sure. New books read, new people met, new places explored. But would I change? Not much, I would have answered. Two years is too short for any major changes to happen.

What I didn't know then was that there was one small idea that started to shape in my head, and that would change me as well.

It was a fragile idea about writing on a blog about how we can become more driven and inspired to act, grow and make a difference around us. I had been devouring content about human behavior, psychology and leadership for years, and I thought it was a good idea to share with others those tools that helped me grow, overcome challenges and become a better person. I felt that I had something more to give, but I wasn’t sure how to express it. I needed a framework where I could explore and make sense of what I read and experienced in the different areas of life, first to help myself and second, to inspire others to become more self aware, find their element and feel more fulfilled. At the time, it was not clear what this framework would be, but I knew writing would help me figure out.

When the idea of sparking drive started to take shape in March 2021, I was in a place of exhaustion, at the end of a long learning journey. I had finished an intensive leadership training that took two years instead of one because a small pandemic turned the world upside down. And I had just finished the training program in change strategy with Andrei Rosca, that would help me become a better manager, leader and mentor, guiding others in their change and growth journey. The COVID pandemic seemed to make everything harder and more exhausting, but it also created a much needed space for reflection and self discovery. It made me stop and ask difficult questions about what mattered to me and how I imagined to live a more meaningful life.

The paradox of March 2021 was that it made me feel both exhausted and empowered. I was at the end of a journey and ready to start a new one.

It All Starts with a Fragile Idea...

My idea was fragile and I could not see where it would take me or how it would develop. There were only three things I knew with certainty: 1. I wanted to write; 2. I wanted to make sense of my life experiences and inspire others to do the same; 3. I wanted to explore what makes a fulfilled life, how we can build our own path to success and not just follow the path that others laid in front of us. There were skills I already had and others that I needed to learn, but I was confident I could start something that would crystalize with time. There was no pressure. It was a side gig. A hobby.

The beauty of side gigs and personal projects is that they are like a playground, inviting you to experiment with new ideas and tools, until one day when you start connecting the dots and realize that you’re already using some of the new skills in other areas of your life. And isn't it funny how, when they’re finished, and especially when they’re successful, projects seem so logical in hindsight? It seems to the outsider that everything was meant to be, that each element was well planned to be there, that each idea was designed into a perfect plan.

I was listening yesterday (for the third time) to an episode of Andrei Rosca’s podcast, where he was talking about the fragility of ideas. When we look from the outside, we believe that the creator, the entrepreneur, the scientist started the (now) successful project, when the idea was 97% ready. But most successful projects started when the idea was 50% ready. The only difference is that some people have faith and a trained courage muscle that help them start.

There are so many amazing ideas out there that will never see daylight, because people think they’re not ready. But sometimes, 50% ready is a good place to start.

What I envisioned two years ago was that writing on the blog would deepen my knowledge and insights about leadership, human motivation and life fulfillment, so I could use my experience in leadership and change strategy to guide other people in their change journey. I saw it as an exercise of skill building, personal growth and contribution outside myself. Not more than a side gig that would help me grow and learn. But with every topic I was diving into, I discovered new things about myself, about other people and about the world. Having more conversations with people around those topics made me realize that I had so many blind spots and I was assuming too much. I always had a deep appreciation for the uniqueness of people, but I am now able to engage in conversations at a new level.

What started as a side gig, eventually helped me become a wiser person, connecting the dots and focusing my energy in a more effective way.

In my first newsletter, I was writing about one of my favorite children books, “What do you do with an idea”, by Kobi Yamada. It’s a touching story about a little boy who finds out that he has an idea that stuck with him and follows him everywhere. At first, he ignores it, but then he starts paying attention and takes care of it. As the idea grows and becomes bigger and stronger, it brings more color into the boy’s life and one day, something amazing happens. The idea gets wings and emerges like a butterfly from its cocoon, to spread everywhere in the world. It's a beautiful metaphor that reminds us that each of us have one of those ideas inside ourselves and all we need to do, is pay attention and take care of it so it can grow and spread its wings.

We all have ideas waiting to be discovered and nurtured, that have the power to help us evolve and transform. We just need to pay attention and give them the time they need to happen and grow.

...and Tons of Self-doubt

The moment when an idea starts taking shape and the possibility of turning into a new project is a step away, we feel all the feelings of self-doubt. There are so many unknowns, so much uncertainty. Our inner critic will be delighted at the opportunity to express its true colors. In my case, the conversation with my inner critic was around my writing abilities, my lack of time, my strategy of selecting the topics I would focus on, the fact that nobody would be interested in what I had to say.

At first, I could mainly hear a monolog of my inner critic. I just listened and wrote down everything. I constantly wrote down. All the doubts, all the limitations, all the thoughts flying around in my head like leaves in a storm. After a while, the inner critic lowered its voice and calmed down a bit. It had exhausted all the topics. That was the moment when I started to re-arrange the pieces of the puzzle and see what I could tackle first. Writing abilities and structure: I can learn some tips from Cristina. Making a new website and newsletter: why not contacting a WIX freelancer? Selecting the topics I would write about: make an editorial calendar and tackle on topic at a time. And so it went. In the end, there were probably a few things I still didn’t know how to do, and I just accepted that I would learn those later.

One strategy I used in order to keep my discipline and motivation to write, was to write about what made me thick, and not writing for an audience. My hope was that by doing that, I would find the energy to sustain the effort, as it would first of all help me grow and change for the better. And in that process, I hope to find a few people who resonated with those ideas and engaged in meaningful conversations. My instinct was right. I don’t think I could easily find the drive and sustained motivation to write on a blog, if I didn’t write about those things that matter to me, that are aligned with my purpose and mission.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by doubt at the beginning of any project. Any innovation and creative endeavor needs that. If we would be 100% certain that everything would turn out exactly as planned, there’s no innovation and creativity in that project. It means that it was done before. If we want to create something beautiful and new, even if it’s just new for us, we must be ready to embrace that uncertainty and learn how to be friends with it.

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take”. Joseph Campbell

Just Do It

Any new idea that has the potential to turn into a project is a prototype of something. The role of prototyping is to experiment with the feasibility of a product and test the reactions of the people who would use it. The main goal is to create some value that will help someone, that would make someone’s life a bit easier, a bit better, a bit more enjoyable. But you cannot know for sure that your idea’s potential will turn into positive value, until you actually do it. The only way we learn and get better at something is by doing it. Making ideas happen is a practice and it uses the muscle of creativity and discipline in equal amounts. Imagining and then materializing what we imagined, is what helped homo sapiens evolve as species.

Each of us have ideas that involve different skills. When we start a project that uses those skills, we create a new playground for experimenting and improving. New ideas that are materialized, are the best launchpad for pursuing our interests and be able to progress on the path to mastery. When we spend time to discover our unique abilities and calling and use these in a personal project, we might find out that we are creating a unique path for ourselves, that will start connecting all areas of our life.

Some opinions say that we should not talk to other people about our ideas when they are still at the beginning, as our brain could trick us into believing that we already did something. We risk to get lazy and not act upon our idea anymore. While there is some truth in it, I personally like to talk to people about my ideas and get fresh perspectives. But I usually set the intention to have those conversations with a scientist hat on. That is, I collect input and opinions with the aim of discovering new patters and alternative paths toward possible solutions, and not necessarily to change change my hypothesis. Unless my initial hypothesis is completely off and needs to be rethought completely. Self-awareness is really important in this stage though. If you know you are easily influenced by others, and that others’ opinions matter to you, it’s maybe safer to not talk to other people too early. But if you can adopt a more detached attitude and have conversations from a place of curiosity, like a reporter or a scientist would do, you can get a much richer range of perspectives that could make your idea more relevant.

We Can Only Connect the Dots Looking Back...

One of my favorite speeches of all times is Steve Jobs’ 2005 Standford commencement address where he talks about how we can only connect the dots looking back. When we have an idea and we start a project, we don’t know how it will all unfold and connect, unless it’s something that was already done. We need to have faith that the dots will connect somewhere in our future and make time to regularly stop and reflect on the past journey.

What I didn’t know two years ago was that everything I was planning to do, was going to naturally help me connect the dots and bring the different areas of my life, interests, skills, talents and values into a more coherent path forward. I had spent the last ten years of my life in a constant rush to accumulate experience after experience, as if I was Super Mario, wanting to collect all the coins, blocks, mushrooms and super stars that came my way. Writing on sparking drive slowed me down in the accumulation game and instead, pushed me to reflect, make more sense of my experiences, and only consume knowledge that I can apply and use in my every day life.

If I was to summarize the key learnings of these two years, I would mention these six:

1. I explored new areas of human behavior and psychology in a way that made sense for me and helped me apply the knowledge and new information in life, relationships, my leadership work and everyday actions. At the beginning of the project, everything seemed so fuzzy. I remember how I was struggling to make mind maps of writing topics and I felt lost in the complexity and vastness of it all. It was only through doing that I got deeper and understood how to connect all the different themes and areas I was exploring. The writing practice itself, which seemed like a gigantic undertaking, slowly became a more disciplined practice. I defined a framework that worked for me, I reset my expectations and learned how to trust the process and just do it, despite feeling the discomfort and uncertainty.

2. I became more self aware and realized how many biases and limited beliefs I used to have. So many of the anxieties I had came from fear of being judged, rejected, ignored. Not being good enough. I was often doing things with the goal of proving my worth to others. Writing about growth mindset, helped me internalize a growth mindset. Writing about values, helped me live by my own core values. Becoming more aware of my strengths and unique abilities, helped me guide others in their own journey. I think writing, for me, was an accountability trigger and it just activated a button that helped me walk the talk.

3. I became more creative and learned to act from a place of creation and not from fear. Whenever I am put in front of a difficult choice and I need to make a decision and act, I ask myself if my action is a consequence of being afraid, or a reflection of my purpose, core values and mission. At the same time, adopting a creative mindset pushed me to have more courage and practice that muscle on a daily basis.

4. I became more disciplined and organized because I knew this was the only way I could still do all the things I wanted to do. I also gave up some hobbies that I did for my own enjoyment and focused on those that brought me enjoyment but also helped and connected me to other people at the same time.

5. I improved my communications skills because writing forced me to think clearer and get to the essence of what I wanted to express. What is it that I wanted to say? Why does it matter? What is unnecessary information? How can I say what I want to say in the most simple way.

6. And maybe the most important for me, I established deeper relationships and had more meanigful conversations with the people in my life. Writing also made me a better listener and a better conversation partner.

There are so many things I learned and improved in the last two years, but I can only mention the obvious ones, the ones that are visible to the outside. There will be other more subtle transformations that I cannot even grasp and explain.

I was talking to a friend the other day about how I now find joy in just sitting outside in the garden on a bench and listen to the birds. This is something I could not have imagined in August 2021, when I was writing:

“Last Christmas, David got me a book called How to do nothing. It bored me to death and I could not finish it. Sitting in a garden and watching the birds jumping in the tree is not my cup of tea. I need to also bake two cakes, organize the kitchen drawers, build a Lego set, write two pages and read an article while I listen to the birds sing…”

In hindsight, what started as a fragile idea two years ago, helped me transform into a wiser, calmer, more disciplined version of myself and I feel grateful and energized to continue on this journey. There are so many possibilities, and so many other layers to be discovered. I just want to continue flirting with all those possible selves and keep going.

Do you have an idea that stuck with you but you're not sure where to start? Do you keep pushing it away because "it's too busy right now"? Maybe talking to someone would help you get unstuck. Remember that the path ahead is fuzzy and we cannot connect the dots looking forward. We can only connect the dots looking back.

You can always ask me a question or schedule a Free Change Strategy discovery session, by writing me at or in the Contact form.

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