Cleaning out your bottom drawer
Everyone has a place for things that they're just not sure what to do with. For you it could be a bottom drawer or an old cigar box. It may include letters from an old girlfriend or a part to an old record player. It may hold a few old baseball cards or a necklace left to you from a great aunt. Why keep them? Well, for one, you may need them someday, right? You may also fear being too impulsive or irresponsible to toss them in the trash or sell them online.
While we all have examples like these in our lives, my biggest source of bottom drawer anxiety is my idea book. It represents my thoughts and ideas since high school and illustrates my creative history like layers of limestone on a cliffside. I am at once immensely proud of having them and forever repressed for leaving them there to gather dust.
What about a brand new idea?
If you're like me you have ideas popping into your head all the time. So, here's the first question: What should you do with these ideas?
The way I see it you have two basic options. You can either share them with others (boy is this risky) or you can write them down somewhere and forget about them (safe and highly confidential). During most of my adult life, I have chosen the latter. Since my ideas make me who I am over time, this safe route is very unsatisfying.
Now for the second question: Why don't we share them or act on them? From my experience, they are either not big enough, are too personal or (this is the scary one) are so interesting that the slightest hint to others will create a storm of activity thereby trouncing my “first to market" status. That is either ego, fear or ignorance talking but regardless fear of letting my ideas out of the bag has kept me from expressing myself.
What do you do with YOUR ideas?
Launching your ideas can follow a number of paths including:
1. Telling the world about your idea on, let's say, a blog.
One could argue this is a bit risky if you haven't thought it through or if you are worried that it is so unique that others may steal it. Your decision there, of course. If you are like me though, many of the ideas aren't always practical or may not be in your field of work anyway! This option is perfect for folks who just need to get their ideas out of their head and into public view.
2. Launching your idea formally either as a business or as a public service
If you really believe in your idea and have the time, energy and family support to make it a reality, go for it! This is the ultimate expression of confidence. It says, “hey brain, you've got something there". If you are going to step off the cliff, you will need some help and guidance and the web is full of great sites to support your effort.
So, this is the time to start shaking off the dust, to open the drawer, organize the contents and begin sharing your ideas with the world.
Tim Tyrell-Smith is a veteran consumer packaged goods marketing executive with a passion for ideas and strategy. He writes the blog Quixoting™ - A Quest for New Ideas, a new site dedicated to bringing old and new ideas to life by releasing them to the world. An idea junkie himself, Tim created Quixoting as a place to empty his “bottom drawer" of saved up ideas. Based on the the book Don Quixote by Cervantes, this site draws on the impulsive and daring nature of the “knight" to inspire readers to act on their ideas and, in turn, fulfill their dreams.
You can view Tim's blog at http://quixoting.typepad.com