We’ve all experienced that flash of inspiration -- an idea that when we have it ricochets around our brain, pinging back and forth, electric with possibility. It often feels in those first moments like nothing could possibly go wrong, that our idea is the answer to everything: a fix for stagnant sales, the product that could change the world, the innovation that can shift entire industries. In those first beautiful moments, we can see the path, all the way to the glorious finish.
And then most often, we lose it.
Why? Well, “reality” sets in. We start enumerating the possible pitfalls. Problems with the idea, with our team, with ourselves. A shortfall in funding. A newly discovered competitor. A technological hiccup that we think derails the whole process. The fire for our searingly brilliant vision flickers and dies. We find ourselves back in the rut we started in. Idealess again, and poorer for not having tried.
This, insists Inc. magazine contributor Marla Tabaka, is the killer of more good ideas than anything else. If we are to do something amazing, we need to break through the mental hurdles that kill our ideas before they even have a chance to be tested.“Breakthrough thinking,” she writes, “isn't born of doubt and fear, it's born of the ability to let go, remove limits, suspend judgment, and believe in your unique vision.”
She reminds us that the first step to making anything happen, no matter how modest, is getting over that initial hump of self-doubt and the resultant paralyzation. That what we mistake for “reality” is really just the naked fear that comes with committing to try anything new and possibly risky.
Walking us through the 5 Stages of Breakthrough Ideas, each stage after the initial elation finds the entrepreneur assaulted by some new idea-killing apprehension: of pre-supposing failure, “cold feet” as you near deployment, misunderstanding the need to pivot as evidence of failure.
Understanding these questions and fears for what they are gives us a distinctly better chance of success: we recognize the fear that requires we first look. But we don’t let it blind us so that we cannot leap.