When I get a life-changing idea, I cannot wait to tell the whole world. I’m over-the-moon about sharing the thought, until I actually share it.
Then I immediately open myself to judgment. And when I finish explaining the idea and say, "So, what do you think?” it can be deflating when my next question is, “Why aren’t you as excited as I am?”
I remember telling my mom about my idea to start my website, My Kind of Life, and how I finally — after three months — landed upon my motto, “inspiration for kind people.”
I thought she would have been as excited as if she had won the lottery. Instead, she said, “Oh, that’s great, Emily.”
I get it. She's busy on the other side of the phone, hunting and pecking her way to her Ph.D.
But sometimes I can't help but wonder, Why is this awesome idea that the Universe sent me not getting the attention of Good Morning America? (Side note: Someone needs to invent an app that channels genius ideas to morning talk shows.)
The point is, if I'm not careful, other people's opinions will affect my confidence in a skewed way. And sometimes, the idea is squashed.
So I started analyzing successful entrepreneurs, authors and scientists who had bright ideas and fulfilled the desire to pursue them. People like Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Arianna Huffington.
According to a 1961 Reader's Digest article written by Thomas Edison's son Charles, an epic fire once destroyed the laboratory where all of his father's hard work was created. Thomas Edison told his 24-year-old son, "Go get your mother and all her friends. They'll never see a fire like this again." When Charles objected, Edison said, "It's all right. We've just got rid of a lot of rubbish."
What I learned from peeking into the lives of these successful dreamer-doers is that they open themselves up to share their ideas, too. The difference though, is that they have enough confidence that when the naysayers pipe up, they simply protect their vision with solid iron gates. Even when a fire destroys years of work.
Then I wondered: if they’re protecting themselves from criticism, how do they find constructive opinions to refine their ideas?
Surround Yourself With People Who Get Your Vision
What I found was that successful dreamer-doers surround themselves with angels, or guides that they trust and honor. I noticed, for example, that Arianna Huffington always has expert advisors who cheer her on; in fact, those are the people she hires. (Note to self: hire people who get my ideas.) This is an area where I fall short sometimes. I seek advice from people who love to blow out candles, and not the people who help to keep the fire lit.
Ideas Are The Universe's Way Of Telling You To Keep Going
Everyday, I write in a beautiful handmade journal with flowers pressed into the pages — a thoughtful gift that one of my husband’s clients brought me from India. In it, I jot down thoughts and inspiration, and I have an entire page written with the following:
Remember these ideas you have are the Universe telling you to pursue them, not the Universe’s way of saying, "seek judgment."
Don't Share Ideas With People Who Aren't Ready To Listen
Recently, I’ve been telling friends that I have started writing my first book. Since I don't want anyone to squelch my fire, I keep it short when they ask, “What’s it about?”
Or, if I’ll notice that they’re in the middle of a text, I'll simply answer, “It’s a memoir.” They almost always come back with, “Oh, cool,” and go on texting their boss.
I’ve learned to share my ideas in a sacred space where I know I’m intimately connected with the other person —sans the disturbance of deadlines, emails pinging on iPhones or children begging for attention.
I check out how the person seems to be feeling before I allow myself to open up and become vulnerable in receiving their feedback. If they seem busy, I don’t get worked up when the response is ho-hum. If I’m sharing with someone who’s fully present and I receive constructive criticism, that’s different.
Be Grateful For Friends Who Give You Honest Feedback In a Kind & Loving Way
Several days ago, a girlfriend sent me an email with three things that she loved about my last newsletter, and three things that went right over her head. Sometimes, this feedback can be deflating, but in my case, I saw it as a reward. Someone who cares enough — and was living in the present — took the time to construct a thoughtful email to offer her opinion.
With a career that requires prolonged alone time (my husband wonders why I talk so much at night) I highly value receiving feedback from my mentors and my guides. With their advice and council, they light my fire, bigger, brighter. I focus on their direction and don't waste my time or energy sharing my ideas with people who won't be 100% onboard.
Finally, when the idea is public, published, invented, the naysayers have more respect for me — they almost always adopt the flame that I’ve been burning — for following through on an idea that, at one point, in their eyes, didn't seem like much of anything.