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Choosing the ideas that can change your life: how to know the difference between ideas that feed and ideas that simply succeed

The precious miracle that is a Big Idea

There are those ideas that bubble up without coaxing.  The ones that started as an idle thought, that turned into a daydream, that began to infiltrate your dreams at night and most every conversation with friends, colleagues, random strangers in grocery lines.  The ones that won’t leave you alone.  These ideas come from a place within that is spacious and whole, and as a result just thinking about the idea generates happiness, hope and joy.

Familiar with these ideas?

These are the ideas that, if properly cared for, blossom into brilliance.  They’ll change your life if you let them.

These are your Big Ideas.

Let’s, for a moment, contrast these with a different type of idea.

This is the type that arises from a place of want, a sense of backed-into-a-corner, or perhaps a history of feeling less-than disguised as doing better-than.  It may be clever and inventive, it may have the potential to make big bucks, it may even change a landscape here or there.  This idea shows its head and is immediately snatched up by eager hands ready to automate, innovate, and ship.  This idea does not require a gentle touch; it is a sizzler, and can almost chart its own course while we watch from a close sideline seat.

The difference between these two ideas is not whether or not they will ultimately succeed.  The difference is how the ideas will affect you, their mama, the host that birthed them.  One will bring you alive and enable you to brighten the world around you, which is what you’re here to do.  The other will be something you manufactured, or something you achieved, or an experience you had that served you in some way, but which leaves you longing for that brightness.

Once you’ve successfully manifested the second type and have had time to reflect, you will likely find yourself staring off into space, wondering what to do to fill the void that persists even after the idea did all it was meant to, and more.  You want to feel something you never felt during the process of hatching your idea.  You want to feel like it matters.  To you.

When your idea has a Why beneath it that is connected to you in a root way, seemingly originating in your blood, it’s a reflection of your values and your principles.  It’s an opportunity for you to to come alive by doing what you love.  It’s a way for you to change your life and the lives of others in your own unique way.  This is inspired action.  This is acting from the heart.

Ask not what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive….then go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  ~Howard Thurman

The rewards in this case are astronomical.  Meteorific.  Phenomenally profound.

The absence of a heartfelt Why

If, however, an idea isn’t generated from your values, your principles and your beliefs, it by itself will not bring you joy and fulfillment.  It will only ever be a watered down version of the first, because its Why doesn’t connect to you at your core.  If the answer to “Why are you doing this?” is anything other than some variation of “Because doing this makes me come alive!”, then it isn’t a way for you to express your calling.  It might make you millions, but it won’t make you happy in that deepest of ways.

For me, I’m done massaging those ideas that fall into the second camp.  (Even if they might have created the next Facebook…)  Instead, I want to buckle down and do the hard work on projects and endeavors that feel like exquisite gifts I’m creating for the world.  These are the ideas that are changing my life.  And as I bring them into existence, I also notice something curious about how they unfold.  Without a doubt, it’s EASIER for me to develop gameplans and devise strategies for them.  Yup, that’s right, easier.  In choosing to be true to my Big Idea, the old pitfalls I used to encounter regularly while pursuing a project or plan are no longer here.  What I’m left with is a willingness to follow the clues before me, and a commitment to staying true to the Big Idea that has graced me with its presence.

What about you?  Which of your ideas will you give your full attention?  How will you enable your Big Idea to bring you alive?  What are you here to do?


If you have a Big Idea and are looking for support and guidance on getting it off the ground, consider joining the next round of Burst Into Bloom group coaching.  8 women come together weekly via telephone for six weeks, looking deeply at what’s behind what they want and what’s in the way of making it happen.  You’ll experience facilitated discussion, one on one coaching, interactive exercises, and the power of the group itself.  Interested in being in the loop for the next session in January?  Sign up here.


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