“Ideas aren’t that important. It’s the execution that matters.”
To me, these words weren’t the sharp sting of a slap to the face. They were the dull, body-stopping pang from getting slugged in the stomach. For a long time, such statements brought me confusion and inner conflict. I was depressing. There have been many tears over the course of many years as I struggled to find that ONE idea I could pour myself into.
I have always loved ideas, but execution… not so much. Then a guy named James Altucher came along with a different message. He said I was okay just the way I was. He not only validated my idea-ness, he — along with his wife, Claudia — gave me some very simple tools to better wield my ideas (for example, not stopping at one, or two, or three ideas when working on a solution; go to at least 10. Or, how writing down 10 ideas every day around a specific theme builds the “idea muscle”).
I felt I related to James Altucher. We had gone through similar experiences such as losing money and starting over (tho he went through the cycle a few more times than I did. I just froze and lay mostly dead for several years while he did the whole rinse and repeat thing a couple of times. I don’t know which is worse). I found this guy intriguing. I couldn’t figure out his angle. Everybody has an angle, right? But he wasn’t selling anything on his blog or in either of his two podcasts. A bit confused, but with my being more or less anti-guru, I found this refreshing.
I am NOT a “Gropie”
I hate to sound like a groupie, or worse, a “gropie” — one who gropes for the attention or approval of another (by the way, I just made up that term. Maybe somebody else already did?). But I have to admit, there’ve been a few people in my life that have a message that I find myself really relating to. I usually imagine myself working on projects with them and laughing while enjoying dinner. My wife is there, too. Altucher is one of these persons (Oh crap! I AM a gropie!).
But this post isn’t about James and Claudia (that’s right, in under 350 words since I started this post we’re all of a sudden on a first name basis. Only makes sense since we’ve already enjoyed several dinners together and shared much laughter). This post is about ideas and what can happen when a person chooses to be a wielder of ideas.
I had sent James and Claudia a ‘Thank You’ via twitter stating that a list of 15 ideas landed me inside a new adventure with the producer of a new music festival. James asked me to send him an email with my story but I turned it into this blog post, instead. (I can share my story with others this way, without writing twice. Plus I get the opportunity to (hopefully) send a few people to explore his blog [Go here. Type in a search on a topic that you’ve been curious about. Chances are, he’s written some interesting perspective about it. I know. I’m such a gropie]).
How Idea Wielding Landed Me In A New Adventure
So, my experience wasn’t a big deal, really. But I think people THINK this idea-wielding stuff is a big deal. So maybe they don’t do anything with their ideas. Or perhaps the opposite is true and a person tries too hard, or expects too much and ends up struggling. I must say, relaxed is better.
The experience I’m about to share with you just kind of fell together. That’s the opposite of falling apart. It could have happened that way, too. Still could. I’m aware of that. But what IS a big deal is trusting in the process of working with ideas, and taking action with them.
So, here’s my story. There’s this guy, his name is also Dave. He lives less than an hour from me. We’d been Facebook ‘friends’ for a year or so. He seemed like a friendly guy with an interest in business. I like talking about business and projects. More specifically about small- or micro-business. I believe bringing a business to life can give more life to its creator.
Dave agreed to meet and — sort of on a whim — invited me to sit in on another meeting he had already scheduled with the producers (CJ and Bam) of an upcoming music festival to be held in Utah (Utah? Well, it turns out that quite a bit of talent comes out of Utah, and can draw from Las Vegas, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and California. And, it’s rather untapped. Cool).
Anyhow, the meeting went well. It consisted mostly of get-to-know-you kind of stuff. It turns out that this was the first time any of us had met. First for me and Dave. First for Dave and the two producers. There were stories shared and laughter had (this time not just in my imagination). A few ideas were tossed around. We parted ways following a posed photo taken for Facebook (is that obligatory, these days?).
I love these trips into Salt Lake City because it takes me about 40 minutes to get home. That’s good time for thinking while driving. This was exciting! Even if it was just sitting in on one meeting, it was fun to be in the middle of something creative where good-hearted people were involved. And I had a sense that these were good people.
Anyhow, that evening I wrote down ten ideas that I thought might be good for the festival. Then I made a group chat on Facebook and requested the email addresses of the four others who were at the meeting. It wasn’t until the next morning that everyone had added their email address to the chat; by then I had 5 or 7 more ideas I had added to the list. I sent the list off to everyone and then moved on with my day, knowing it wasn’t healthy to get wrapped up in worrying about the results.
I followed up a day later in the same Facebook chat window to see if everyone had received a copy of the ideas. The executive producer (CJ) said he liked them (he could have just been being polite. Polite is good). Another day went by and I had contacted CJ again (direct Facebook chat this time) and let him know I’d be happy to contribute somehow. I asked where he saw gaps that needed to be filled and he suggested I work with them with the crowdfunding. Am interesting note: I had been very up front by telling him I’d never done crowdfunding before. I think he found my other projects and my “Start With Why” beliefs intriguing enough to invite me in (that’s my guess. They had seemed to light up when I described my other projects at that first meeting).
Since then, I’ve scheduled an in-person meeting for next week to go over a game plan for how to integrate all aspects of our marketing into any crowdfunding campaigns we may have. I also have a new idea to reveal to them that may end up getting us the funds we need even before we go live with a crowdfunding campaign.
So, you see, there wasn’t any magic involved. Just trusting my ideas and putting them out there. Well, I take that back. That IS the magic.
Of course, this particular story is just getting started. With all this excitement, I still hold no expectations. I realize that sometimes things like this get started and stuff gets shifted and moved to someone with more skill, more influence, or simply because somebody likes somebody else.
And I’m fine with that. This is an adventure; we’re not supposed to know how it ends. While I’m excited about the project, I’m more excited about finding my way in life. A way of life that is one adventure after another. I’m at home with my ideas. And that’s a nice place to be.
Photo credits: flickr.com: Adriano Agulló, Justin See