They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
And I used to have a BIG problem.
(I’d love to cue some theme music here, but you’re just going to have to make something up and hum it in your head.)
Hi, my name is Erika Lyremark, and I used to have IdeaRhea.
You heard me.
IdeaRhea – the condition of suddenly erupting with waaaaaay too many ideas and wanting to act on them all. RIGHT AWAY.
I’m constantly spilling over with new business ideas, one after the other, and every one of them is going to get my face on the cover of Fast Company.
An explosion at least once a week. Sometimes even more.
Kinda gross, right?
You have no idea. (See what I did there? Idea … idea-reah … oh nevermind.)
Here’s how it would go:
I hop on the Internet, buzz around doing ‘research’, then exhaust my friends and Chad (who are all nice enough to act like they are listening – those enablers!) as I blab on and on about my exciting new ideas, such as…
: PersianMixology.com – The new wave in cocktails, combining spices and ingredients popular in Persian food. My debut recipe?
The Saffron Lemon Drop – same as the regular Lemon Drop, but made with saffron sugar instead.
: OpenFacePragueDogCafe.com – the brilliant combination of my two favorite lunch foods from when I travel to Europe. Swedish open face sandwiches and onion-laden hot dogs from Prague.
The Swedish/Prague crossover cafe looks fabulous in my head – all blonde babes and absinthe drinkers chowing down on open face Prague dogs. You can see it too, right?
: OutsourceNag.com – This service would nag my husband for me. God, it takes a lot of work to nag. Stop nagging you say?
Come see what my house looks like after two weeks of NOT nagging and you’ll see why I need this service.
Of course when Chad heard about this, he said he was going to create his own business called OutSourceListener.com. A service that would listen to Outsource Nag … I think you can see where this one is going …
We’re all creatives here, with a million ideas a minute. And every single one seems audaciously new, or uniquely relevant.
But you know what?
They all may be GREAT ideas that you’re having. (I happen to think that OutsourceNag.com is GENIUS.) But they are a distraction.
99.4% of those ideas bubbling into your head distract you from your real work on the planet.
All those ideas are a creative way of expressing your fear of facing up to your calling.
I’ll be crystal clear – IdeaRhea is a brilliant form of procrastination.
It will stop you from achieving ANYTHING.
That’s its sole purpose.
So how did I finally get my IdeaRhea under control?
STEP 1: I CALM THE F DOWN
I mean it.
Every new idea seems exciting, and sets my head spinning. So I take a deep breath, and ask myself – “How does this new idea serve my purpose on the planet?”
I use that moment to get clear, and reaffirm my goals. I mean, PersianMixology is awesome! But where does it fit in with helping entrepreneurs with their sales, marketing and business development?
STEP 2: I GOT AN IDEA-BOX
This one is courtesy of my friend & business strategist, Betty Jean Bell, who got so frustrated with my Idearhea while we were working on a project, she told me to get an IDEA-BOX or she would FIRE me!
So I did! About every 2 months I clean it out. And 50% of my ideas get tossed into the garbage.
Writing things down takes some of the heat off them. And restores my sanity. And storing those ideas in a box lets me know they’ll still be there later. If I really want them. But usually, I don’t.
STEP 3: I IMPOSE A 24-HOUR WAITING PERIOD
My team started imposing a 24-hour wait period on all my brilliant new ideas.
I actually bumped it up to a 72-hour cooling off period, because sometimes it takes me that long to realize I’ve lost my focus.
Because that’s what nearly all those cool ideas are – a way to lose focus.
I’m the first to admit – narrowing your focus can be scary.
It’s like trying to choose a mate, while the inside of your head is racing around wondering if you’re going to miss out on anything down the road.
Your calling is a commitment.
Idearhea lets you flirt and flirt and flirt – and then you find you’ve just wasted a ton of time getting nothing done.
And worse than getting nothing done? Doing NOTHING with your life.