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4 Ways to Get Back on Track After Losing Interest in an Idea

Stashed in: Creativity, Ideas, Productivity, Awesome, creativity!

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1. Dig out the nugget

Forget the millions of Word docs you’ve created — when you first thought of the idea, what excited you about it most? What were you hoping to accomplish? How would your company have benefitted?

Sometimes, we get so obsessed with the brainstorming and planning phase that we lose the essence of why we thought it was such an awesome idea to begin with.

Once you’re clear on the why — and, just as importantly, on what you want to end result to be — go back to your plans. What can you salvage? What needs to go? Be ruthless.

2. Bring in external counsel

There’s something really amazing that happens when people come together to execute on an idea. In the beginning at least. And then? It can be mayhem. When you work really closely with the same people on an idea you all really care about, you tend to adopt a group narrative about the project — it’s a phenomenon called groupthink. You tell and re-tell one another the same stories about why you’re doing things the way you’re doing them, why doing it differently wouldn’t work, and why it’s the most awesome project ever (even when it doesn’t feel that way).

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to bring in someone who can offer an honest, external perspective. Just be sure you all agree on that person, so that everyone in the group will value — and listen to — his or her opinion.

3. Go do something else

Seriously. Go to the movies. Plan a weekend trip. Binge watch the new season of Orange is the New Black.

I don’t know about you, but when I feel like something isn’t quite right, my first reaction is to want to solve the problem. Which means overthinking. In this case, resist that urge, and do the opposite. Run away from the idea for a few days, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Does it still feel wrong? If so, can you more clearly identify where that feeling is coming from?

4. Don’t be afraid to scrap it

Worst case scenario, you may need to trash the whole thing. I know, it makes you nauseous just thinking about it. But maybe it also makes you a little relieved — because now, you don’t have to work so hard on something you don’t really care about or believe in anymore. Which leaves room for you to start working on that other idea that started bubbling up a few weeks ago.

Remember: Throwing in the towel doesn’t mean defeat. It means you’re creating space for something better.

Basically, do something to jar yourself out of your rut.

#4 would be difficult for most people without #2.

Agreed, it's hard to let go even when people give you the advice to let go.

Nice post, Geege.  

I guess #3 is my biggest tactic and that usually turns into #4 by default (or #1 by exception)... I find it's easiest to return and recover my best ideas in #1 clarity because they simply refuse to die and keep their hooks in me...

I've had more challenges with #2, which has often led me to ignore the results of people offering feedback.  Either they're not "getting it" and/or I need to figure out a better way to communicate the idea so they do... so #2 is valuable and makes sense, but with a grain of salt, especially if one is truly invested in turning a vision into reality.

That's why God made soccer, Rob.

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