Ideas - Ideas

Don’t Let Your Lightbulb-Moments Burn Out

Ideas begin trickling out at a client brainstorm session when suddenly, your heart begins to flutter faster, and you begin wiggling your toes. You become anxious and excited at the same time as you can’t control this wave of emotion. You are no longer able to hear other ideas as they are presented because you have become completely monopolized with the crazy idea that just popped into your head. As you are ready to share this a-ha moment, a sick feeling begins to set in and self-doubt takes over. One second you were ready to share this light-bulb moment and the next, you’ve become inaudible.

This ever-so-often dilemma can ultimately hinder your client’s overall success. I challenge you to this: When your inner saboteur tries to tell you the weird idea you have is ill-advised, allow yourself to revel in those ideas that make you so intrinsically you. Realize you were hired for your passion, talents and insight and allow yourself the confidence to throw ideas out there, no matter how crazy.

Light-bulb Moment: A rubber duck race that raises money for charity I graduated from college and struggled deciding on a career. My light-bulb moment hit me while on a weekend trip in Chicago. I wanted to throw a rubber duck race where people “adopt” rubber ducks for a dollar, and all proceeds went to local charities. It took me a little while to share this idea as my inner saboteur took over. Would people think the duck race would never amount to anything?

The Result:
Ducky DashThe Ducky Dash—which is what I coined my idea— garnered enough interest from organizers of a large nonprofit where we teamed up to host the race. The event raised thousands of dollars for local charities, and I created lifelong mentors. In fact, two of those mentors helped me hone in on a career path that I am passionate about. Forbes online even highlighted a photo of the race. https://bit.ly/2KBqSCB

Light-bulb Moment: Create ‘fruit art’ in order to garner local media attention
Earlier in my career, I was having a tough time acquiring media hits for one of my clients. So, I thought about trying something different. For my nutrition-based story, I thought what if I brought the news station a watermelon porcupine (yes, you read that right) along with the pitch? It was an off-the-wall idea, and I was embarrassed to even say it out loud. If you google ‘porcupine watermelon,’ you’ll see why.

The Result:
Sometimes, in order to stand out, we have to take risks that make us feel a little uncomfortable. This approach—thanks to the satisfaction of eating a cold watermelon on a hot day—allowed me the opportunity to introduce myself to the producer and pitch my client/product in person. The story was picked up, and I created contacts at that news station, which I still have today.

Light-bulb Moment: Dog beds made from recycled materials
I had an idea of developing an eco-friendly dog bed designed with recycled fabrics from companies in various industries. My insecurities forced me to rest on this concept for months until I finally pitched the idea, and suddenly found myself as a finalist in a local competition that funds entrepreneurial ideas. What did I get myself into?

The Result:

I made my presentation, and—while my idea did not win—it challenged me to be vulnerable in front of hundreds of people as I allowed an idea of mine to be judged. Even with my light-bulb moment being turned down, I gained valuable speaking skills, brushed up on my PowerPoint talents and tackled some tough on-the-spot questions. Not to mention, my dog has a comfy new bed.

If you’re like me, when it comes to crazy ideas, you probably do a lot of second guessing. Today, I realize those light-bulb moments can help my clients stand out, so I’ve stopped second-guessing myself. It is important to know there is a lesson or result in everything we do. We just have to take the leap.

I’ve noticed the snowball effect a crazy idea can bring a room of people as it can inspire others into sharing, adding or expanding on the ideas already presented in the room. Who knows, your crazy idea may ultimately direct your team down a path of idea generation that creates the perfect solution. In the end, that effect is worth the many red face moments I’ve encountered from my ideas that have been instantly shrugged off.

So rid yourself of any apprehension and remember to embrace your inner you. Remember, no one else has the same light-bulb moments as you, so don’t let it slip away.

Matt Witkowski is a senior associate at Lambert