I sit this morning staring at a blank sheet. I want to open with something clever, witty even. Yet, my mind is racing 100 mph. If you blink, you’d miss my thoughts, anxiety, inspiration, determination.

Dana Pittman | Finding a Concept | Purpose

I am venturing into blogging and it’s a new challenge that I haven’t assessed whether I like or not. I have mixed emotions. I am a little muddy on the “rules”. Thus, I’m sure you will find the first posts kind of selfish. I apologize. However, I believe the inner workings of my head, if frozen properly, will help us see clear to our destination.

Freeze Frame

I say “if frozen properly” because as my mind runs it moves like a photographer actively taking pictures of a moving subject. You have probably seen a movie, video, or experienced being at a photo shoot. You hear the repetitive shutter from the camera as the photographer snaps pictures at a rapid speed.

Professional photographer, I’m not. But I’m certain he/she is taking thousands of pictures to get “the one”. The picture that will truly capture the moment. He can set the stage. Add the lights. Have the best equipment. However, in reality, he has no idea when it will appear. So, he captures a million pictures, good and bad, to get “the one”.

Finding “The One”

Do you sit and brainstorm a million ideas? Do you ever struggle to determine which one is “the one”?

I have always been a person that plans. Strategy is my sweet spot in business. Give me a problem. I can usually construct a plan to see you out of it. Or at least, I shift your focus and reveal your problem as an optimal opportunity.

I create fire escape plans…if you will. And now the tables have turned because I’m on fire and I need a plan.

I’m on Fire

Fire not properly contain is problematic. There is a difference between a camp fire and a forest fire. My challenge is deciding on the one to establish my foundation.

Thus, to contain the flames burning in my head (I couldn’t resist using this analogy) I am attempting to freeze frame, to highlight, the idea or ideas that will most capture the work I do.

Finding a Starting Place

The question shifts then to “how”. How do we identify the idea or concept in which to build?

  1. Doodle. Yes, doodle. I find drawing out my runaway thoughts is better than writing them. I  use blank paper (without lines) and I draw a circle in the middle. I then begin to branch out. I do this as fast as I can. I don’t ignore any idea. They all hit the drawing. I usually do this by hand and transfer my thoughts from paper to my computer using a mind-mapping software.
  2. Re-Assess My Goals. I then place my doodle aside and reassess my goals. What is my purpose? What is aligned with my family goals? My business goals? This is an important step. I have tried to speed pass this one and it turned out to be a big-fat failure.
  3. Re-Visit My Mind-Map. With my goals in mind I revisit my mind-map. I try to let some time pass between my brainstorming (i.e., doodling) and revisiting my ideas. The separation allows my mind to kick the ideas around a bit. Here I may identify my top contenders, ideas I should shelf, and I try to weed out the bad ideas. I don’t remove anything from my doodle. I merely try to narrow my focus.
  4. Walk Away. I separate myself. I walk away. This is another period of separation. I run on it. I pray over it. I may even discuss with my husband. The time gives the ideas room to either plant or die. Here I am only focusing on the contenders. However, I’ve had times were bad ideas have surfaced and shown themselves to be viable options.
  5. Pick a Starting Place. I then pick a starting place. I do not lack for ideas, usually. I have a plan for a plan for the plan. (smile) But with so many ideas I could easily get stuck in planning mode, failing to every actually move on anything. Thus, I pick an idea and move.

A Couple of Caveats

This process is meant to be a starting place. It’s not set-in-stone. But it usually helps me determine a direction to take. I share these steps with a couple of caveats:

  • Don’t be afraid to switch gears. I wish I could say that the starting place is always right. It’s not. Thus, don’t be afraid to reconsider another idea or method.
  • Don’t trash your doodle. Do not disregard the ideas that surfaced in the doodling stage. I keep them and try to revisit when I hit a snag in my active plans.

Confine your fire in order to set the world ablaze!  I’m ready. What about you? I offer these steps to help you move from being stuck to actively building. Now, let’s get going, do something today…right now…to move forward.

QUESTION: Do you ever struggle to determine which idea is “the one”? What steps do you take?

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