Yesterday, I was in a mood to throw some ideas up on the virtual wall and see what stuck. Out of the ten ideas I had yesterday, three weren’t viable, four were too complicated, two required more skills than I have, and one became a reality. Every once in a while I go through a spell of rapid idea generation like that. There is no one trigger that sets me off; I start free-thinking while I’m driving, or taking a shower, or walking my dog and then the ideas just show up. I usually have to grab a scrap of paper or start dictating to my smart phone to capture all the thoughts and ideas that my brain decides to dump before they’re gone again.

The one thing I have noticed is that these flurry of ideas don’t come to me when I’m at my desk or sitting in a meeting. I am possibly the worst person to invite to a brainstorming meeting. Being locked up in a conference room and staring at a whiteboard doesn’t generate any creativity in me whatsoever. In fact, the whole notion of brainstorming meetings make me want to run screaming in the opposite direction. Why? Because the whole notion of brainstorming as a group means that, by being invited, you’ve now been given permission to think. And by not being invited, your thoughts and ideas really don’t matter right now.

How many of you have a great idea yet feel like you have ten million reasons not to act on it? We, as humans, do this to ourselves all the time. We have a spark of an idea and immediately bury it with excuses. I have no time. People will think it’s dumb. I’m too scared to bring it up to my boss. My boss will think it’s dumb. It’s not my place to say anything. No one asked me. Does any of that sound familiar to you? If so, you need to stop. You’re only hurting yourself.

Do yourself a favor and stop waiting for permission to think. Stop for a moment and look at your world with fresh eyes. Are there things you can do to improve your workplace? Or improve your community? What is your great idea? Don’t be afraid to bring that idea out into the light where it can grow. And if someone feels the need to tell you it’s stupid, look them in the eye and say “At least I had the balls to try.”

Still need an invite to a brainstorming session to get you started? Here’s my invite. My brainstorming session runs 24/7/365. Join in.