Don’t Go Down That Rabbit Hole: Begin With Your Idea

Time To Read: 3 mins


The wrong question. Have you felt stymied when asked the wrong question? I have.

When I’ve had the courage to share an idea that I’ve come up with I might get the question, “What’s your target market?”

This question is a reasonable one. What drives this question is who will “purchase” this idea of yours.

It’s a fair question. And, the underlying rationale is don’t invest any time in this idea UNTIL you can identify that target market and know what customers in that market want and develop the idea to fit those tastes.

But that question is the wrong one.

Begin With Your Idea, As It Is. Before we put the cart before the horse, let’s pause and answer the more important questions.

What IS your idea? What will you bring to this idea of yours? Why is this idea interesting to YOU?

This kind of thinking happens before—essentially prior to—identifying a target market, customer needs, and selling to them.

Of course, you need some inkling of who might be interested, but if you go down the rabbit hole of researching the answer to that question, you’ll be stopped in your tracks.

You will feel overwhelmed.

You will question what you have to offer.

You will go back to bed.

Don’t cripple your idea before you’ve even had a chance to develop it.

Begin with your idea.

Did Steve Jobs consider his target market in shaping his ideas for the iPod? I don’t think so.  Not at the beginning.

Yes, the iPod turned out to be a revolutionary product for delivering music to consumers.

Yours might not be at all the same thing, but don’t get stuck on exact analogies.

Your idea could be a product, a service, a new approach to tackling a research problem, or a new way of teaching kids how to think critically.

Whatever your idea, don’t go down the rabbit hole.

Why not? Well, if you ask people what they want, they don’t much know.

They know what they don’t want. And, that gets to another way of developing your idea.

What don’t you want your idea to be? What doesn’t or didn’t work for you? How will this idea be different and better, for you, if you were on the receiving end?

When given the freedom to dream up your idea, you can create content (substitute “content” for product, service, or approach) you understand and work through intellectually.

Content that makes sense to you.

After hours of reading, hours of thinking, and hours of figuring out what you want to say, you know that your idea is authentically yours.

Allowing yourself to feel vulnerable, revealing what you think, being who you really are, can lead to great satisfaction.

The kind of satisfaction you feel when you know you’ve done your best.

Been true to yourself.

Given it your all.

And, when you reveal that idea, when you’ve put it out there, just as you want it to look, it’s scary, but you’ll also feel exhilarated.

And, when others respond positively—because some will—you know you’ve found your tribe.

Pick Yourself. Let’s follow Seth Godin’s advice and pick ourselves.

Let’s not wait to be picked.

Let’s not wait for someone else to validate our ideas before we’ve even begun.

Let’s not ask for permission.

New ideas are just that. New.

Your ideas are just that—new and yours.

So, begin with your idea. And, you’ll feel energized.

I don’t want to chase average. I want to deliver excellent. And, I wish that for you.

What idea are you not tackling? What has been holding you back? What are you waiting for?


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