Good Idea, I Think I Love You! (Focus)

We’ve established that there are a lot of good ideas out there, and that a lot of us have them, a lot of the time.  We’ve also established that despite this fact,it can be difficult to grab hold of this kind of creative energy, and really see it through to fruition.

For the next couple posts, let’s talk about strategies that help us weed through the pile, pick a good idea and commit!  – This post is a little longer, but read through to the end to see how it bears on your creative ideas.  I’d LOVE for some of you to share your “Yes” lists in the comments!


1.  Know your Big Picture focus  (What will you say YES to?)

This is so much more fun to think about than all the things you might have to say “no” to! I’ve learned that part of growing up is that you make:

fewer and fewer decisions between good and bad…
–   should I get really drunk tonight at my work party, or should I remain sociably sober?

and more decisions between good and better.
–  should I spend Saturday hiking with my friends or baking cookies with my kids?

The simplest way to deal with the constant barrage of “good v. better” decisions is to clearly know what you will always say “Yes” to.

Grab your cutest notebook, and start to jot a list.

What will I say "yes" to?

– I will always say yes to my family.
– I will always say yes to my friends.
– I will aways say yes to my neighbors.
– I will always say yes to spiritual growth, to God.

3 Things:

1.  This is my list.  Yours doesn’t have to be like it.  My list is not perfect, and will get tweaked as I learn more and fail more.

2.  Keep your list short.  Leaving something off doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it just means that you won’t do it at the expense of a “yes” on your list.

3.  “I will always say yes” has a context.  For instance, I do not mean that every time my kid wants something, I will give it to him, or that every time a friend asks for coffee I will drop everything and head out.

Example:  My oldest son plays football.  Most of his games this year have conflicted with the time that we go to church.  There’s a tension there, to be sure…  it seems that there’s almost a cultural mandate to be at every one of your kids’ sporting events, or risk being a bad parent.

Theo, #54

With my “yes” list in mind, I talked to my son, and told him that I love him being in football because he loves it.  I want him to learn to stick with the things he commits to, so I endorse his participation, and want to be there often.  However, his participation in football can’t compromise my spiritual growth, the nurturing of my closest friendships, nor the rest of our family’s interests. (My kids all LOVE going to church – probably because our church is not churchy. 😉 )

So see, there are 3 yeses there…  my family, my friends, my spiritual growth.  They helps me to make this good v. better decision.

Good Ideas

OK.  That’s Cool. But How Do “Yeses” Help Me Creatively?

The great ideas that you can do, that you will do, that you will complete successfully, are the ideas that work in your life.  If you go into an idea enterprise blindly, what happens is that a few months into it, you realize it’s not fitting into your life.  It’s pushing up against “yeses” that you didn’t know you had.  You will drop that idea, after having likely already jeopardized some “yeses”, and wind up feeling discouraged about the whole “good idea’ thing.

Yeses help you trim your idea list to the ones at which you can succeed!

(We’ll talk about idea lists later – keep all of those good ideas!  Your “yes” list will change as your life changes, and you may find you can then succeed at some of those “listed” ideas.  Pie Shop, anyone?)

Please note:  This post is about the BIG ideas – business ventures, new directions in life, time consuming commitments.  If you have lots of good ideas for tweaking a Toll House cookie recipe, or painting your bathroom, or writing a poem, have at it!  No need to consult the “yes” list. 🙂

Alright now, peeps – let’s hear about some Yes Lists in the comments section!  I’m sure it will be thought provoking.  See you next week!  I’m out for a weekend away.  Yay!!!



11 thoughts on “Good Idea, I Think I Love You! (Focus)

    • Noreen,
      Did you run the Columbus half-marathon? (I see you’re from Cincinnati). I have several friends who ran that… just wondering. Regardless, Congratulations! And, yes ,that IS a big YES. I bet you’re so glad you made the commitment. 🙂 I can only imagine if you put that much energy into your blog, you’ll really be pleased with where you’re at in a few months!

  1. I love the fact nieghbors is on your yes list!!!
    What does it say about my stage in life that the thought of a yes list overwhelms me? And this is from someone who loves to make lists! I think maybe I know that making a yes list might show me that I have being saying yes to some things that should be NO (and maybe even no way, not ever and don’t even think about it)
    I’ll think about it tomorrow……..

    • Are you quoting Scarlett O’Hara when you say “I’ll think about it tomorrow”? If so, we may have more in common than we think! 🙂

      Just remember that the Yes List is supposed to be a filter, so that you can avoid being overwhelmed by negotiables. Maybe you just have too many things on your list?

  2. Heidi, you never cease to inspire me..! Did you write this with anyone in mind (?!)..ok, maybe i’m not the only one..
    btw, i have the perfect hoosier for the pie shop so let me know :)–keep up the very entertaining and illuminating entries!

    • Thanks, friend! Of course, there’s a lot of mutual inspiration going on here… :), and no – you’re not the only one with lots of good ideas. You do, however, have some of the best ideas, IMHO. (P.S. – I’m still looking forward to interviewing you!)

  3. I think the yes list is a great idea. It’s easy with so many demands on our time to find yourself pulled in multiple directions and ultimately not fulfilling any of your own desires. Concentrating on what is important to you helps you prioritise all those competing demands. It’s not a bad thing to say “no, not right now” sometimes.

  4. You “yes” list reminds me of Steven Coveys “big rocks” concept. Deciding what the big rocks are in your life, scheduling them (putting them in the bucket) first, then allowing the little stones to fill in the empty spots in your (bucket)schedule. The hard part is deciding what are big rocks/better ideas and what are stones/good ideas. But boy once you’ve nailed those down, those “To Do” lists are so much easier to manage. My biggest problem is actually remembering to write things down on a daily basis. I go in cycles of daily journalling and listing and then….. nothing ARGH.

    • I love the “rocks in a bucket” analogy… It’s so true that when we put first things first, the rest almost takes care of itself!

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