A safe space for new thoughts


This week I made something from nothing and this is one thing that inspires me greatly — sitting with a friend over a coffee, coming up with ideas and within a few days bringing it into reality.

When was the last time you had nothing but a blank sheet of paper, a pen and an idea and then thought... "hmmm too hard" ... ?

We've all been there — I've been there many times and I'm sure you've been there too. So I'd like to tell you about my friend Tony — he ran his own digital agency once upon a time, worked as the head of digital at a global ad agency in recent years, and now works product-side in a tech company. Above all, he's a father first and that's one of the things that I really admire about him.

He can also draw like a m*ther f*cker which is one of my own secret passions.

The other thing is that Tony has taught me to call bullshit when I see it — even when that bullshit is my own.

When Tony and I get together we have the strangest conversations.

We come up with endless streams of useless ideas that will reshape the world we live in and from time to time we have those mind-blowing moments that stop us for a moment.... then we keep chatting about something completely unrelated. Weaving back to the central idea (or something else) later.

This week, Tony and I decide to get off our arses and make something from nothing. Mainly because we got sick of hearing ourselves to be honest with you. The endless backslapping, high-fiving on vacuous ideas made us look in the mirror and call our own bullshit.

Everything we use every day started at some point in time, with an idea and a decision to get up and make it happen. Although more ideas have died a lonely death as they wither away in the mind, or notebook, of the people who are afraid to do something with them.

I’m a member of a few industry and skill-specific forums and groups where ideas fly around like wildfire. I’m also quite active on Twitter and LinkedIn. I don’t use social media to keep in touch friends (I prefer to do that face to face) but rather I use it as a business and collaboration tool — and because of this, I see and hear ideas for new things all the time.

Some of them, on the surface, great ideas.

Ideas to fix inequality in our industry.

Ideas to replace our industry associations with a completely new type of leadership.

Ideas for new products, tools and applications that will make the world a better place.

Ideas that will make me fitter and healthier.

The list goes on.

I also mentor and keep in touch with a heap of people in our industry across the globe and we talk about ideas for their new ventures, their creative businesses and everything in between.

Recently, I've also been conducting 1:1 consulting sessions with entrepreneurs and we've been discussing their own new ideas and how we might work together within an equity partnership.

Ideas, ideas, ideas — they're so exciting but every time, without fail, once the initial excitement wanes, most of these wash over me because I know that they mean very little until someone says, “I just took the first step towards making it a reality.”

Now that is exciting!

That first step is courage and audacity to say a big ‘fuck you’ to anyone that thought the idea was a bad one.

That first step is a fearlessness in the face of quite possible and plausible failure. And mostly, that first step is the beginning of momentum. A momentum that maybe, just may be, all you need to bring the thing to life.

Staring is difficult. So very difficult.

Some of us are afraid of being ridiculed or told that we're a fraud. So we keep our ideas in our Moleskine notebooks, never to see the light of day.

Some of us fear failure altogether and others see a mountain before them, cold, wet and dangerous.

Although some see something completely different all together.

An opportunity to learn instead of a difficult road to travel.

An apathy for ridicule because ridicule is about the bully, not us.

An opportunity to fail instead of a fear of the same.

An opportunity not a mountain.

Some people go from idea to reality in the blink of an eye — moving first, and moving fast even if it is to prove that the idea wasn't worthy of their long term attention.

These are the people who have created one of the many things that other lack. A space to cultivate ideas and nurture them into reality, or oblivion if need be.

This space isn't filled with post-it notes, markers and index cards. It's not a space of white boards, bean bags and motivational quotes on walls.

It's a safe space inside their minds that nurtures new ideas instead of killing them. It's a space that moves them from nothing to something. It's a space of action, not lethargy and fear.

It's a space of abundance not scarcity.

A space of possibility, endeavour and opportunity.

It's a safe space for new thoughts.