Introverts - So Many Ideas, So Little Time

in Idea

Creative people, introvert and extrovert alike, tend to be idea-generators. It's fun; it's inspiring and motivating to have an abundance of ideas and projects. However, the follow-through can sometimes be lacking, and then inspiration turns into frustration. Here are some tips (with my introvert-perspective):

Q. I am a legal secretary, an introvert for the most part.  I am 'burning up' inside to Do so much.  However, with so many ideas I am unable to do anything.  Hence I am literally stuck.  I would therefore love some guidance.

A. You are definitely not alone. People write entire books about this dilemma, so I won't pretend that I can solve yours with just a few paragraphs. However, I can point you in the right direction and perhaps get you moving, even if it's just a tiny step. 

First, get some clarity about exactly how you are stuck. For example, is it that you have difficulty choosing an idea (which means not choosing the others) or do you have difficulty deciding which one to do first? Do you realize you don't have enough time to pursue all of them? Or perhaps not enough money for all of them?  Are you trying to do all of them at once and hence get overwhelmed? Is it plain old indecision? In other words, what is stopping you from doing?

Are you aware of your needs and values? This is a first step I put all my clients through. In terms of choosing actions, I recommend first doing the things that satisfy your needs. Then, after your needs have been met; choose the actions that are most closely aligned to your values.

Get your ideas out of your head! One of my former clients (and myself) have benefited from creating a Brilliant Ideas notebook. It's just a notebook (preferably with a jazzy cover that inspires you) where you jot down all the ideas of things you want to do "someday." This way, no idea gets forgotten.  You can act on each idea as time permits. Or you can decide, as my client discovered, that some of these ideas have been replaced by better ideas or that there's just not enough time to do them all in one lifetime - so some things in your Brilliant Ideas notebook will never get acted on.  And that is OK - remember it's your choice. Once you have your ideas out of your head and stored somewhere safe (in your notebook) you can stop fretting about what you have not done. This, believe it or not, frees you up to act when you are good and ready.

Make it OK to experiment and change your mind. Perhaps you have a lot of things you want to do because you are curious. You want to try something out - and if you don't like it, move on to the next thing. You may be afraid that if you do that, people will call you flaky.  Well, that describes me (curious, not flaky).  Here's where I start to sound like a broken record - give yourself permission to change your mind.  It could be you are stuck because you are telling yourself that whatever you choose to do, you are stuck with doing forever.

Introverts like to mull things over, so go ahead and enjoy the thinking process. As one of my blog commenters reminded me, for some introverts (e.g. INFP) generating possibilities is fun, and making a decision ends the fun. Consider the possibility that you have so many ideas because you like generating ideas, and maybe they weren't all meant to be acted on.

(c) 2009 Joanne Julius Hunold 

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Joanne Julius Hunold is a certified professional coach and founder of In Tandem Coaching. She partners with introverted women who undersell themselves. Her clients discover their true value, develop unshakable confidence so that they stop second-guessing themselves, and earn what they are worth. Learn more at: http://www.intandemcoaching.com

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Introverts - So Many Ideas, So Little Time

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This article was published on 2010/04/01