19 Jul Have a Great Idea? Then You Better Get Pregnant with It!
A few months ago, I attended the Plywood Retreat. Our leader and mentor, Jeff Shinabarger, gave me some strong advice during a follow-up phone call after the event. He said, “It’s time to get pregnant with your idea.”
Excuse me? I countered.
“Get pregnant with it,” he said again.
You read that right. Someone who is a HE told me to get pregnant with it. I know what you’re thinking. I thought it was pretty weird, too.
Whether you’ve ever been pregnant or not, chances are you know someone who has been. And even if you haven’t given birth in the traditional way, moms and dads who have adopted can also relate to this post.
I politely said okay, hung up the phone, and went home to think about what getting pregnant with it really meant.
I’m a few months in now, and I still want to tell people I’m getting “jiggy” with it. Yeah, I know. It’s not the same thing, but that’s the phrase that’s swimming around in my head right now.
So, okay, if you haven’t ever been pregnant, here’s a little advice on how to do that with your idea.
1) Pregnancy does strange things to a woman’s body. She’s hungry and sick and weird things are popping out everywhere–pimples, and veins, and ultimately THE BABY–and yet she’s glowing. Absolutely glowing. When you have an amazing idea, you would do well to treat it as you would your pregnant body–with great care. Equip yourself with the tools you’ll need to take on the challenge of execution. Read everything you can. Find a mentor. Nourish your mind. And trust me–if you’re glowing, people will want to know why. They’ll ask the inevitable question, and you’ll be provided with the perfect opportunity to cast vision for that great big project that will change the world.
2) Prepare to take a backseat to yourself. If your idea is going to have legs to stand on its own, you’re going to have to give it everything you’ve got. No one who has ever birthed a great idea did it by putting “me time” first. They did it through hard work and sacrifice, getting up when everyone else was still asleep and foregoing guilty pleasures like television and video games. It’s the tiny deposits of time made over the long haul that result in a viable business model.
3) Celebrate the small stuff. Do something related to your project everyday. Every. Single Day. Make that hard phone call. Send the big ask via email. Connect with other leaders at a networking event. Brainstorm. Write. Build. Create. When you’re working on your idea, you’re making progress. Track and measure every milestone–big and small. You think you’ll remember everything later, but you won’t. Keep track of it now, and give thanks for every tiny accomplishment.
4) Remember that there’s no turning back. There’s this one part of labor, and it’s definitely the worst part: transition. During transition, a woman’s body literally prepares to push the baby out. It’s terrifying, and it hurts like hell. I’ve heard many women, including myself, say “I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t.” And it’s at this point that the very kind doctors, say, “It’s too late. You have to. You can’t go back.” Getting pregnant with your idea means you’re committed to seeing it through–from conception to birth.
5) Rest assured it will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. And it will totally be worth it. Babies don’t arrive with manuals, and neither do startups. Each is a new creation, which is part of what makes them so special and so mysterious. The launch party is a welcome-to-the-world gift to the world. Entrepreneurship is a responsibility. Aren’t we all scared to death of screwing it up? What makes me a good parent is that I have no designs that I know everything. Humility and a willingness to work hard make both parents and business leaders great. Every day presents new opportunities to learn and grow together.
How are you getting pregnant with your idea? What has the process taught you about giving birth? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you’re getting jiggy with it, feel free to share about that, as well.
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