Can you remember a time when you told someone about an exciting idea, and they kinda…poo poo’d your idea? Maybe they said, “Well that sounds awfully expensive” or “Don’t you think that’s pretty unrealistic?” Or maybe they said, “Why would anyone want to buy…THAT?”
It’s pretty discouraging when you’re EXCITED about something, but other people just don’t seem to get it.
So, awhile back, the actress Diane Keaton made an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
Diane told a hilarious story about how she briefly dated a weird, nerdy guy with a lot of strange ideas about computers. This was many, many years ago.
So this guy invites Diane out for dinner. During their date, he was gushing with excitement about his work and his dreams. He told Diane he was CONVINCED that one day, EVERYONE would have a personal computer in their home. Remember, this was decades ago, long before laptops and emails and smartphones.
Diane was like, “Uh huh, suuuuuure, uh, if you say so, dude!”
She did not continue to date him.
That nerd was…Steve Jobs.
Decades later, Diane jokingly told Ellen, “I could have been with Steve Jobs! What an idiot I was!” LOL.
See, people like Steve Jobs are visionaries. They see possibilities before others do. And when you’re a visionary thinker, you tend to encounter a lot of skepticism and confusion.
Previously, I told the story of the guy who started the company called Edible Arrangements.
This guy, Tariq Farid, was a florist. One day, he had a cool idea. Why not make beautiful bouquets of flowers—except instead of using flowers, using fruit that people can eat? Melon chunks. Pineapples. Chocolate-dipped strawberries. Stuff like that. Like an edible bouquet.
He shared his idea with a few business experts. A small focus group. They (literally) laughed in his face. “Stick with flowers,” they told him.
He ignored them and followed his instincts.
Now his company—Edible Arrangements—is worth $500 million.
Nobody’s laughing now.
I often tell my clients: “Trust your instincts. Even when other people poo poo your ideas, even when people laugh in your face. If you have a very strong instinct about something, follow it. Your instincts could be worth millions.”
Remember that everything we now possess—airplanes, smartphones, email, edible arrangements, the entire field of life coaching, the entire field of modern medicine—was once a “crazy” or “confusing” or “outlandish” idea.
I have a client who had a funny instinct to start painting colorful fish onto wooden shingles, because she just had this strong hunch that tourists in her town would LOVE to buy them. As souvenirs. She started making these Shingle Fish. In less than a year, she’s got her fish in stores all around town, at art fair, trade shows, and they’re selling like hotcakes, and she’s having SO MUCH fun making this fish paintings! And she’s generating tons of money from this crazy art project!
Again: trust your instincts.
People might be laughing now. They won’t be laughing later. But YOU will be laughing all the way to the BANK.
(Remember: they laughed at Steve Jobs, too.)
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