There’s something about innovation that is so invigorating.
New ideas excite us. Dreaming gives us that little thrill of the possibility. We can sit for hours at coffee shops and discuss our plans with any open ear.
As entrepreneurs, ideas fuel our creativity and passion. They get us out of bed eager to meet a new day and drive us to work late nights.
But what happens when the idea doesn’t come together like we hoped it might? What happens when people stop listening and the passion starts to fade?
I think this is probably a common experience for most innovators. The passion that drives the idea can fade as obstacles come into our path or friends’ enthusiasm wanes.
I’m sure you’ll find great advice on many of these areas as our community explores this topic, but one hard lesson that I’ve had to learn over the years is that choosing to move your idea forward might mean choosing a path that can feel very lonely at times.
There will be times when it seems like you are on an island. Times when it seems like you are paddling upstream all by yourself. Times when it seems like the only person who can see the end result is you. It is at those times that you find out if you have the strength to go that stretch alone.
If you are going to have the space in your life to make your ideas happen, it’s going to mean that you have to say no to a lot of things in order to say yes to the thing you believe in. I’ve found that in my life, this can bring seasons that feel very lonely.
I like having a very full life. I enjoy the chaos that comes from managing many projects at once, but in the last few years, I’ve found myself experiencing several seasons that seem very…well…boring. No exciting projects on the horizon, no important meetings to fill my days…just normal life.
In my twenties, I would fill this space with whatever felt important at the time. Taking on another volunteer position, helping a friend succeed in their project, filling my evenings with activity. I would be too tired and too distracted to think about my own projects, and they weren’t moving forward anyway so it felt like I should fill my life with other things.
What I began to discover was the reason my projects weren’t succeeding is that I didn’t have the space in my life to make them happen.
In the last few years, I’ve made a conscious effort not to fill my life with things when my ideas seem to be stalled out but to somewhat patiently wait. Those have been some lonely seasons, and sometimes, they have felt endless.
As I look back, I don’t regret my willingness to wait it out. In the current moment, things have changed, my ideas have started to move forward again, and I have the space in my life to actually make them happen. I move out of those seasons more rested and more confident that I’m on the right track.
What about you? Are you able to take the “dry” seasons and wait it out? How do you handle the lonely times?
Innovation can be the loneliest number, but it can also be the most rewarding if you can just see it through.