Get Comfortable With "Silly."

I was out with a vendor partner this morning having coffee. Lovely chap. Always dressed very dapper. Incredibly smart.  I was telling him about my decision to leave my agency, and giving him suggestions on how to navigate it with me stepping away. Always felt (though) that he found me silly. But I think most people find me "silly." And I always worry about it. I obsess about it. I get a little anxiety over it.

But only a little.

"It's who I am!" I tell myself, whenever I worry about it. "I will always be that person who is open with their thoughts and not afraid to take risks."

Unfortunately though, as we discussed this morning, we work in a world where the risk-taking is merely an idea... And not a reality.

"Media-buying agencies and mid-level marketing managers on the client side are only comfortable with what they know," I said. "They love to challenge their agency partners to bring them big ideas. But they still struggle and hold back on jumping and testing things."

The reality is that when you are goaled and bonused off of numbers that were achieved off of what is tried and true... You're only so comfortable taking a big bet and running with it. And what I was building, and what this vendor partner does, are big bets.  We know they'll work. But it means a heavy investment in what some still consider a "silly idea."

But as I learned a long time ago...
"You can't be afraid of the silly ideas."
Don't get me wrong. I have to remind myself of this constantly. The fear that a thought I have will be seen as "silly" is what holds me back and delays me most often in life. I have to work hard for that moment of "clarity" and realize...

"So fucking what? If my idea is crazy and silly... Alright! But I won't be able to move onto a better idea unless I pull up my big girl panties and at least attempt this silly idea!"

Silly Ideas I Have Done That Paid Off:

  • Following a high school sweetheart to university. When people ask me why I chose to go to the University of Arizona after having grown up in a "die hard Arizona State" family, I don't lie about it. I tell them, "My high school boyfriend's parents wouldn't let him go there. They would only let him go to  the U of A." I then tell them about how this high school boyfriend then got a scholarship to Purdue University, and ended going there instead. Also, I broke up with him right after graduation. But I still went to the U of A and actually loved it. My family still thinks I am silly.
  • Moving to New York City. I really did move to NYC on a whim when I was 23. I knew one person there. And my parents were not happy with the idea. "How do I know you won't end up homeless?" asked my dad. They were worried. But it definitely was a silly idea that paid off.
  • Buying the house in Toronto. I chose the house we ended up buying in Toronto. It was more expensive than what we wanted to spend. But I saw it, and I emailed my husband, "I WANT THIS HOUSE." Poor fellow didn't stand a chance! But, he agrees, the house was one of the best bets we made. Everyone who sees it loves it. My in-laws love it - which actually pleases me greatly... As I worried they would find me "silly" for wanting such an indulgent property. And because there are so many high-rise condos going up in our neighborhood that are as expensive as the house, I never fear that we would make our investment back if we needed to sell it. A house with parking versus a condo for the same price? NO CONTEST!
  • Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. My boss at my last company thought I was nuts. "You want to take two months off to go get screamed at by an Indian man in a really hot room?" I laughed. "Yes. And I'm paying $15,000 to do it." Great friends were made. Awesome experience. Really tested my patience.
  • Moving to Boston. Oh man! Did people think this was silly! Especially people at work. But I am happy here. And The Husband loves building a new home here. So that makes me happy.
  • Quitting my job. Okay... So I don't know yet if this will be a silly idea that pays off for me. But, I am pretty sure it will be. I have no doubt. It's a big bet I am willing to take.

And today's silly idea...

Drinking wine while working this afternoon. It's considered "silly" because I have class 9 of the Bikram 101 Challenge in about five hours.

I look forward to even more silly ideas and big bets.