Self-Coaching: Making Space for Ideas

heat map of yak distribution in Kyrgyzstan. I am not making that up.


As you may recall, 2018 is my year for crazy ideas and failure. That’s great to declare and all , but where exactly do I get the crazy ideas? I mean, I have crazy ideas, but not enough to fill a whole year. I need more ideas.

After a brief panic about how I am losing my creative spark, I sat back and thought about times in my life when I’ve had really good ideas or created things I’m proud of. The answer came to me pretty quickly.

Ideas show up when I’m bored. I’ve had my best, worst, most crazy – most plentiful ideas when I have been at my dullest jobs. Put me in a three hour technical meeting on a topic that doesn’t relate to my work, and I’ll draft three blog posts, outline a white paper, and develop a plan to make money off drop shipping.(1)

And now, well, I’m in my dream career. My work is engaging. I get to set my own schedule. When I have meetings, they are small and targeted to me. Theoretically my business administration stuff is boring, but I actually enjoy invoicing and reporting. Same with reading technical papers – I love reading about global health, and coaching, and international development. So life is good, but the ideas come drip-drip. No crazy fountain.

Apparently, I need more boredom in my life. If it doesn’t happen on its own, I’ll have to create it.

So. I’ve stopped carrying my phone around the house with me, so when I am waiting for my teapot to boil I’m just standing there staring at it. When I am waiting for buses or elevators, I keep the phone in my pocket.(2) And in those painful, tedious pieces of time, ideas are creeping in. I have six draft blog posts in the works. I bought (yet another) a domain name. I am thinking about a monthly group coaching workshop for anyone who wants to call in. (3)

After that long introduction, here are come self-coaching questions for you:

  1. What were your last three amazing ideas?
  2. What were you doing when you had each of them? Is there a common factor?
  3. How do you get more of that common factor into your life.

(1) This was a crazy idea. I do think I could make money off drop shipping, but it feels slimy. The world has too much cheap junk already and I don’t want to encourage people to buy more. Also I don’t want to make a profit by drop-ship sales of stuff people could buy cheaper elsewhere. That’s gross.

(2) This is not an original idea. There is a really excellent TED talk on this. Which I saw, live, in Vancouver. Yet somehow I had to rediscover it myself?

(3) Would you be interested in that kind of group coaching call in? I am thinking if only one person calls in, I can just do a coaching session with them. If no one calls in, it’s the year of crazy ideas and FAILURE after all.


Every post in write in February will have a link to Black history. Today you can check out this unfortunately still accurate 2016 article on the economic impact of racism in healthcare in the US.