Ever had a brilliant idea or insight, only to get so lost in the swell of daily life – an impending work deadline, hungry kids, trying on 14 versions of little black dresses to find one that actually looks good for your high school reunion – that it slowly trickles out of your memory before you can do anything about it? It’s a pretty common occurrence in today’s 24/7 world. Who knows if Thomas Edison would have invented the light bulb if he was distracted by Twitter and I’m sure Marie Curie’s research on radioactivity would have suffered if she spent her weekends binging on the last season of “Orange is the New Black.” With a bit of foresight though, you can easily lock in those “aha” moments with these practices:
- Write it down. This means keeping a notepad and pen handy beside your bed, work desk, in your car and other places, or typing notes into your smart phone, to capture this lightening when it strikes. Jot enough notes that you can reconstruct that flash of brilliance when more time permits. For example, you might have a sudden insight on the best way to exercise despite an illness or recurring injury. Use keywords or an outline that will quickly remind you of the details that need to be filled in.
- Create a visual reminder. Many of my coaching clients are motivated by visual stimulation and memory. Recently one woman had some eureka moments about her career and love life that were centered around claiming what she wanted and taking chances. She came up with the visual reminder of a bottle of hot sauce, downloaded an image of her favorite brand online and then pasted it in several places, including as her computer screen saver, to serve as a reminder throughout the day. Your talisman can be a piece of jewelry, a photo or whatever floats your boat. A few years ago a friend gave me an “easy” button from an office supply store (you see an image of it pictured above) to help me remember success doesn’t have to be hard. It lives on my desk and I press it, enjoying the little voice that says “that was easy,” whenever that concept needs to be reinforced.
- Add embodiment. The truth is that emotions show up in so many places in our physical selves. When I keep thoughts bottled inside and don’t speak my mind, it usually ends up triggering a constricted throat or labored breathing that disappear once the emotions have been expressed or acknowledged. Let’s say that you realized that speaking authentically from your heart is going to improve your relationship with your spouse but then resentment over trash not taken to the curb or dirty dishes left in the sink starts to slither in. In this case, you might want to put your hand over your heart, sort of like delivering your own pledge of allegiance to love, as a reminder about what you truly feel.
What great ideas, realizations or insights have you had lately? How do you lock those moments in to help you achieve what your heart desires?