Sometimes I get a new idea and I think it is the BEST idea ever.
This happened to me yesterday. TWICE. The fact that it happened twice is already a clue that these aren’t necessarily the BEST ideas ever.
The first was that I should use the items in my art therapy studio to make goodbye gift baskets for people. I will be shutting down my art therapy studio in preparation for my move from Arizona to New Jersey. My private practice will be fully online, so I will no longer need many of the items in my studio. That means all of my beloved art supplies, containers (which are often delightful and quirky mugs), and more.
Out of nowhere yesterday it dawned on me that I could re-gift some of these items into goodbye packages. For example, I could pair an empty art journal with a beautiful mug full of fun markers.
This idea seemed genius. The minute it occurred to me, I wanted to write the names of all the people I would give them to. I wanted to throw all of my energy at it.
This is what my AuDHD mind does. It gets a new idea and …. YES, let’s do it now!!! Here’s the catch: I still have over 2 months until I move. I still need to use all of those art supplies as I meet with my current clients. I cannot put this idea into motion yet. By the time my move comes, my energy will likely be in a very different place.
This is where I always get into trouble with my ideas. It’s hard to gauge how I will feel in the future and how much energy I will have. As an autistic individual, I need to safeguard my energy and prioritize tasks. Making goodbye gifts may not make the cut come move time. However, my current mind is convinced it is worth thinking about for hours and planning.
I’ve even jumped into projects before and realized, “WHOA, this is way more than I bargained for.” That happened when I decided to start the YouTube Talk Show “Autistics Unscripted” with my friend.
It sounded like the best idea ever. I had NO IDEA the amount of energy the show would take. It actually didn’t take much time for us to record and collectively perform our tasks. What did take time was all the mental effort. All of the thinking power about what we were doing and all of the processing after we did it. I quickly realized, “Oh wow, this takes far more energy than I realized… and I want that energy to be used elsewhere.” We still finished out the season (you can see it here), but we decided my co-host would continue the second season without me.
This is another area where my BEST ideas can get me into trouble - when they suck other people in. I then feel bad when my retraction impacts other people.
This happened yet again when I decided to write a book about private practice. I interviewed private practice practitioners so I could get more insight for the book. They weren’t expecting to be in the book, but they knew I was researching so I could write the book. That was over 1.5 years ago. I still haven’t published the book. Yes, I’ve written over 95 chapters (don’t worry, they’re mini-chapters), but the actual book has yet to be published. I feel some embarrassment when I think of these individuals wondering when I will ever do it.
This is also where the BEST ideas can trip me up. New BEST ideas get in the way of existing BEST ideas. For example, yesterday it occurred to me that I could publish all of my essays about private practice into a book. I realized it could be a beautiful anthology of my learning over time. This is not the book I intended to write. This is an entirely new idea that would come before writing a succinct book about private practice.
Somehow, my brain is convinced this is the BEST idea first. I can already tell it is fraught with danger given how much time this BEST idea will take.
I could lament and try to change how many ideas come into my mind. That would be wasting my time though. I cannot change the enthusiastic innovations that my mind conjures up. It’s just how my mind works. Most of the time, it serves me well (it’s how I’ve written over 400 published essays in the past year).
Other times though, I have to realize that my BEST idea is not actually THE best.
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