Do you know that funny feeling when you start to notice the same thing popping up in various places? The car you wish you could buy, that one song you kind of didn't like at first, a book that unconnected contacts keep recommending to you??? I always wonder if it's all a big coincidence or if it's some sort of sign. Underneath that initial moment or surprise and recognition, I have a hope that there is some message or adventure awaiting me, inviting me, if only I could unravel it.
Lately this concept has surfaced seemingly everywhere--IDEATION. I first came across it as one of my top 5 strengths according to Gallup's Strengths Finder 2.0. I was underwhelmed. Is "ideation" even a real word? (I secretly despise words that are ripped from their proper part of speech and forced to be another. As Calvin and Hobbes say, "Verbing weirds language.") But as ideation has sprung up into my life in unexpected places, most recently as my MOPS group this morning, I have developed some affinity for it.
Gallup defines the strength of ideation as the fascination of ideas and the ability to take "the world we all know and turn it around so we can view from a strange but strangely enlightening angle." Essentially ideas are the ability to make connections and to create new patterns that were not obvious before, and in doing so to open up the possibility of even more ideas, connections and patterns. It's like the very old school computer game Minesweeper, when you click on one safe square of the grid, all of the adjacent safe squares also magically opened up. Those who lean into ideation are thrilled with the discovery of concepts and the generation of connections and just dreaming up some yummy variations on "what is now" and relishing in "what could be." BOOM! Gallup got me.
Creepy. And wonderful.
Just for the sake of ideation, for the little thrill of just launching my ideas into the world from my brain, here is a brief collection of ideas I have been nurturing recently:
1. Living each summer for a several weeks in a different culture and climate while my boys are growing up, so my Colorado boys could also grow up as ocean kids and Spanish speakers and museum hunters.
2. Becoming a portrait photographer on the side of being a SAHM, specializing in senior photos and head shots that have a distinctly artistic and editorial feel to them. Say photos that look more like SNL host promos and less like yearbook photos. (See below.)
|Yep, kinda like this.|
|Not so much this...although the 80's kid in me loves this too.|
4. Developing a network of women in my neighborhood, and in particular moms of young kids, through a Facebook group where we could share parenting tips, hand-me-downs, make friends, and take turns hosting backyard happy hours on Friday nights.
5. Having a theme for my gifts to my friends and family for the whole year--books, or a pint of homemade ice cream especially made for each recipient, or something fancy from Whole Foods, like craft ketchup (haha, like the fanciest Dijon ketchups), that they would never buy themselves, or a Kiva loan or funny Kickstarter investment made in each person's honor.
So, there are a few of my little ideas. Please be kind to them! I know that they may never develop beyond being shared on this little list, and yet they are significant to me. My little creative babies. I would love to know what you think. Do any of my ideas spark ideas of your own??? Or is there anyone out there with the strength of Get-Yo-Business-Done that can help me to fully enact these ideas? Maybe we can pair our strengths together, make a connection.
P.S. The idea for this post was inspired by my friend Annie and her recent writing on her strengths, as well as my pastor Steve, who first introduced me to my strengths. Thanks, guys.
P.P.S. Ideation when I called it something else.