Why You Shouldn't Immediately Act on Your Next Great Idea

If you get a great idea for the long haul, sleep on it. (Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash)

When I think I have a great idea I do the same thing every time—I sleep on it!

If you read this blog regularly, surely you have learned that I'm a risk-taker by nature. I love to encourage big dreams and I want to be a catalyst for idea generation and innovative thought. I've been a church planter and a church revitalizer. Talk about risk.

In spite of that tendency in me to act quickly, I have learned one principle of leadership by personal experience. This is one of those wisdom learned by mistake kind of things, so please listen closely.

When you get the next great idea don't act on it immediately—even as great an idea as it may be.

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Sleep on it!

Maybe for a day, a week or a season (depending on the size of and type of the idea), but before you take action toward it—sleep. (Now if you are absolutely certain it's a "word from God" then move immediately, but in my case I have mistaken His voice for my own ideas a few times, so even then you might keep reading.)

I realize that seems to contradict some of what you have been taught. If you don't act immediately, someone else will steal your idea. Plus, there is an opportunity cost at stake. If you don't act immediately, you may lose valuable momentum.

I'm not trying to kill ideas; I'm trying to help you make better ideas. Here's why this is important:

You want to make sure the decision you are making is not based solely on emotion. There needs to be time for emotions to subside (if they are going to) before you invest the energy and resources into the idea.

Still questioning? Consider this:

You wouldn't advise someone who is experiencing negative emotions to make immediate decisions, would you? If someone loses a spouse, you wouldn't encourage him or her to make a random and sudden decision to sell everything and move where they know no one, would you?

Why are positive emotions anymore trustworthy?

Remember, you don't have to act immediately to act quickly. I realize there is a great balance here between stalling out and pausing, but don't allow your emotions to cause you to react too quickly and regret your decision later.

Pause, get wise counsel, make sure rationale is equal to emotion—then you can and should move fast. You'll be glad the emotion is still strong.

Share your story.

Have you made too quick of a decision you later regretted making? What did it cost you?

Ron Edmondson is the CEO of Leadership Network. Previously, he was a pastor, revitalizing two churches and planting two churches. He is passionate about planting churches, but also helping established churches thrive. He loves assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. His specialty is organizational leadership.

For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.

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