Best Advice: Put Your Ideas On Paper

Posted on March 9, 2014 in Life


While I sit and wait at the airport to return to Perth from Adfest I had a read through the LinkedIn series called ‘Best Advice‘, as they asked over 90 leaders across a variety of industries to share the best advice they’ve ever received and continue using to this day. Many recalled something that their parents, teachers, or career mentors taught them that has never left them.

I thought it would be good for me to take stock and have a look back at the ‘one thing’ that was the best advice I received.

Firstly though I would like to talk about possibly the best non-advice (if that is such a term) I have been given on multiple occasions, which I think in turn has actually helped get me to where I am and make me who I am today. In two previous separate jobs (which I won’t name) I was told that I couldn’t do this, I wasn’t good enough to do that or I’m not creative… No doubt I am sure that many of you have heard such terms used before by your bosses and no doubt 90% of the time it is so they can say no to a payrise. However to me personally I saw this as a challenge, having my bosses at the time say that I wasn’t good enough or didn’t have the skills to perform a specific task gave me the attitude of actually I do have those skills and I can and I will show you.

It is weird that negative comments can be seen as a way to push someone forward, but I guess it comes down to self belief. I knew I possessed the required skills and could perform such task so I set the challenge to myself to prove them wrong and prove myself right. You should look to do the same if someone tells you that ‘you can’t do something’ or ‘don’t have the skills’. So maybe that is some more advice: ‘Have self belief in your skills’

Put Your Ideas On Paper

Now this advice I didn’t receive in person though it would have been great to have, ‘Put Your Ideas on Paper’ was quoted by Twitter and Square Founder Jack Dorsey. I believe advice doesn’t have to come direct from someone it can also be found.

Put your ideas on paper might not seem like such a big deal or something that you might think is quite obvious but you would be surprised how much of a difference it makes. Taking your ideas from your head to paper is the first step to acting on that idea.

“I think the hardest thing to do is start,” said Dorsey. “So if you can get the idea out of your head, then show it to someone else, get feedback so that you know if it’s good or not and then keep working at it,”

Dorsey also states that by putting your ideas on paper you are making a point to make a paper trail, whether that be doodles on the back of a notebook or a few lines of code, ideas or questions.

And make sure you share. For any entrepreneur, any initial outside response from observers is paramount. It brings in other perspectives and can also lessen the fear and doubt that often comes with starting a new idea/venture.

Also I find writing ideas down is a great way to ‘Mind Dump’, get it all out and then revisit in a few days, see if the idea that kept you up all night still has legs, if so start to dig deeper and start expanding on that idea.

Writing the idea(s) down also ensures that you don’t forget anything, there is nothing worse than having a great idea and saying to yourself ‘I’ll remember that’ then mere minutes later it’s gone.

Lastly if you have put your ideas on paper transfer them over to Evernote to ensure you never lose them and that way you can then retrieve them anytime anywhere.

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Adam Barrell

MD of So Perth Media Group
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