In grade school, I was often "in trouble" for daydreaming. My teachers called it "not paying attention." After a while, they'd put my chair in the hall or send me to the principal's office. It worked out perfect for me. I found both of those places ideal for... daydreaming. And it was in those places that some of my best ideas for creative projects, fantastic stories, and imaginative games were fashioned. I still daydream every day. But instead of games and stories, I'm conceiving original ideas and deep answers for customers that leave my competitors' heads spinning.
Daydreaming is pure thinking. It's where innovation is born.
Do you allocate time for pure thinking every day? If you're like most salespeople, who are too busy being busy, probably not.
If you don't carve out time to let your mind crunch on deep answers and unravel genius ideas, how will you develop the differentiators you need to beat competitors and build a booming business?
Dedicated time for pure thinking is the catalyst many business people need to escape their current plateau and reach higher levels of profit and growth.
Here are the 9 keys to unlock your success-generating brilliance by daydreaming like a pro:
1. Put your own chair in the hall. Everyone has a place where they think best – their "Thinking Place." Allocate time to be in your thinking place for at least 30 minutes a day.
2. Daydream on the move. Too antsy to sit and think? Go for a walk around your parking lot, mall, shopping center, or neighborhood.
3. Clear away distractions. Make sure your thinking place is a location where you won't bump into a bunch of people you know. Turn your phone off or put it on "do not disturb" – a new feature in iOS 6. Leave your folders and files back on your office desk.
4. Allocate time in the morning or evening. During the middle of the day, your mind is filled with matters of the moment. Morning people think most critically early. Evening people think clearly late. Guard and use those times for your pure thought.
5. Be intentional. Don't use your thinking time for free thought, where your mind can drift onto any topic from politics to your kids' activities. Go to your thinking place with a specific business topic, goal, or challenge to chew on.
6. Take notes. Bring a notebook or iPad to scribble your ideas down. Record everything you dream up.
7. Don't force a solution. Your thinking time may not yield the A-Ha! or the final breakthrough you were seeking. Let your mind be loose and flow down thought paths to explore new ideas. Your big idea may come tomorrow... or the next day.
8. Mind-map your thoughts. Write down the big thoughts or challenges at the center of your page. From each thought, draw a line and write down where each of those big thoughts lead. Then, do the same from each thought branch. Observing your divergent thoughts diagramed on the page will help you draw conclusions and see answers you can't when they're swimming in your brain.
9. Expect brilliance later. The time you invest in pure thought will often be harvested at a later time – a time when your mind is calm, relaxed, free. It could be in the shower or while walking your pet. Your subconscious mind will take the input from your thinking time and assemble the perfect solution. When it happens, write it down immediately!
Bonus: You may feel silly at first or that you are wasting your time. Keep going. Before long, you will come to hold this habit as one of your most valuable processes to succeed.