Whether you’re focused on how to enhance your self-awareness, solve a problem, take the next step in your ever-evolving quest for personal transformation, professional development, looking for inspiration, or just need to stir your creative juices, you need to get in the flow to generate the right ideas. 

Jeffrey Davis says he’s in the business of “Changing the Way Creativity Happens.”  I had the pleasure of meeting him a while back.  He was the opening speaker for a conference where I delivered the closing keynote address.  His message was about the power of the IDEA.

Here’s what I took from his talk about IDEA, an acronym that stands for Intentional Focus, Delightful Divergence, Eureka! and Action.

Intentional Focus is a way to get your problems and concerns out of the swirling ethers in your head and onto paper.  Write them down.  Then, choose one of the items and give it your attention.  Set aside 45 minutes, but no more than 90 minutes, to focus on the topic you selected. 

As you begin your time of Intentional Focus, have a talk with yourself.  Tell your mind, “I’m focused on improving this situation.”  Every time your mind wanders, and it will, remind it of its current objective by restating, “I’m focused on improving this situation.”  Notice what your mind does with the situation and diagram, list, draw, write down whatever comes up, even if it seems irrelevant, ridiculous or not on point.

After your period of Intentional Focus, do something pleasurable and off task, something totally relaxing or fun.  Jeffrey recommends a 5 to 20-minute break of pure enjoyment.  This is the Delightful Divergence.  Go for a walk, listen to music, dance, jump rope, garden, paint, draw – do whatever delights you and takes you away – mind, body and emotion – from the situation you’ve been focusing on.

After your 20 minutes of Delightful Divergence, return to the problem and watch for your EUREKA! moment.  New ideas and fresh solutions will begin to flow.  Capture all of them.  Write them down, record them on your mobile device, draw a picture or symbols that represent their essence.  Do whatever will best enable you to hold onto the inspiration that will surface.  In fact, Jeffrey recommends keeping a Eureka Journal – a dedicated repository for all the great ideas that will pop.

Once an effective solution surfaces, take ACTION.  Write out what you’re going to do, by when, and then do it.  Bring your brilliance to life.  After all, we don’t really suffer from a shortage of good ideas, only a lack of action.