Most of us have been there before: Someone at work comes up with this “amazing idea” that your whole team has completely bought into and is ready to uproot their lives for to make happen.
Everyone, except for you. For some inexplicable reason, you can’t seem to share in the same passion. You know it’s a good idea – heck, you secretly wish you came up with it yourself. Still, you can’t shake the apathy that’s crept in ever since the moment your boss came to you and said, “I can’t wait to tell you about this idea.”
While it might just be that you’re resistant to any idea offered by your team, more accurately there could actually be some science and reason involved.
In other words, you might not be that grumpy worker who rains on everyone’s parade.
If you’re in the market for a new dog, and have decided to adopt from a shelter, chances are you’ll want to adopt a puppy.
One of the reasons why you go this route (rather than adopt an older dog) is, of course, because puppies are really cute. But another reason is because you want to be there from day one to nurture the puppy and mold it into the type of dog you’ve always dreamed of.
When you adopt an older dog, the benefit is you’re handed a pet that likely is house-trained, and comes with some basic obedience. That’s a good thing, except, it means you missed out on that important stage of its life.
This may not be the best metaphor to use here (we’re sure over time you’ll love that adult dog just as much as you’d love the puppy), but it does help us see why you might be so resistant to the passions and ideas that come from others: you’ve missed out on the growing pains of turning a nugget of an idea into something tangible.
When your boss or coworker comes to you with a full-fledged idea, you assume they’ve taken ownership of it, and thus they determine how to proceed. They’re the captain of this ship.
Being the creative innovator that you are, you fear (and assume) that you’ll be forced to fill the pages of a coloring book that someone else wrote.
Not very creative, right?
Deep down inside, however, you know this isn’t the case. You realize that there is plenty of room for creativity and authentic contribution, regardless of the origin of any project or idea. So, how can you convince your mind to play ball, rather than sabotage your successes?
There’s an episode of Friends, where Phoebe and Monica plan an early surprise birthday party for Rachel. Monica, being the control-freak that she is, relegates Phoebe to just cups and ice.
Normally, cups and ice would be pretty insignificant parts of party planning. But rather than sit idly by while Monica took control (and credit) for the party, Phoebe decides to go all in and pour her entire, albeit quirky, self into the project.
This, of course, requires you to let go of those feelings of resentment, alienation, and indifference to the project as a whole (particularly its origin).
Rather than worry about the things you have no control over, invest yourself into the cups and ice of the project. Let your creativity and passions pour into this one little project – make it your world – and soon you’ll see you’ve all but forgotten about your original apathy.
It’s OK that you weren’t a part of the original idea that sparked an all-hands-on-deck movement in the office. In the end, the most successful projects and products are made up of countless big ideas that come together to disrupt our way of thinking.