I am a great fan of having faith in my subconscious to help me solve problems or generate ideas. And we fundraisers are forever needing to solve problems of one sort or another.
Your brain is one awesome computer. In fact computer doesn’t come close to describing what it is capable of.
As I’ve said in previous blogs you can do a few things to help make the most of its capability – such as a priming the problem by writing it down and coming back to it (See blogs Are you really thinking? and What have you got to lose?). Sometimes ideas just come to you whilst on a run or in the shower. But sometimes it’s some external trigger that rings a wake up bell in your subconscious.
These can happen anytime.
So how do you make sure you hear it? What I’m on about is that ‘feeling’ that you have seen or heard something important – it could be a throw away remark or something you see on your way to work.
The trick is to work out how the feeling manifests itself as it’s different for each person.
When it goes off – it’s that subconscious of yours knocking at the door of your concious brain. “Oi did you notice that?!” When that happens you’re utilsing using the sum total of your experience – a vast library of stuff.
The Hairs on the Back of My Neck
So what you need to do is find our what yours is. How do you do that?
Next time you have a eureka moment, or get excited in a meeting about something someone says, just check in and observe what physical sensation you had. Did your eyes water, or maybe your mouth went dry.
For me its often the hairs on the back of my neck. I remember the first time I consciously used this technique. I was leading on a pitch whilst working for a marketing agency (the fabulous Cascaid). The pitch was for the Alzheimer’s Society. We were looking to come up with ideas to make the pitch stronger. I was standing next to the Art Director, Nick, when he started talking about how priceless memories are. The hairs on the back of my neck went wild and the concept of the million memories website was born (yes stealing the concept from the million dollar homepage). The idea was a show stopper and we won the pitch. I’ve used the technique ever since.
So when you have found your trigger, just be self aware – when that trigger goes off, STOP – rewind <<<. Your subconscious is saying something just happened and if you pause for a moment you might just find the breakthrough you are looking for.
Feed Your Mind
It also gives you a great excuse to try and stimulate that trigger to go off. Read a magazine you have never looked at before, go visit a museum, or explore the biggest museum of exhibits out there, the web (that’s how I came across the million dollar homepage). If those are too sureal you could always justify an hour a week exploring the fundraising exhibits on SOFII. These just might give you the external stimulus outside of your normal routine that helps release the idea you already have inside your brain. It also provides you content to store in your subconscious library that you can draw on in the future. What a great excuse to feed your mind!
Let me know if you find out what your trigger is.