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The Jawbreaker Approach to Big Ideas

Do you remember jawbreakers?

Those huge gumballs that were dispensed one at a time from a standing red machine? I remember as a kid feeling like they were so big it was almost impossible to chew them….and forget about trying to chew more than one at a time.

There was a real wisdom to that design. You can only chew one of those jawbreakers at a time…so it makes sense to dish them out that way.

This reminds me of the most effective approach we can take to getting things done. See folks that are in business for themselves tend to be a bit on the creative side. Tons of big ideas, creative solutions and new projects are always circulating around in our minds. But if you are ever going to get those ideas complete and out into the world…you have to the Jawbreaker Approach:

  • Don’t be distracted by all the bright colors – There is usually one jawbreaker that is positioned right at the edge of the dispenser…one that is ready for action. Even if you see the red one through the glass bowl, you are probably going to get that blue one that is positioned to come out first. Well…that is the jawbreaker to start with. What is the idea that will give you the biggest results right now in your business? Choose to focus your attention on that one first. Start with the project that will really create momentum. There are always going to be tons of bright shiny colorful new ideas that will capture your attention, but stay on course with what will get you real results.

  • Take on one at a time—In the beginning the jawbreaker is hard to even get cracked. Hence the term jawbreaker… those first couple of chews can really hurt. Once it gets going the flavor can be a bit overwhelming at first. Well, this is exactly what it is like to get the momentum going on a new project. It can be hard to get started at first. But once you get a handle on it, things start to flow easier.

  • Savor the flavor – Once you have that jawbreaker, let it be the flavor of the month. Focus on that and that alone, until you have completely chewed all the flavor. When we have too many thing going on at once, we can’t really enjoy and truly give any one thing your full attention and best effort. Nothing sucks the joy out of business than feeling chronically overwhelmed and like you aren’t doing your best work. The real magic happens in business when we are focused and really complete what we start. There is nothing like a successfully complete project or an accomplished goal to give us the confidence to go back in and do it again.

  • Go back to get another one once you are done – Want to know the best thing about these ideas? They are yours. You own this gumball machine and you can always come back to get another one when you are done. Each time you do, your jaw gets stronger. You learn a few new strategies about how to approach those gumballs and you get better and better and implementing and enjoying the journey.

Now, I will be the first to say that mastering the art of Jawbreaker Ideas is a work in progress. I still find myself tempted to take on more than is usual and get sucked into a rabbit hole by some bright and shiny idea. But little by little, I am getting better at it. I know for sure that you can do anything, but you can’t do everything at the same time.

Got big ideas…great! Let’s chew them down to size one at a time and really savor the flavor while we do it.

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