29 September 2010


by Derry S. Long

I’ve had a million good ideas. Ideas about what should change in the organizations I’ve worked in; on how to improve productivity, profitability, and enjoyability; ideas about personal growth. I’ve read and listened to a lot of good ideas other people have had. You’ve had good ideas, hundreds of them.

Yet most of these ideas fail to find a place in our organizations and lives. Failing to take root, they move from exciting possibilities, to something I want to get to, to eventually something that was, a blip on the radar screen that has disappeared with no evidence that it even existed. Perhaps an idea was written down, or even filed, yet is virtually lost, like a blade of grass in a lawn, seen but not noticed as we walk by for the too numerous to mention time. And accompanying this is oft times guilt at letting some of our most exciting notions get treated so shabbily. But there is tomorrow and some more ideas.

Why don’t my ideas and yours become reality? Why do they so often get lost, postponed, trumped, or crowded out?

Consider the possibility that an idea, by itself, an intention, a plan, a goal, does not have enough critical mass to invade my present reality. My reality of values, behaviors, habits, and paradigms have weight, substance. If I want a new idea to find a home in my life, I must give it enough critical mass, enough weight and velocity, to break through and shift what is already present. Just thinking, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds before summer,” or, “I’m going to read something inspiring everyday,” doesn’t carry enough critical mass. Critical mass is the amount material needed for a specific result or new action to occur and be sustained. In nuclear physics it is the amount of fissile material needed for a sustained chain reaction at a constant level. Without this critical mass, our ideas are like a space shuttle, unable to re-enter earth’s atmosphere because its’ trajectory was wrong and so, like the shuttle, my ideas will not penetrate the density of my life, but rather, bounce along outside of it until lost into a chasm.

The problem with a new idea is that it is isolated and has nowhere to land because something else is sitting on the runway. For a new idea to gain a place it must have enough weight and velocity to move what is in its’ place. To gain a place requires action. Consider three possibilities for adding critical mass to your ideas.

First, ADD A RELATIONSHIP that can give your idea authority or priority in your life. If we want something different we often must bring someone different in. The people presently in my life usually support what is presently in my life.

Giving a person who represents, like a lawyer, your idea, and giving them authority to be invasive in support of your idea gives weight. It is the long distance runner who never trains alone, the person attending the AA meeting, Seabiscuit, the racehorse, needing to race another horse to be at top speed. Ideas fail foremost for lack of relationship, not lack

of information. The first purpose of this relationship is to represent, as an advocate, your new idea. The second is to insure that the next action occurs.

Second, ADJUST YOUR DAILY ROUTINE to give space to your idea. Physically declare it to associates, put it in your Outlook, write it down on a post-it note and put it on your computer screen, make it a date with someone else. Next to relationship comes daily routine, repetition. Often it means removing something from your daily routine. Create a path of execution that you can follow right through your Day-timer. Be loyal to your idea. Resist adultery, chasing after an old, established idea, or drooling over a new idea spotted across a crowded room. Your idea deserves respect.

Third, CONNECT YOUR IDEA TO YOUR BIG DREAM. List the ways your idea serves your Big Dream. This is an effort to create an internal harmony with your idea. Your internal dials are often set to what already is in your reality. You have to reset them, like changing a clock to daylight saving time. Consider what motivates you, what your strengths are, and find connecting points between your idea and your dreams, strengths, and motivations. This connecting, like an electric switch that connects electricity to the light bulb, completing a circuit, allows you to slowly build an internal consistency between your idea and your personal DNA.

Two final hints. First, you and I are looking for ways to be hospitable to our ideas, giving them a place at the dinner table, making them welcome in our lives. But only so many ideas can sit around the table at a time. Too many invitations will result in hostess meltdown like lack of food or room. Too many ideas at once creates unmanageable overload. Someone’s hopes are built up only to be dashed, someone’s feeling are hurt, someone goes unnoticed. Develop a way to store up “invitations” for the future. And second, perhaps the biggest danger to ideas is that we think about them rather than acting on their behalf. Only action realizes potential. An idea without action is like a menu without a chef, lots of promise, but no nutrition.

So, do you have an idea? Then act, be loyal to it, find someone to ride shotgun with you to see it come to life.

©Intelligent Growth, Inc 2007

This article could be for anyone really, anyone with an idea. Derry is a friend of ours and a GREAT thinker. He always comes up with ideas that stretch my thinking. This particular article I have read several times, but this time it was in terms of my business and it is rocking my socks off. So this one is for you fellow business associates.

20 April 2010

2010 Bridal Walk

We had such a great time meeting all the 2010 and 2011 Brides. I came up with several seating chart ideas, that double as wedding favors, they also feature different color schemes. You will find several of them posted below (excuse the quality of the pictures, they came off my phone, but it will give you the idea).

You will find a few featured vendors:

Floral by Avant Floral
Photos by lonemanphotography
Cake by Elles Bells

All the favors were designed and created by... me:)

“Traditional Elegance”

Create a board with table numbers and the guests’ names in alphabetical order. Create the numbers out of bendy wire insert in the floral arrangement to mark tables for the guest.

“Hanging around”

Create name cards with table numbers, and hook them to baby clothes pins. There are several variations to display the clothespins and table cards; with wire around a tree trunk for an outdoor wedding, or on a string hung from two ends on the wall or from free standing post. Attach a clothespin to a stand and clip on the table number, and set on the tables for guests to find.

“When life serves you lemon’s, make lemon aide”

Cut out a leaf, put the guests name and table on the leaf, fold it in half and pin the leaf to the lemon. Display the lemons in alphabetical order, to make it easy for the guests to find.

Find another colorful fruit, place in a basket or a jar on the tables with table numbers.

“O the Place’s we will Go”- Luggage Tags

Cut out a cardstock tag, decorate any way you want. You can stay on the traveling theme, put names of cities, monuments or country’s on the front, which correspond to the tables. Create an address label for each guest to stick on the back. Insert an eyelet and run a chain through the hole and hang them on a board to display for the guests.

“Have your CAKE and take it too”

Two ways you can do this: First, setout boxes (clear or cardboard); leave them by the cake after the cutting for the guests to scoop up their own ‘take-home’ piece. For an added touch lay out personalized stickers for the guests to seal the box.

Or, you can have pre-made cupcakes or baby cakes and place them in a clear container, wrap it up with a pretty bow and a note, “Have your cake, and take it too”.

To double as seating arrangement: Place nametags on the boxes with their table assignment. Set a cake on each table and label with types of frosting.

“Spin me right round baby, right round”

Create a great Mix CD, with your favorite music and/or any songs that are special to your Wedding day, ie. Your first dance, father daughter dance, the ceremony music, etc.

You can display this in a number of ways, stick it in a plastic case, wrap it up, top it with a ribbon and a note; or you can print a fun modern print or your picture on a CD label, using a see-through protective paper or plastic case. Just be creative.

To double as seating arrangements, stick the guest name and table the CD case. On each table have a CD with a band name to get the guests to the proper seat.

"Love Grows"

Choose a plant that represents you as a couple, your favorite flower, or something to match your color scheme. Buy little pots and paint them to match your color scheme, use ribbon, buttons, rhinestones, to spice it up and then attach the words “Love Grows” for a clever touch.

Create a thank you tag with the guests name and table and stick it in the dirt. Put a pot with different flower nametags on each table, this will then get them to the proper seat and double as a fun take home gift.

20 March 2010

To have wedding favors or not to have wedding favors...

This is the question of the day!

When choosing a wedding favor make sure to ask yourself, would I want to get this, and would I keep it or use it? If the answer is yes, then you are headed in the right direction. If the answer is no, maybe take a step back and decide a few things. First, why do we want to give a favor? Is it because we think we are suppose to or are we unclear about why? It is my belief, if you don’t have a clear motive for giving a favor, you won’t enjoy giving the gift and your guests most likely will overlook it as well.

However, if your answer is we want to give the guests a fun gift, or we want to give a gift that symbolizes us as a couple, or we love to be creative with the details, then you have a clear objective, one that will direct you to the perfect favor.

Make sure you clearly define your budget in this area, especially when making something yourself; 200+ items can become very pricy. Personally, I love when the favor is multi-functional. An example of this would be an item that is used as an indicator of where the guest is to sit and after they get to their table they also have a memorable wedding favor; cost saving and functional!

To gather more ideas for wedding favors, come see a few of my samples at the Bridal Walk, downtown Bozeman on April 10th from 11am to 4pm.