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Idea v. Reality

career direction tips Oct 01, 2022

In 2012, I wanted to start a business for various reasons, but I did not know what to start. Many of my friends were getting married, so I was coordinating a lot of bachelorette parties. I had a random thought — wouldn’t it be fun to invent a shot glass in the shape of a toilet plunger that could stick to different surfaces to play drinking games?

Since I didn’t know what business to start, I went with my idea and I hired my attorney friend to write a provisional patent, and I started pricing out what it would cost to produce the shot glass. 

The more I dove into it, I realized that the realities of my shot glass business differed from I thought — I was creating a job for myself that focused on operations and product fulfillment, which is not the best use of my time or motivating talents (I prefer to spend my time connecting with others and creating content). Plus, it would cost $60k to produce and ship the shot glass from China, which opened up a can of worms.

I was excited about the idea of inventing a shot glass, but I did not like the reality of executing it.

It makes sense that I was excited about the idea because I have learned through my psychology trainings that ideas can work almost like a drug high and give an instant rush of dopamine (dopamine is the chemical in your brain that gives you a sense of pleasure and satisfaction). But once that dopamine wore off, I had to deal with the realities of implementing my ideas.

I know I’m not alone is this scenario because I’ve had had potential clients seek coaching services because they started a business or pursued a career based on an idea or passion, but realities of their chosen profession differed from what they have imagined, and they were unhappy.

I’ve had to learn to reframe my thinking about my career ideas. When it comes to pursuing a business, job, side hustle, or project, it’s important to investigate the realities of executing it. I ask myself and my clients these questions:

1) Do I truly understand my tasks and responsibilities if I were to pursue it?

2) If I were to pursue this job/career/business/side hustle/project, is it the best use of my time and talents? If not, should I pursue it (because it fits in my bigger picture) or perhaps hire someone to help me?

3) Will I find the motivation to continue doing this job/career/business/side hustle/ project once the novelty wears off? 

4) If I were to pursue my idea, how does it fit into the bigger picture?

Don’t get me wrong, there have been many ideas I have been excited about and executed, but didn’t like the work itself, such as building my website or writing business proposals to get a contract. The difference is that overall, I like my day-to-day job that I’ve created for myself, and if I have a project that isn’t as fun, I’m motivated to complete it because it helps me move toward my bigger picture goals.

You’ve got this!


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