5 Key Traits That Lead You To Million Dollar Ideas

Pairs Well With…”Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat.” – Unknown

“You know, you might be one of the happiest people I know.  You’re like…rainbows and sunshine…pretty much all the time.  Either that or you really keep up a good front, but I doubt it,” a friend said to me last week.  A handful of things, if I may:

  1. Let’s be honest. I don’t have the energy to carry on any sort of facade, especially for the entire three months we’ve been on our trip. Forcing yourself to be something other than what you are, or guarding yourself, is a waste of time. Plus, like the rest of the group I’m traveling with, I’m too busy managing my social medias. C’mon now.
  2. Rest assured, I have my coffee and middle fingers kind of days, too.
  3. I’ve discovered that my happiness lies in my work freedom, which has allowed me to enjoy live differently, but in a more fulfilling way. I get to be creative and design big ideas and collaborations day in and day out.  That’s my sweet spot.
  4. For the record, my friend, you forgot unicorn.  I’m like rainbows and sunshine, but you forgot unicorn.  (Next time.)

I (finally) devoted myself to self-reflection this week, something I promised I would do more of in Cambodia…when I’m not tied up playing tug-o-war over my purse, that is.  I thought about what it is I love so much about my path today, and ultimately, where I want to be at the end of Remote Year. Due to the fact that this question has already been posed by people both in and outside the program, I’ve been forced to think about it, and maybe that’s an okay thing.  I guess it’s good to have clear intentions and know what I’m working towards, right?  I don’t want to find myself in the middle of month twelve thinking, “What happened?” the same way Kanye’s been wondering what’s happened to his career.

I needed to take inventory of what’s been working for me and what those traits are that have been driving my success. You know how when people start to say similar things, you realize that YOU need to start paying attention?  Yeah, I needed to do some of that.  I’ve heard a lot of those good nuggets over the last month, but I haven’t spent enough time figuring out how to apply them to New Life.  The words strategic, creative and connected surface routinely.  Strategic?  I found this to be an interesting one, especially since I’ve had a few ball busting bosses telling me I was lacking in the strategery department.  Maybe my self-awareness is off, but I’m quite strategic.

Let me break this down.  Creativity requires a unique process from person to person, which is how really cool shit happens. Strategy demands a particular approach from person to person, which is how you find ways of getting the really cool shit done.  Now, I’d like to state for the record that requiring someone “be strategic” isn’t really a thing.  In fact, it’s bullshit. It’s like telling someone, “Hey, can you just be a little bit smarter?”  Bug off.  What I concluded this week is that I am highly strategic in a way that works for me, not necessarily in a way you can demand from me.  Bottom line: Don’t let others cloud your creativity by telling you how you should go about your business. You do you. Allow your strengths to come to life organically.  Success will follow.

While each of us may approach our passion projects and professions differently, we’re all after two common goals: success and happiness.  As I started backtracking through personal projects, businesses I’d started, and my overall career, I was determined to understand the catalysts behind my biggest success stories and learnings from ideas that puttered out.   While there are others, these are what I consider to be the five key traits that lead you to million dollar ideas:

  • PASSION – If you aren’t wholeheartedly invested in what you’re doing, don’t even bother starting or you won’t give a rat’s ass a year down the line.  No one likes a quitter.  Finish what you start, and give it everything you’ve got.  You’ll know when you’re passionate about something when it’s all you can think about.
  • CREATIVITY – Be extremely brilliant, clever and memorable in your branding and business idea. There is SO much content out there that, to be successful, you need to be able to breakthrough – and stay top of mind.  You will need to find ways to plow through roadblocks and come up with left of center solutions to sell through ideas to land business deals.  Creativity expands your mind and leads you to paths of endless opportunity.
  • STRATEGY:  It defines your direction.  As far as I’m concerned, directions are general guidance bumpers to get where you’re going.  They allow for pit stops, and there is always more than one way to get there.  Should you take the scenic route, you may even learn something along the way, too.  Always keep your goals and objectives top of mind and be thinking about all the wonderful ways you can achieve your end game.
  • PERSISTENCE: Hate to break it to you, but things will never go according to plan 100% of the time.  That’s okay, life was never meant to be perfect anyway.  You’re likely to hit roadblocks, plateau on forwarding progress, lose inspiration, get frustrated and be exhausted.  These are all normal feelings.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Take a breather, reenergize and keep the success train moving full speed ahead. Review and revise your strategy as needed to help you refocus your efforts.
  • PATIENCE:  Ah, the waiting game, the worst one of them all. Patience plays such a critical part in business.  Waiting for a client response without losing composure when deadlines for deliverables are getting tight.  Waiting for another freelance gig to come your way before envisioning the fifty ways you’re about to go broke.  Waiting for your big idea, pitch, blog post or whatever it is you do to catch wildfire, because that’s why you started all of this, right?  Breathe!  But don’t quit. Take these periods of waiting to enjoy the ride and evaluate, especially when “plateau mode” hits.  Too often, people abandon ideas before they reach full capacity for fear of failure or the frustration of “It’s not working!”  Patience sometimes means a slow and steady climb to the top and a greater appreciation for what you have achieved.

Focus on the big wins, not the minor setback.  The setbacks allow you to take a quick pause and get yourself back in the game.  Envision yourself succeeding in what you do and keep your eye on the prize.

Don’t forget to leave room for new ideas and improvements, as well as a change of course.  Ideas come to us when we least expect them to, but they come to us for a reason – so seize them.  The best of your ideas may come to you through learning and experience.  Keep your eyes open to new paths that unfold around you.

Finally, TRUST YOURSELF.  I can’t stress this one enough. You are capable of way more than you know.  Listen to your instinct, and take those big leaps of faith once in a while.  Until you spread your wings, you never know how far you can fly.


As always, stay tuned for more ingenious thoughts on how to make it rain from around the globe.

Next Stop: Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday, April 29th! 

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