A black and white photo of Joel Goodman, his head tripled and ghosted with lots of visual motion.

Meditations out of the pivot

Dealing with the ghosts of past inspiration.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve had a thousand ideas for great businesses, tech products, or podcasts but have just mistimed it all. Either I’m way too early or I can’t put the right people-pieces in place to make the whole thing come to fruition. It’s a frustrating existence that I know I share with more than a few other people. We hustle and hope that eventually one of them will just hit.

There have been a couple of times in my life where I’ve been able to start on one of those ideas, line up prospective customers, get branding set, and have an excellent team surrounding me. Invariably, it seems, something happens to derail things. At this point, I should pause and thank my friends out there that have been on those journeys with me.

At the end of 2019, I had one of those chances. I put a call out on Twitter, got a small group together, and started University Insight. The makeup of that team has changed since then and despite having lined up some interested partners, validated the concept with some of my own trusted industry friends, we just couldn't push it over the line. University Insight had to pivot or remain stalled out. We left our first idea to rest while I focused on refocusing.

For me, the real emotional challenge is what happens when those orphaned ideas and half-built moments of brilliance sit stagnant until someone else picks up on the market need and turns it into a viable offering. Sure, I’ve pivoted, but have I really moved on?

Each idea I have feels personal. I wrestle with them, looking at every possible outcome, every strategy. They are a part of me. Maybe that feels a bit melodramatic but I think a piece of me always assumes I’ll work my way back to building on those past thoughts. There’s no real moving on, just a pause and a nagging feeling that something was left undone.

We can’t follow every rabbit trail and build every great idea. But what’s the salve for knowing you had a great idea but someone else will get the recognition for it? How do founders and "ideas people" disassociate that part and stay focused?

In some ways I think it’s best that I’ve always been a background person, pulling the strings and making things happen. I like to say I don’t need the recognition, but internally I feel different. I want to be known for doing great work, having great ideas, and having created something meaningful for the better. It’s in the liminal spaces where I need to calm my mind and focus on what’s next.

And what’s next for me, for Bravery, and for University Insight is really exciting.