Relevance is more about being fluid, focused and paced so that you’re able to make big, real, and tangible things happen.

This past week, an event I was adamantly planning for my organization, was cancelled due to a lack of participation. I would be lying if I said I didn’t take it personally.

Given past successes with conferences, networking events and other initiatives, I was certain THIS event, focused on young women ages 16-20, would be a hit. Not only was it NOT well received, the loss of a couple thousand dollars filled me with frustration.

The first thing I asked myself after the failure was, “What made me think this was a good idea?” For a moment, I felt I had wasted so much time that could have been used on other things.

The idea for the event came to me in the middle of a walk, as I was thinking of ways to grow the organization, and serve a complementing demographic. During this solo brainstorming session, I thought the idea was brilliant, and should be launched immediately.

As professional women looking to grow our businesses and advance our careers, we are always considering the one brilliant idea that will take us to the next level of success. We’ve all heard the old saying, “You’re only as good as your last idea”.

In this mindset, we jump from one idea to the next and to the next until we “hit it big”. We have made it our goal to do as many things as possible, even if they are not all done well, or completed. For some, abandoning an idea even when the slightest of issues arise is perfectly okay.

While we learn through experimentation, consider the amount of energy being utilized on things we have no business doing. It only depletes our ability to focus on the things that really matter.

Living in a large city where dozens of networking events, conferences and happenings take place, makes the creation of big ideas easier. Every event we attend either sparks a new conversation or a new interest and leaves us feeling like we are not doing anything spectacular, or relevant. So we begin our solo brainstorming sessions and plan to take over the world.

I have certainly been caught up in the hype of someone else’s success. You may know what I’m talking about – you attend an event, hear from a successful individual (who makes success sound super easy) and then leave feeling inspired, untouchable and ready to start work on really big, brilliant and innovative ideas.

“That’s It!” You say, “I gotta do something”.

You go home and start jotting down everything you’ve got brewing (despite the fact you already have a hundred things to do), and convince yourself you’re going to launch it all.

You get on the Internet to find resources and guidance, joining mailing lists and paying for lots of content that shows you how to make millions.

You even buy a few marketing kits, books and suck up your ink printing everything you find. You become restless and can’t wait for all the packages to arrive, and plan on getting through all the printouts the very next day.

A week later, other ideas have surfaced, and now all of the materials from last week have arrived, but the boxes will go unopened.

You’ll plan on getting back to that idea soon… as soon as you execute the idea that just hit you last night.

Most of us abandon many of the projects we’ve started, and some of us don’t even start projects that are truly boiling in our souls. Projects we are truly interested in, go unfinished because we are so busy chasing the next big thing.

How many unfinished projects, goals, and tasks do you have because you keep running after “the next big thing”?

I had no business planning an event for young women. It is not my niche, nor what my organization focuses on. And yet, the experience gave me pause and helped me take a closer look at what I was working on, versus what I should be working on.

Additionally, while I was busy planning, I had forgotten to appreciate the success of our Empowered Latinas Connect networking event, where we had a robust discussion on authenticity in the workplace.

I hadn’t even closed out the planning sheet, gauged outcome or followed up on connections because I was in “NEXT!” mode.

How often are you not appreciating the excitement of a successful project because you treat it as another item checked off the “to do” list?

There will always be a hundred things vying for our attention, but we are more effective when we are not trying to create them all at once. You don’t have to respond to every trend, or flashy thing that comes across your mind, or screen.

Next time you consider starting a new initiative reflect on where you are with your current initiatives, and think about whether or not this is the time to take on something extra.

Reframe what “a good opportunity” means to your health and sanity, and get comfortable with saying “not at this time”.

Consider how great it feels to finish something as opposed to having two, three, maybe even four unfinished ideas. Having too much of what CUNY professor Dr. Egli Colon Stephens calls “unfinished business” weighs us down, as some ideas linger long after you’ve killed them off.

We all want to stay relevant, innovative and active in our pursuits, and we certainly can by staying focused and not stretching ourselves so thin.

Being busy doesn’t equate to being productive.

Our imagination and creativity are always so much bigger than our bandwidth, but fluid creativity allows for brilliant execution.

Relevance is more about being fluid, focused and paced so that you’re able to make big, real, and tangible things happen.

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