Alan Belcher, Paul Halme, & Amy Magers Reveal Their Top Secret 'Brainstorming' Spots.. & The 3 Components You Need To Discover Your Own.

Uncategorized Jul 10, 2018

Where do you go to brainstorm, recharge, & come up with your next big idea?

All successful entrepreneurs understand that this is a CRUCIAL part of the business development process.

Paul Halme​​‘s brainstorming spot is legendary! (& I’m totally outting him on this! Haha πŸ˜‚)

Every Sunday when Paul goes to the sauna, he starts blowing up Alan Belcher‘s & my phone with amazing ideas! He’s also been known to have some pretty killer inspiration at airports. And, as any of you following his Instagram already know, Paul is a travel junkie! He’ll take any excuse to hop on a plane & go somewhere. The last time we all flew out of Biloxi… my husband Kris & I sat in the airport cafe at 6am like zombies, while Paul starting coming up with one revolutionary idea after another. He was definitely in his zone!

Alan gets his best ideas when he goes out for a long drive. He listens to podcasts, comes up with killer ideas, and literally can’t stop himself from hopping on a Zoom call, going live, or recording a bunch of videos about his newest plan.  πŸ™Œ (And at least now, he mostly pulls over to record anything! haha) But there’s something about being stuck in a car on the open road that makes everything click for him.

I have two spots.

The first one is a place called Greenfield Village where I like to take my kids. It’s essentially an outdoor museum of industry, highlighting some of the greatest inventions of the 19th & 20th century, & the lives of the brilliant minds behind the inventions. (It’s actually the place that inspired the physical model of the “Daily Line Shaft Number” & “the Combat Business S.T.E.A.M engine!”)

SUPER nerdy, but walking around that place has always been inspiring to me. When I need a BIG idea or to grapple with some content and I really don’t know how it’s going to shake out. I grab the kids, head to The Village for a couple of hours, & wait for the ideas to start steering the ship.. (...and it usually works!)

My second one may not be quite as magical, but it’s a little easier to get to and it’s pretty darn effective... it’s my humble, neighborhood nail salon. (I’m actually starting this blog here now.. I’ve written a ton of others here too!)

This place can get busy. It’s almost never quiet.. But somehow, the constant buzz of people talking in 2-3 different languages, the TV in the back corner, and the hum from all of the massaging chairs blurs together and cancels each other out. And something about that noise & activity, and the fact that I’m basically held hostage for 45 minutes while someone has my feet submerged in a tub of water, frees up my mind to start thinking & writing.

So all three of us, Paul, Alan, & I have our ‘spots.’ They are all different, but they have a couple of things in common.

First, you’ll notice in each of these places.. The sauna, the airport, the car, the salon, we’re all essentially STUCK for a set amount of time. We can’t leave until we’re at our destination, the pedicure is done, or the cycle is complete.

Even when I’m out with my kids at Greenfield Village, I’m not on my own time frame. (If you’re a parent, I know you can relate to that..) But when you take your kids to a fun place, you’re committing to being there for a few hours and leaving early isn’t really an option.

So essentially, we are all held ‘captive’ in some way. We’re basically forcing ourselves into a “time block.” (PS. if you haven’t heard about the productivity hack of time blocking and why it’s one of the most effective ways to get the most out of your work day.. Check out some of our other blogs… but not until after this one.) ;)

Not only are we forcing a time block, but we are stripping away the tools that we normally use to do our work. Not ONE of us brainstorms in our office. Nobody has a computer, or a desk, just the notes section on our phones, or an old school notebook. Eliminating those everyday tools, also eliminates the everyday distractions that they cause.

But the ‘surprise’ common denominator between ALL of our brainstorming spots is that they ALL involve some level of ‘pampering.’ (Although the guys may not use that exact word to describe it..) πŸ˜‚But regardless of the word, we’re all taking time away from our gyms, we’re stepping out of our routine, and doing something we really enjoy.

It’s the ORDER in which we do this that makes this more effective and also flies in the face of how we have been trained to think about work.

We’re supposed to “Work hard, THEN reward yourself with some time off.”

Come up with the great idea, THEN “treat yo self.”

But, the truth is..

In order to have the great ideas, in order to do your best work, you have to take care of your body, mind, and spirit FIRST. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” right?!

Now, I’m not saying that you should drop everything & run to the salon.. (although I highly recommend it & contrary to popular belief, there are ALWAYS men in here getting pedicures.)

BUT, you CAN discover your own by remembering the common components from our best brainstorming spots

  1. “Get stuck!” Where can you go where you aren’t allowed to leave to run another errand or do something else?
  2. “Get out!” Remove distractions.. Get out of your office, out of your academy, and away from the distractions of work and everyday life.
  3. “Get happy.” Do something you enjoy. Where do you feel happy, peaceful, or energized?

The best and most successful entrepreneurs I know aren’t slaving away in their offices grinding out brilliant ideas. They are out, enjoying their lives, taking care of themselves, and ready to pounce when inspiration strikes.

-Amy Magers

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