By: Lois Zachary

I was excited to see What Do You Do With An Idea? hit the Wall Street Journal top ten bestselling hard cover nonfiction book list. I received my copy of Kobi Yamada’s book more than a year ago as a thank you gift from my mentee, Linda.

I treasure it because it came from her and because the story parallels our mentoring journey together. Like the character in the story, she developed the confidence and competence she needed to take her ideas, grow them and significantly influence others as they blossomed.

Mentees come to us with ideas, ideas they may not yet have articulated, even to themselves. They may have snippets of ideas, glimmerings of ideas, or even half-baked ideas.

Once they surface in conversations with us, our mentees begin to wonder what they are going to do with their ideas — where they are going with them or if they’re worth doing anything with it at all.

Ideas have a habit of clinging to us like sticky paper. Our ideas remain in our heads even when not pursued — after all, they are our ideas. Some mentees lack the confidence to share their ideas for fear of embarrassment or rejection.

In the Yamada story, a child’s idea begs for his attention. He ignores it (even though it still bubbles up from time to time) until one day he summons up the courage to talk about his idea. And, when he does, the reaction to it is negative and gives him pause, but only for a short while. He begins to dream about his idea. Dreaming energizes him — makes him feel more alive. His confidence grows alongside the passion for his idea.

IdeaAs he becomes more self-aware, his worldview and perspectives expand. He discovers that having different ideas is okay. He comes to own his idea because it is, after all, his.

I think the book jacket sums it up nicely: This “is a story to inspire you to give your ideas some time and space to grow and to see what happens next.”

“Lois, when I came across this book, I knew it was what I wanted to give you as a thank you. You have worked with me, with my head full of scattered ideas for four years now, and you have influenced me so much by your ideas.”

Thank you, Linda! I can hardly wait to hear about your next idea.