When I was teaching, I revamped the curriculum for several of my classes to great effect (significant increases in enrollment). Then when I went into Corporate America, I couldn’t believe how uncreative and lethargic everyone was. Basically, one company or SVP would roll something out, then everyone would copy that. How boring that was, so I started proposing lots of new ideas. I even went so far to proposing an idea a month to our SVP (of a Fortune 500 company), who called me The Idea Guy during a speech in front of 500+ people, basically encouraging others to do the same. Sometimes my ideas were marketing ideas, and sometimes they were product ideas (my favorite was the watch that would detect a heart attack and the bra that would detect rape, both of which were sent to me years later by peers after other startups got funding for similar ideas).
Sometimes this got me into trouble, and sometimes it had great effect (I made good extra money working on marketing on the side and a few of my ideas got me a few extra contracts). But the past few years, with my illness combined with working for two awful companies in a row, I am afraid. I am afraid to propose something silly then have it cost me my job. In short, my confidence is tattered. I’ve got to get it back. One of the things that made me effective was no fear – if a wild idea got me in hot water, no big deal, off to the next one. It hurt me a few times, but more often than not it gave me an edge.