I’ve recently completed the manuscript for my upcoming reputation book about how to stand out in a crowd, network at a higher level and create career success with a powerful personal brand. In my research I came across the incredible Dorie Clark, a wonderfully articulate and insightful individual, and a powerhouse on personal branding, standing our and effective networking.
One of the chapters in the upcoming book is on becoming an authority in your space. Expert or authority status if what helps build your reputation and create the career capital for business success. It’s one of your two biggest machines in your reputation engine (the other is your network – who you associate with and can call upon is says more than anything about your reputation).
I love this 12 min video from Dorie about creating that breakthrough idea. She puts it better than anyone else I’ve come across. If you believe in the power of ideas, you must watch this!
When I’m coaching clients and we need to come up with something better or different to position them, here are 12 useful prompters I’ve come up with over the years to crack that nut. Any of these should help you cultivate the breakthrough idea that might just make you famous:
1. Fascination. What fascinates you? The stuff that intrigues you and absorbs you is the stuff that will inspire you. Fascination demands people’s attention. If something is making you curious, that’s probably area that could yield
2. Serendipity. Your rigid routine is doing little to make way for those random encounters, daydreaming thoughts and lucky strokes of genius. Like this blog on one way to be luckier, slow down and relax.
3. Connections. People create conversations, which create ideas. Locking yourself in a room or hiding behind social media is not particularly stimulating. Which means your imagination takes a back seat. Get out there, get networking and get connecting.
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4. Breaks. Working flat out and head down is not always the best stimulus for creativity. Sometimes taking a break and getting away from a problem is the best way to solve it. Ideas come on the loo, in the shower, out walking or doing something totally different.
5. Combinations. Roller skating = roller skating + ice skating. Starbucks = coffee + Italian. MTV = music + video. Water polo = handball + swimming. Water = hydrogen + oxygen. What could you combine to create something new?
6. Questions. Asking better questions gives you better answers. The obvious is ‘what if…?’ Your breakthrough idea might come from framing problems in a much better way.
7. Burdens. What troubles you? What upsets you? What makes your blood boil? Those irritants are like the grain of sand in the oyster shell. The stuff that gets to you will stimulate some of your best ideas.
8. Observations. Some of the best ideas are not intentionally invented but discovered by accident. Twitter, penicillin and vulcanized rubber all came about while people were looking for something else. Popsicles, potato chips, teflon, slinkies and post-it notes. Just be open to accidents and sharpen your observational skills.
9. Brainstorms. Great ideas come from applying concentrated thought to a particular topic. It was Voltaire who said ‘no problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking’. Your breakthrough idea might come early or late, the 2nd or 200th item on your brainstorm list. But the process works.
10. Stimulation. What or who are you exposed to that is stimulating your thinking? How disruptive is your environment or your network? Some companies force their staff to take sabbaticals. Get around some different people and different surroundings. Get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the company of some quirky mavericks. They’ll definitely get you thinking in a different way.
11. Trends. What’s coming up on the horizon? If you can see the writing on the wall, you’ve got an amazing opportunity to get ahead of the game. Make an effort to notice trends, patterns and signs. By interpreting these for others, your breakthrough idea is within reach.
12. Pivots. Your breakthrough idea might be just a slight pivot on what’s already happening. You don’t need to be radical or totally original. There were hamburgers before Mcdonald’s and sugary drinks before coke.
Which breakthrough idea is going to establish you as a stand out personal brand and ‘go to’ expert? If you don’t have it yet, employ some of the above approaches to stimulate your imagination. Everyone has an idea. You’ve just got to get it out of your head and into the world! [/sociallocker]