If you are struggling with the question, ‘How do I find my breakthrough idea and build a following around it?’ Dorie Clark’s Standout: How to Find Your Breaththrough Idea and Build A Following Around it, is the book you should be reading. This is a three-part, and nine-chapter book that should take you at least nine days to read. Dorie Clark uses a simple language and her examples are easy to relate to. The book is filled with questions that should guide your reflection.
According to Dorie Clark, to find your breakthrough idea, one needs to understand/develop your big idea, develop your expert niche, provide new research, combine ideas /and or create a framework. Now that you have your breakthrough idea, people need to know about it. Clark argues that you can build your network, build your audience and build a community around your idea. This will require utilizing social media, associations, friends and family. Reading through this book, I have five takeaways.
- Be Intentional about standing out
Dorie Clark argues that now is not the time to leave standing out to chance. You need to work hard, and make sure that you get noticed. To be honest, nobody really cares unless they notice you and your work. So, it is important to have your focus on sharpening your skills, working hard, and making sure that the right people get to notice your work, and you of course.
Dorie Clark puts it this way, ‘Too many people believe that if they keep their heads down and work hard, they’ll gain the recognition they deserve. But that’s simply not true anymore. To get noticed, create true job security and make a difference in the world, you have to make sure that your ideas stand out.’
- Being Active and Radical
Breakthrough ideas usually come when you are active. Breakthrough ideas hardly come to people who are passive. In addition, breakthrough ideas require boldness and risk-taking. Most of the times, breakthrough ideas are hardly understood by people. You therefore need to stand your ground, as you are accepting feedback (both constructive or otherwise). As I was reading book this, I thought about all the key thinkers of our time. Most of their ideas were dismissed at first. Later, people accepted their ideas.
- The Power of quiet times and blogging
Often, I have ideas that drop into my mind, but I do not make time to document these ideas. With time, the ideas fade, and I can hardly remember them. I am now working towards having blocked slots where I do nothing but download ideas. To those folks who are in situation similar to mine, have time to think through ideas and consider all the options available. I have tried this for the past few days, and I have already started blogging about key issues.
In addition, the quite times have helped me to start creating content to respond to the frequently asked questions that I get. Instead of responding to each individual case that I get, which is practically impossible, I am now developing blogs to respond to these questions. This will ensure that I help as many people as possible. Where I am tied up, I can easily direct people to my blog to get answers to some of the questions.
This also addresses the question ‘How do I ensure that I always have content for my blog?’
- The Power of Social Media
After I have developed the content, I use social media to ensure that I reach as many people as possible. Over the years, I have taken time to build my brand on social media. I have over 5,000 followers on Facebook, therefore, I capitalize on that following to share my ideas. Now, I am working towards engaging people who frequently engage with my content. Something that I didn’t do much before.
- Leveraging networks, and communities
Until I read this book, I selectively used the brands, associations that I must expand my brand. I am a member/fellow of prestigious brands such as the Obama Foundation Fellowship, Chevening, Pathways for Prosperity Commission Technology and Inclusive development, and University of Sussex among. Now, I plan to intentionally and consistently use the power of these networks and communities to further my personal brand. I will also join associations, for mutual benefit of course.
This book has a lot of wisdom. I would encourage everyone to purchase a copy, read it, and get your share of lessons.
Clark, D. (2015). Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around it. Portfoli Penguin.