In Sunday’s New York Times magazine, there’s an inventors’ support company featured, Quirky.com. It’s purpose is to take your crazy idea and put it out in the Quirky community for a group grope on what your concept would be if it were better than what you could think of on your own. I love this resource because of all the values that define my personal brand, “invention” dominates it. My partners, clients, associates, fellow instructors, suppliers, employees, family and the panoply of people who surround me in my working life (which is 90% of my life) both benefit and suffer from my having this trait.
Invention is the trait that drives me to read Annals of Thoracic Surgery and Volleyball magazine, although I neither break open chests in an operating room, nor do I drive the 3 miles it would take to get me to the beach and dive for balls in a bikini. I read a lot of things (publications, the backs of cereal boxes, anything except instructions to technology that I also am driven to purchase) that have no reason to be interesting to me other than the fact that my brain noisily demands to be fed, like the way your stomach spasms and makes noises when you’re hungry. I can’t escape this drive to be relentlessly educated. It’s why I can’t wake up without lots of newspapers, real and online. It makes my Sunday ritual of having lunch out just an excuse to wend my way to a bookstore and come home with six books that I could probably get from a fellow publisher if I could wait (I run Pegasus Media World). My brain won’t let me wait.
The blessing is I’m very lucky to have been born after Guttenberg made the press (not Police Academy 3), Vint Cerf invented the Internet (not Horton Hears a Who), and Steve Jobs (as opposed to Steve Just Thinks) put it all first on our desks and now in our palms.
The curse is I can’t watch the news on television because it’s not news by the time I see it. If I’m not growing I feel like I’m dying. That’s why being a lifelong learner isn’t something that’s nice for me, it’s essential – like air, water and food.
What is keeping you awake at night? What gets you to turn down an invitation to chill with friends and instead go into your real or virtual workshop and tinker? What are you going to write your book about? What are you doing, reading, listening in on, participating in, making, laughing about, crying about, hiding or broadcasting or however it is you are manifesting the symptoms of your brand?
Potentially most important, what makes YouThinkInc a worthy contributor to GroupThinkInc? That is, no brand succeeds if it’s not embraced by at least one large enough, lucrative target that will need not only what you say or sell, but will purchase virtually endless iterations of it. Maybe you have the next Panini maker in you or a better way to wash dogs. Maybe you have a way to turn kidney beans into a caffeine-free morning beverage with the flavor to rival coffee and tea. What’s underneath what you most like to do? And, what is it going to take to move who you are and what you have into the embrace of the community or individuals who will make you whole, and wildly successful?
I don’t have the mechanical skills or geometry in my brain to get physical with my thoughts. That’s where GroupThinkInc equals in importance to my personal contribution. Like Quirky.com, the lifeblood of my brand is my ability to communicate my thoughts to enough people who can interact with them and make them better and easy to use. Thus, while invention dominates me, I’m clearly the walking nexus of four values: education, invention, communication and relationships.
Think about you. What quality of life or value dominates you? What is the foundation from which it grows? What other values must you wrap around yourself, in order to put you in the minds and hearts of people who matter to you and your career?
Try these on
Now, what else do you need from yourself and the world, in order to manifest your dominant life source into marketable commerce?
Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers. Read more at NanceRosenBlog. Twitter name: nancerosen.