I am mesmerized by innovators.
Movers and shakers.
When you think of a “thought leader”, what or who comes to mind?
Something or someone that completely changed the “game”—whatever game that was.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook
- John Mackey and Whole Foods
- Southwest Airlines no baggage or ‘change’ fees
- Mary Kay’s diamond-retail model, emulated by handfuls of other companies (Arbonne, Rodan & Fields, Advocare, DoTerra, etc.)
- Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule for ‘perfection’
- Hippocrate’s view of food as medicine
- President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to get the country out of depression in the 1930’s
- Steve Job’s Apple dynasty and Bill Gates’ Microsoft empire
- Dale Carnegie’s timeless tips for winning friends and influencing people
- Starbucks’ convenient coffee store fronts
- Tom’s shoes’ ‘one-for-one’ model (buy one, give one away)
- Facebook’s capitalization on the human need to connect
The list goes on of innovative thought leaders—People and businesses that saw an unmet need, a niche, a gap to fill, an idea to progress and…just did it.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be an innovative thought leader.
Within all of us, rooted within the human heart, is a desire to be great.
Not necessarily famous…But to be someone or to do something that matters.
After all, if this was not the case:
- There would not be 2,930,000,000 search results on Google by simply searching the phrase “how to be great”
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People would not continue to be a best-seller after 25 years of publication
- “Self-Actualization” would not be the tip of the iceberg on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—what we as humans strive towards
- Month after month, magazines and advertisements would not have to sell “perfect bodies” with the same ol’, same ol’ headlines (“Lose 5 lbs.”, “Tighten your tummy”, “Get toned arms”
- The diet industry would not be a profitable billion-dollar industry, filled with adherents seeking physical greatness
- Marketing bloggers would not receive any ‘likes’ or reads from business professionals on topics like: ‘Building your brand’ or ‘Get more clients now’
- Social media would be non-existent (after all, a huge role of our newsfeeds are about greatness—achieving it, being it, capturing it)
Yet, in this search for ‘greatness’, somewhere along the way, many of us lose to ability to think innovatively; creatively; outside the box…epic.
In fact, according to Forbes, at age five, 98% of all children have no trouble thinking divergently—innovative and independent, regardless of influence. However, statistically, from then on, creative thinking drops steadily, each and every year, until by age 25, only 2% of people can think outside-the-box.
The number one unifying principle that separates this 2% of people from the other 98% in adulthood?
The primary factor innovative thought leaders have, according to Steve Jobs, the innovator, himself?
In order to create, start, be something or someone great—a thought, idea or innovation—be curious enough to ask questions such as:
- Why is it that way?
- Is there a better way?
- Is there another way?
- What is missing here?
- What would make a difference here?
- What could happen?
I’ll leave you with this story a woman told me the other day in a coffee shop:
There was an entrepreneur and writer—stuck in the process of starting his new business, trying to grow his business and trying to get more traffic to his blog—gain a following.
How could he get his platform and message out? How could he get more clients? How could he establish himself in a sea of other similar entrepreneurs, too, trying to build their own brands?
So he took his latest work, an e-book style writing; printed it up and hit the streets.
He came across a homeless man on a busy street corner, and gave the man a stack of his books.
“Here you go. Distribute these—try to sell them for at least $5 and you keep all the proceeds,” the entrepreneur told the homeless man.
The homeless man did as he was instructed to do, trying his best to make as much of a profit as he could.
The next day, when the entrepreneur drove back by the man, the homeless man was sold out.
“I need more—the books went fast!”
And so the entrepreneur gave him more.
By the end of the week, the homeless man had grossed more than $1,000 in profits, the entrepreneur got his name out and helped another individual out, and built a platform and vast following from this one simple act—an innovative thought.
Wish something would change? Want to stop ‘being stuck’ or sticking to the ‘black and white’ template for how to-do everything in your life? Want to start a movement or challenge the status quo?
Think big. Think outside the box. Follow your heart. And above all, be curious (What if I tried that…?)