Recently, I sent out an email to my clients urging them to make one simple change.
I asked them to stop trying to be normal.
Why? If you’re having challenges in your business right now, or if you’re hitting up against something again and again, it’s likely due to the fact that you are trying to do business as usual.
Even if things are going well for you right now, this is not a time for being “normal” in any industry.
Technological advances, consumer demands and increasing expectations are all combining to accelerate progress faster than ever before. Entire industries are being thrown into disarray within brief windows of time by one single new idea being introduced (e.g., Uber vs. the taxi industry, shave clubs vs. giant toiletry companies, boutique fitness studios vs. traditional gyms).
If you keep doing things the way you’ve always done them, you’re going to wake up one morning to a rude new reality sooner or later. Or, at the very least, you’ll have gotten really, really bored.
The upside to all this is we are now being forced to become very creative in what we are doing.
Especially for those of us who have been in the game a long time, we are naturally being forced into innovation.
If you remember how, think creatively. I use the word “remember” because it’s something we’re born with but soon forget as we are immersed in schools and institutions that drive it out of us, then workplaces and entire industries that do the same.
The biggest realization I had last year while working with my clients — typically, seven- or eight-figure entrepreneurs — was seeing these leaders try to solve problems or evolve their businesses with the same formulas that created them.
You can make moderate progress with the same thought processes, but you won’t create true breakthroughs (or, as I’m calling them lately, “break-outs,” as it’s more of an escape from your current thinking).
It’s a critical time for us to regain our creative thinking skills.
I recently hosted a two-day intensive workshop on this topic, but I’ll boil it down to these three keys:
Space. If you are constantly in execution mode, you can’t receive ideas. Go through your schedule and carve out dedicated time each week for your brain to be free. If this seems incredibly hard, try for just one unscheduled morning or afternoon a week.
Stimulation. If you are immersed only within your industry and work, you simply won’t receive fresh ideas. Attend a conference outside your field, take yourself on a date to a new gallery or exhibit, book a trip to new, or even just pick up a magazine you’d never typically read.
Experimentation. If you don’t try things that aren’t proven — or are even risky — new ideas are useless. With the increased visibility the online world brings, we’ve become more intimidated to try something new as we fear all will see if it fails. But we’ve got to regain that adventurous spirit and remember why we likely got into business for ourselves in the first place.
Ali Brown is CEO of We Lead, host of Glambition Radio®, a speaker on women’s business leadership, and an angel investor in woman-led ventures.