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It’s Your Time to Break Through, with Dorie Clark

Expert guest: Dorie Clark

Play episode (00:37:07)
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Having a great idea is one thing, but getting it out there and making sure it’s being heard by the intended audience is quite another. The tools that have allowed us to spread our ideas more easily have also made it more difficult to be heard. We’re all exposed to a torrent of media on a daily basis, so how can we stand out?

We live in an increasingly noisy world and our attention is being demanded from every direction. Having a breakthrough idea is difficult enough, but these days, it’s only half the battle. How do successful entrepreneurs, thought leaders and community figureheads not only develop life-changing concepts, but communicate them effectively so that they’re not lost among the white noise of modern life?

For her latest book, Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It Dorie has been speaking with some of the world’s foremost thought leaders on just this topic. In this episode, she will be sharing some of her valuable insights with us.

She’s found that to be really influential in your professional sphere or particular industry, you don’t need to formulate an original idea or invent a new product. You can popularise an idea that has been overlooked or synthesise concepts to create something new, captivating and valuable for your audience.

The second part of the conundrum of the breakthrough idea is creating a community of followers who will act as a ‘legion of ambassadors’ and help further promote it. This is something that can put people off for a number of reasons.

Firstly, as mentioned before, everything in our lives is becoming faster and more convenient. So, the idea of spending a year, two years or five years creating a following for your idea can seem daunting. Secondly, we often look at successful people who are much further along a particular timeline from ourselves. The success that may have taken ten years to create appears effortless as we haven’t seen all of the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into ensuring that success.

This can discourage us from trying, but it should be remembered that all of these success stories started somewhere. Maybe in a year, two years or even ten years, you will look back on today as the day your success story began.

About Dorie:

Dorie is an author, marketing strategist, consultant and renowned public speaker. Her work has been featured in TIME, Harvard Business Review and Entrepreneur. She’s also the author of two ground-breaking books, Reinventing You and Stand Out, which have helped thousands of professionals around the world better identify and develop their unique brands and ideas as well as how to make them stand out.

She is also an adjunct professor of Business Administration at Duke University, has taught at Emerson College, Tufts and Suffolk University and guest lectured at such esteemed institutions as Harvard Business School, NYU and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. She has worked as a consultant and speaker for clients as diverse as Yale University, Google, Morgan Stanley, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition to that already hugely impressive CV, she’s also an award winning journalist, one of Forbes “25 Professional Networking Experts to Watch in 2015” and has appeared regularly on NPR, MSNBC and the BBC.

Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast Episode:

In this small business podcast episode, we challenge the problem of how to find your breakthrough idea and how to build a loyal following around it.

Dorie’s Actionable Tips:

  1. Use a niche strategy. Don’t attempt to stand out in too broad a field. Narrow it down and become an expert in a particular niche. This is a fantastic way to establish yourself quickly and make a big impact. Over time, you can expand into other areas, using your original niche as the foundation.
  1. Mix disciplines. Innovation comes from mixing ideas, different perspectives and personal experiences. If everyone in a field or company possesses the same mentality, background and experiences it can be hard to tell if decisions are being made for the right reasons. Are habit and tradition standing in the way of innovation?
  1. Carefully choose those around you. Surround yourself with people you want to learn from, speak to and engage with. Be deliberate in your choices. Passivity isn’t beneficial to career development. Test out your ideas with this trusted group.


Top Quotes:

  • “People see over 321 ads per day. Our attention is at a premium.”
  • “It’s a combination of having a high quality idea and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and market it.”
  • “It doesn't take time to have a great idea, it takes space.”
  • “Thought leaders can be synthesisers and popularisers.”
  • “Be on the lookout for things that are interesting and undervalued and deserve to be seen more.”
  • “Passion can be developed over time but an essential early ingredient is curiosity.”
  • “We have distinct experiences. You are different from everyone else, based on your unique skills, experiences and background. You see the world in a different way.”
  • “It's fundamentally a three step process in spreading your ideas and building your following. First, it's building your network. Next, it's building your audience and finally it's building your community.”
  • “If you start today and you are consistent, you can build an amazing network.”
  • “You can't get too far ahead of yourself. We can't compare ourselves to people who are much farther along the cycle.”
  • “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. If you can’t do that, then the best time to plant a tree is now.”

Guest Links:


Key Timestamps:

  • [00:37] Challenged Issue
  • [01:21] Dorie’s Introduction, Background and Experience
  • [02:13] Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It
  • [03:52] Thought Leadership
  • [06:40] The Importance of Space
  • [10:22] Popularisation and Synthesis
  • [11:23] Curiosity and the Willingness to Learn
  • [14:17] Unique Experiences, Perspectives and Insights
  • [16:55] Building a Network
  • [21:23] Building a Following
  • [26:17] Dorie’s Actionable Tips
  • [35:20] Dorie’s links

Don’t forget, the more you expect from yourself the more you WILL excel!

About the author, Mark

Mark is the founder of Excellence Expected and shares straight talking content that draws upon his experience of building a successful business portfolio since 2003.

He tells it how it is and helps you cut through the online noise.

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Did you know?
I send select, high quality content exclusively to people like you who invest time in developing themselves.

The issue is not giving me the best email address to contact you on, the issue is whether you are serious about being the best you can be.

You in?