When I travel, I catch up on all the magazines I’ve been meaning to read, and often you’ll hear the rrriiiipppp of a page tearing out so that I can keep it for future inspiration.
Traveling to Israel, of course, afforded quite a bit of time to catch up on magazine reads. And one such inspiring article came from the July/August issue of Inc., in which Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour (who is a year younger than me!) presents his “formula” for innovative design.
I’d like to share some points from it here because I believe you can extrapolate to anything you undertake – your daily work, your craft, parenting, spirituality. See if it fits for you.
Point 1: Do one thing well.
I remember hearing a version of this many years ago, when I was trying to be a poet, a journalist, a teacher of writing and probably other things, too. A friend said, “You can be excellent at one thing…or good at several.”
Which do you want to be?
And recently, another friend said to really focus my efforts on one (or three) key tasks or projects and table the other seven, to be revisited 90 days later. Do one thing really well – so that you can do really well. When you reach that goal, or surpass it, you will likely have time to take on the next dream project. And the next.
Point 2: Stay true to your brand.
If you’re applying this to spirituality or parenting, obviously, you need to think outside the words a bit, but it still works. What is your brand? You must know this in order to be true to it.
In business, clear and clever branding is a problem. Many companies miss the crucial first step of crafting mission and vision and a brand that will stand the test of time. What Is Your Brand? Do you know?
If not, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself important questions like, What am I trying to accomplish, what difference do I want to make in the world, how am I of service, what do I make/offer/sell and why? And if you can’t answer them, take some much-needed time to meditate on the meaning behind all the busy-ness and work you scramble to do every day.
Point 3: Be open to wild ideas.
Just as you stay true to your brand, you must still allow in the possibility for expansion or innovation or creativity or something that you’ve never considered before.
Doing things the same old way forever and ever is boring. And it doesn’t work. Before long, you outgrow your initial purpose and if you aren’t brave enough to let evolution in, you are likely to crash and burn. Be open. Brainstorm. Try new things. Risk failing. If only to pick yourself back up and be braver on the next round.
Point 4: Never stop inventing.
If you’re only as good as your last great creation, you’re done. Dead. Over. Stick-in-the-mud.
Invent yourself anew each day. Invent your work at every opportunity. Reinvent your identity and don’t be afraid to try on new personas just as easily as new ideas.
You can stumble upon a great victory and a great success with a client or product or program, but then you have to be great once again, and it’s the opportunity in invention and creation that allows this to happen.
If you look at each day as an opportunity to be your best self yet, you may actually achieve it. Without that possibility for anything-goes, for innovation, for WOW, you just don’t make room for it.