Where did that summer go? (If you’re in London, like I am, you’ll be asking, "What summer?!"). Regardless of the weather, I hope you’ve enjoyed yours. This is traditionally the time of the year to harvest what was planted earlier in the year. So, if you’ve been having loads of ideas and maybe started some projects, this is a good time to take action! Here are some ideas to inspire you (and after item 3, you’ll find three projects of my own that may be of interest):
September 2009 Brainstorm E-Bulletin
1: Your recovery playbook
Here are three business strategies for the recession, drawn from an article by Ram Charan in Fortune magazine, along with my notions of what they could mean to individuals:
A: Forget about waiting for normal to return. This is the new normal.
As someone said, "Hope is not a strategy." My fields of publishing and broadcasting will never go back to what they were, but content will still be required. Whatever field you’re in, it’s essential to look forward, not back.
B: Narrow your focus.
More than ever, it’s important to put your energy into only the things you do best. The objective should be going from being very good to being outstanding – because "outstanding" will always be in demand, regardless of the economy.
C: Accelerate innovation.
If it’s not working, do something else. Quickly.
The article’s final, concise advice: Think creatively. Act aggressively.
Action: Take a few minutes to figure out how you could apply these three strategies.
2: If you’re an introvert – or just have one in your life…
PsychologyToday.com featured an interview with Dr. Laurie Helgoe, author of "Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength." Asked: what is the most troubling general misconception about introverts? she said: "Introversion is a preference, not a fallback plan. Introverts like being rich and generative. Think of all that goes on in the playground of solitude: daydreaming, reading, composing, meditating – and just being, writing, calculating, fantasizing, thinking, praying, theorizing, imagining, drawing/painting/sculpting, inventing, researching, reflecting."
She reassures introverts: "Your preference for introversion is healthy, and you are not some deviant subculture. In fact, the largest studies to date document that you make up a slight majority of the population."
Action: If you are an introvert, appreciate yourself. And if you’re dealing with an introvert, Dr. Helgoe suggests: If you ask a question, wait for the answer – they think first and talk afterward. Don’t assume that an introvert will find the same things fun that you find fun. And when an introvert withdraws to refuel, don’t take it personally.
3: What group brainstorming is best for – and what not
Generally we think of brainstorming as a group activity, but several studies suggest that individuals often come up with better ideas. However, it appears that the true strength of group brainstorming is the evaluation of ideas. (This led to my idea of a Feedback Workshop – see below).
Action: If you want to try a brainstorming group for evaluating ideas, use the following elements in this order: (1) identify the positive aspects of each idea; (2) identify the potential of each idea; (3) express the problems as solvable – so rather than saying, "This would cost too much," say, "For this idea, we’d have to figure out how to make it less expensive."
Your chance to join two London workshops: there is only one spot left for the half-day "Feedback Workshop" on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 19, in Central London. It’s limited to eight people, and if you join us, you will get a half hour of specific, constructive, breakthrough feedback on your concept, chapter, scene, or any other writing project from me and the other participants.
The other one is "Supercharge Your Writing With Impro," a one-day workshop on Saturday, Sept. 26, also in Central London. You’ll learn the secret methods that work on stage – and also work on the page! Few writers know these techniques. Space is limited on this one, too, so if you want to sign up or just get more information about either of these workshops, e-mail Sheridan now at BStormUK@aol.com.
For everybody around the world: I’m planning to launch the next edition of the Breakthrough Strategies program on Nov. 2. It’s eight weeks to set and achieve your goals, with massive support from me, your fellow participants and a whole host of materials. If you’re interested and want to find out why what seems like the worst time of the year (leading into the holidays) is actually the best time to undertake this project, e-mail Sheridan at BStormUK@aol.com, and we’ll send you full information.
4: How long has it been since you really tested yourself?
In the Financial Times there was an article that started this way: "Five weeks before a February visit from Lee Myungbak, South Korea’s president, the head of the country’s leading scientific university set his engineers a race against time…He had long been toying with the idea of a revolutionary electric vehicle that would take its power from cables beneath the road rather than relying on batteries. ‘Could you possibly build one?’ he asked the boffins."
"Somewhat timidly they said they would look into it….They worked day and night to ensure that Mr. Lee could be driving around the Kaist campus in a vehicle the world had never seen."
Wow! That’s dedication. And it reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve set myself a really tough short-term challenge (I’m working on a few longer-term ones). Might be fun. What about you?
Action: Would you enjoy a testing short-term challenge? What would it be? When could you do it? If you do it, I’d love to hear about it. E-mail me at JurgenWolff@gmail.com.
5: Want to be 40 percent happier?
Professor of psychology at University of California Sonja Lyubomirsky says that 40 percent is the degree of happiness within our power to change. Her book is "The How of Happiness," and in it she suggests 12 strategies. They include:
* Express gratitude
* Visualize a positive future and write it down
* Practice acts of kindness
* Work toward meaningful goals.
There you have it, 1/3 of her methods, which mean you now can improve your happiness by 13.33 percent!
Action: I’m not sure about those percentages, but I do think if you practice any of the four strategies above, you’ll be happier. Pick one you don’t do regularly and give it a try.
6: And a quote to consider: "I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life." – Miles Davis
Until next time,
PS: If you haven’t looked at my blog lately, you’ve missed posts on: What’s the way forward: new or different?; Wise words for when you get discouraged; The amazing story of Otto Heino; What you can learn from Readers Digest’s bankruptcy; From idea to ugly success, and lots more (both specifically for writers and for creative people in general). Go have a look now – www.timetowrite.blogs.com.
If you want a free course (eight mini-lessons, one per week) on overcoming procrastination, just sign up at www.tameyourinnercritic.com. You’ll also find a wealth of right-brain breakthrough ways to achieve your goals in my newest book, "Focus: The Power of Targeted Thinking." The Web site for it is www.focusquick.com
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