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Dorie Clark (www.dorieclark.com) is a business consultant & coach, author and motivational speaker.
Dorie’s a frequent contributor to TIME, Entrepreneur and the Harvard Business Review. Her latest book Stand Out was named by Forbes as one of the “Top 10 Business Books of 2016.”
Dorie teaches business administration at Duke, has been twice named by Huffington Post as “100 Must Follow on Twitter” and speaks to clients including Google, The Gates Foundation and the World Bank.
In this interview, Dorie discusses her journey from early college entrance at age 14 to studying at Harvard Divinity School to a career in politics. She shares the steps she took to grow into her current business practice and provides advice for how you too can become a recognized expert in your field!
(Published January 2017)
On Beginnings As an Entrepreneur:
-I first started doing marketing work and communications work. Like most people, I started with the connections that I had – reaching out to people who had done business with me or knew me in past iterations.
-But really the biggest differentiator for me – the way that I was able to leverage myself to the position that I’m in today, fortunately – was that I realized that my business could only grow so much if it was purely on referrals and connections that I had. I needed to somehow raise my profile to a place where I would be able to meet a different kind of person than I was meeting currently – more powerful, more plugged into the corporate world.
-So I started to double down on content creation – whether that was in the form of books like “Reinventing You” or blogging was an early driver for me for the “Harvard Business Review” and other places – and I’ve used that strategy to be able to create enough content that it creates mindshare with people and has been able to draw in inquiries for opportunities, whether it’s speaking or consulting or coaching work or things like that, that have been quite valuable.
-I’m a big goal person, although I try to limit it strategically.
-I actually did a piece that I published recently in the “Harvard Business Review” called “Don’t Set Too Many Goals for Yourself.”
-One of the things that handicaps people in a lot of ways is that to a certain extent they almost confuse ‘goals’ and their ‘to do list.’ They will come up with a list of 10 goals and that’s just way too many. You can’t keep your eyes on that many prizes simultaneously.
-So, a discipline that I have instituted is:
1) I don’t set goals for the entire year. I set 6-month goals. And then I will decide mid-year if I want to re-up them or change to a different goal.
2) I try to set no more than two professional goals. I like to say: I’ll set no more than three goals. Two can be professional and then one can be personal goal.
-I try to never have more than two major priorities at a time.
On Staying Motivated:
-You have to know your own psychology to a certain extent – what works for you.
-Many people try ‘Accountability Partners.’ Working out at the gym, for instance. It’s one thing to say ‘oh, I’m going to stay in bed.’ It’s a whole other level of rudeness if you’re going to meet a friend there and then you don’t show up. So, coming up with structures that hold you accountable is useful.
-Another one that people have tried to great success: there is a website called STICKK.com and you put out a financial wager that if you do not complete a certain goal – and the key is that you’re supposed to make it hurt, you’re supposed to make it big – then the money that you’ve set aside will be donated to a charity you hate.
-What keeps me motivated is I use goals as a filtering device. I’m able to work towards the goals because the goals provide a useful tool for simplification for me. When I get a million requests in my inbox, I will ask myself if that activity supports the overall goal. If yes, I’ll do it. If not, I’ll defer it or delay it or turn it down but it gives me a way to focus and decide what tasks I should be doing on a given day.
How to Become a Recognized Expert:
-There’s an online course that I teach called ‘Recognized Expert,’ which is basically taking the principles of my book “Stand Out” and turning them into an interactive course format.
-When it comes to becoming a recognized expert,
to really be known as among the best in your field, which is what’s necessary of course to attract really good offers and opportunities – whether they are job offers, consulting offers, speaking offers or whatever it is that you’re after – you want to be publicly recognized by others for your talents.
-In order to do that there are three fundamental things that you need:
1) Content Creation
2) Social Proof
3) Your Network
My advice is for people to really think about their own lives and of these three areas, where are you strong and where are you weak? And are you able to take some steps to shore up the areas of weakness?
Because, if you can be really strong in at least two, that’s fantastic.
If you can be pretty strong in all three, that’s even better because it really creates a lot of positive attention that draws people to you.
1) Content Creation is about sharing your ideas publicly.
It’s a basic fact: If you don’t share your ideas, whether it’s in the form of writing articles or books or giving speeches or whatever, people will not know know what your ideas are. It’s a necessary pre-condition that you need to be getting your ideas out there so that people can hear it and say ‘oh, that’s so smart, that’s so great, I like how she thinks, I’ve got to hire her.’
2) Social Proof – are there markers of credibility that you can assemble around yourself that makes it easy for people to say – ‘oh, I should listen to her; she’s not a crack pot.’
It could be lots of different things: it could be where you went to school, that you’ve published a book, that you blog regularly for certain publications, that you’re the head of a professional association, that maybe you used to work at a company that everyone respects, things like that – those are great forms of social proof.
3) Your network is helpful for many reasons. One is that you are -to the point of Social Proof – judged by the people that you surround yourself with. But also your network is important because they are your ambassadors – they are the people who can help you spread the word about your ideas and get it out there.
If you can work on those three areas, that is what is essential in terms of building your own platform and building your brand.
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