5 Ways to Grow Your Brand, Be Creative and Become the Expert in Your Field
“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” — Charles Mingus
The best lesson you’ll ever learn is that your education in life should never stop. Not only that, but the best education you’ll ever receive will most certainly not come in the classroom. You’re going to learn through your personal experiences, family, relationships and competitive ventures. And even when you think you have all the skills you need, you have to remind yourself that you always need more.
As a lifelong learner, I’m always looking for new ways to increase my knowledge and skill. I’m always looking for an edge — something to help distinguish myself in my field and to grow my brand. Great ideas can last a lifetime, though some ideas are ephemeral. They serve a purpose for a while, and then they go away. They grow stale. You need to rejuvenate, keep thinking, ideating and coming up with something new.
Here’s the thing — if you’re reading this article in this great publication, you probably recognize that your personal growth is a lifelong journey. There will be mistakes, adversity and many bumps along the way. In order to keep growing, you can’t rely on what you learned at home, in grade school, high school or even college. There may be no rush for you to go out and get a Master’s degree, either.
There are an abundance of resources at your fingertips thanks to the Internet. I’m encouraging you to be a player. Life is a contact sport, meaning, you can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and think the game is going to come to you. You’re going to have to get out there and get your hands dirty to make the plays that will bring satisfaction to your life.
The more I’ve made strides in my writing and coaching careers, the more I’ve encountered adversity in a variety of forms. But this adversity has been eclipsed by my successes. I’ve persevered through the tough times and I’ve grown because I’ve been willing to stick it out and learn. The more I feel I’m staying in the same place, the more I desire to keep growing — and keep learning something new.
Don’t sit back and think that you’ve become the expert just because you’re getting by in your job. You literally and figuratively cannot afford to do so, particularly when the world around you is constantly evolving. Technology changes, and smarter, more efficient processes enter the workforce. Bold, new ideas from incredibly creative people replace old ideas.
If you truly want to get what you want, you have to be willing to put yourself out there, find a way to dedicate time and get by through the help of others. I’ve detailed five ways to get where you want to be. We live in an expert’s world. The experts are the ones who are sought out for their expertise, because they’re the most knowledgeable and best at what they do.
We should strive to live happy, fulfilling lives that lead us to becoming the best person we want to be. There are plenty of opportunities for you to live this life. Here’s some methods to get started:
1. Dedicate 5 Hours per Week to Using Your Creative Imagination
“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” — Albert Einstein
I’ve found the absolute best way to do this is to immerse myself in solitude. It could be meditating early in the morning when it’s still dark out and the kids haven’t woken up yet. It could be finding 45 minutes of piece during a midday break from work. But I strongly prefer solitude. I like thinking of the things that I love, things that inspire me and sometimes listening to music.
But most of the time the most creative ideas that come to my mind are when I’m in solitude and able to reflect on the things in life that motivate, inspire and get my adrenaline going. I’m most creative when I’m in the zone about doing what I love, dreaming of the end goals that I’ve set out and thinking of celebrating in the winner’s circle.
When I wrote my first book, The Value of You, I often did so in solitude. I thought deeply about what each value meant to me. I thought about what inspired me most in my life and how my dream was always to become an author. I kept going and kept writing. Now, I’m on to new goals which I truly believe I’ll only be able to achieve if I use my creative imagination to imbue them with beauty and color.
Use your imagination. We’re all blessed with a beautiful mind that can create incredible things.
2. Take Advantage of the Online Courses at Your Disposal
This goes back to the idea that life is a continuing education and we are literally continuing this when we keep learning something new. I’ve taken courses online that taught me how to create a WordPress site. That’s how I created my first blog. I’ve read a lot online about branding and marketing, because I never had a formal education in these subjects.
I recommend Udemy, Lynda and Coursera. But bear in mind that this industry, like every other, is constantly changing. Something new always comes along that’s better, more user-friendly and perhaps even cheaper. Take advantage of YouTube and all the great learning videos there. And remember, Google is your best friend. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you — unless it’s a poor Wi-Fi connection!
3. Learn How to Master Social Media
If you’re looking to become the expert in your field in 2018 and beyond, you absolutely must use social media. That’s a must. It’s simply non-negotiable. If you want a seat at the table, you must start there. But it’s not just about starting and getting your seat. You need to learn how to differentiate yourself. First, it’s worthwhile to brainstorm on how you want to position your brand.
I can tell you that if you’re a writer, you’re going to want people to hear and see your most authentic voice when you’re posting and sharing on social media. Build your strategy around authenticity, around your passions and what makes your expertise unique. You will never, ever go wrong with this strategy.
One of the best lessons I ever learned is that the world absolutely needs you. It wants you to be YOURSELF and to be truly unique. And it most certainly doesn’t want you to sit on your butt and waste your talents. Be yourself and like anything, learn from the experts of who is succeeding at creating beautiful, inspiring messages on social media.
Emulate them, take what you can and then make it your own. This is the essence of creativity!
4. Develop One New Connection Each Week that Becomes a Mutually Beneficial Relationship
None of us make it on our own. We live in an interdependent world and our successes are the byproduct of the loving, nurturing seeds that others plant in our lives. Speaking of social media, get ready to use Linked in to your advantage. Go out and meet people. Be willing to ask someone for help. You have to be bigger than thinking people will just come to you.
Also, be willing to offer something. You may be looking to become a social media genius, but perhaps you have an awesome background in web design that you can share with the person you’re meeting. Offer something. Receive in return. Repeat. Once you meet more people, you’ll keep learning and growing. And you’ll gain allies and fans of you that will help you build your brand.
5. Focus on the DOING and Keep Going
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” — Sylvia Plath
Keep Going. Keep Going. Keep Going. Persistence and perseverance are absolutely paramount in becoming an expert and living life on your terms. Think of anything you’ve succeeded at, and look at the examples of people you admire. The common thread is unequivocally that you and they kept going to achieve your goals. This is plain to the eyes to see.
Yet, it’s not always easy to do. Focus on what you love to do, what you want to become and keep on doing. Keep producing, even on the days when you feel like lying on the couch and watching Netflix ’til you pass out. Eliminate time wasters like unhelpful perusing on Instagram and Snapchat. If you’re going to spend that time on social media, use it to grow YOUR brand!
Whatever it is you’re doing, if you find yourself at the intersection of passion and natural talent, please continue to keep going. Pour your all into what you’re doing and never, ever give up. Instead of looking up to the experts, one day, you’ll count yourself in their company.
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Also, check out my bestselling book, The Value of You.