Waiting for a challenge-free life before we expand our work’s visibility and sharing our ideas is a fool’s errand.
Thought leadership demands that you own your authority in order to create impact.
Karen had a big art exhibit approaching in two weeks.
Large finished canvases lay stretched in two rooms of her studio in upstate New York, where she and her husband had moved seven years earlier.
While she prepared one of her final canvases, their three-year-old boy wandered off into another room. By the time she had come out of her artistic flow to search for him, she found the gleeful boy in the next room covered in paint and sprawled across one of her canvases. Two others were ruined.
How she responded and the perspective she has gained in the past several years reflects the wisdom I am seeing and hearing among numerous business artists. Read more
To lead means you expose yourself on the front lines. No hiding.
Launching a trade nonfiction book is one of the most powerful ways to lead. And one of the most nerve-wracking. And one of the most rewarding for you and your audience.
I devour and break down some 40 or so trade nonfiction books a year in business, creativity, innovation, design, psychology, writing, publishing, and science. Another dozen books or so of fiction. A handful of books of essays and poetry a year.
I do so to keep myself nimble and to aid our clients in shaping the best books, brands, and offers possible.
By request, I’m reviewing here 6 of the top thought leadership books I’ve read recently that have come across my desk. These are 6 books I think give Tracking Wonder’s audience the most value to do what we help you do. They can help you master your work flow & creative cycle and own your place in the world as a thought leader, conversation leader, and business artist. Read more
Even being at the height of your career is no guarantee you’ll feel comfortable in your own professional skin. Afflictions like impostor’s syndrome and other limiting beliefs could be holding you back from experiencing deeper fulfillment and creating greater impact.
I’m well acquainted with all of these afflictions because I’ve had my version of each of them at different stages. Read more
If something meaningful is driving you to write a blog – something more than racking up big numbers – then maybe, and I do mean the tentative “maybe,” it would be wise to break from blogging and the audience you’ve been building.
Now I’m not suggesting you get lax. I’m adamant about self-discipline, creative persistence, and organic systems to sustain creative momentum.
There’s a well known commandment in the blogger morality zone:
“Don’t take breaks in blogging, or your readers will leave you.”
On most days I’m immersed in other people’s personal lives, histories, and stories as a way to tell their brand story. But when the tables turned and I was in the spotlight, well… gulp.
A few months ago in NYC I found myself giving the most intimate interview I’ve ever offered. It was more than an hour of talking about myself, my life from tow-headed boyhood to gray-headed papahood. I kept waiting for the interview to turn the focus “beyond me,” to work, to ideas, to other people. It didn’t. Read more
Marketing matters to anyone wishing to build a business, advance a career, or become a viable author or thought leader. You know that.
But in the wrong doses and with the wrong timing, marketing can kill creativity, thwart innovation, and stall the very professional growth necessary for long-term or next-term success.
Ironically, too much reliance on marketing data at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons can create a brand or book that has the very qualities that lack authenticity and do not lead to brand loyalty. Read more
Every month Tracking Wonder brings you some of the best articles from across the web that have stopped us in our tracks or given us pause to think and consider perspectives in creativity, brand, and innovation.
With help from Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros, I’ve gathered and curated some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence – all via storytelling, brand, and innovation. Read more
If you can make people feel something you can generally grab their attention. Your brand story matters because your why is the powerful driving force getting you out of bed even on the days you’d rather roll over, ignore what needs to be done and binge watch Netflix.
It’s also a pretty compelling reason for other people to notice and ultimately invest in you, your book, your brand or business.
Whether it’s a personal story or the inspiration behind what drove you to create your business, story is what as humans, we’re wired to we resonate with deeply.
My work with clients involves lots of field research and study of models so we can iterate, emulate, and innovate. In a nut shell, see what works. Here are 3 surprising sources for inspiration for story I think you;re going to enjoy.
1. Johnny Walker
Yep, the bourbon. Actually, two German university students submitted this 90-second film on spec to the bourbon brand legend. Watch how it piques your curiosity, raises questions in you about the men’s relationship & who’s speaking, and where – if anywhere – they’re wandering.
The product isn’t the Story. The brand Story here is how the product is entwined in people’s lives, memories, and celebrations. Even the tough-minded are likely to shed a tear at the poetic script’s truth and beauty. In 90 seconds.
My questions to you: The next time you shoot a program or product video, how can you pique curiosity instead of being obvious? How is your product or program or service entwined in people’s lives for the better? You don’t need a 6-figure production budget.
2. Starbucks Upstander
Warning: There’s a not-so-subtle political drive behind these stories. Still, it’s an example of how real stories of real people can drive home a point. If your brand is justice-related or if you’re a social entrepreneur, take stock.
My question to you: How can you tell stories of “ordinary” people who are fulfilling a mission or the core values your brand stands for?
3. Jonathan Fields: One Author’s Quest to Plant 10,000 Trees
Jonathan combines his passion for nature with his quest for a good life in the “10,000 Tree Good Life Forest” Project. Here he tells the story of his book and his personal quest in a context that matters.
My questions to you: If you’re launching a book or product, what larger mission that might involve partnership or collaboration can you imagine? Tap into both your core values as well as the book’s or product’s content. Remember, your book is not your Story. It’s only a part of the brand Story you’re living.
If this blog speaks to you I invite you to join our The Tracking Wonder Quest Community. Our community is comprised of professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, teachers, coaches, and consultants dedicated to doing Business As Unusual. I’d be pleased to have you join us.
Whatever it is you’re building, creating, or advancing, when you think of your return on investment, weigh it on what you learn in the process. This is often over looked or not calculated into the final ROI at all.
I laid out rows of three acorns on the lawn.
Me: “How many rows of three are there?”
7-year-old: “Foherr” (she rolls her ‘r’s as if she were French).
Me: “So, how much is 3 times 4?”
7-year-old: “Twelve!” Read more
Whether you tag yourself “writer” or not, writing can feed the ideas you’re obsessed with and the questions you’re living and that your brand and business is delivering on.
Writing can inform your brand’s integrity. And if you’re in transition – in life, business, brand – oh, yeah. Writing is an ally there, too.
Someone asked me recently about the work I do and how I help to build brands and the brand stories they’re based on. The answer. I do build a brand the same way I build a life: An idea consumes me. I write, research, dive deep, create, test. Through that process, I unfold a brand and business. Read more