Four Common Denominators of the Innovator’s Attitude #4: Doing Trumps Thinking, but Thinking Comes First.
In last week’s post I wrote about disruption… and the importance of steering by your inner compass if you want to be disruptive.
Elon musk is one of the most disruptive thinkers of our time, and yet when he describes his day, he says this:
“I don’t spend my time pontificating about high-concept things; I spend my time solving engineering and manufacturing problems.”
It’s clear. Innovation is about doing. The actions you take in the world determine the legacy you will leave. Whether that is seeing your children grow into productive influencers in society or delivering your product to fill a gap in the market, your actions lay your path.
- For the artist, doing is showing up in the studio every day and making art.
- For the business person, it is planning the work and working the plan.
- For the innovator, it is solving problems strategically… and never giving up.
“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship…the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” ― Peter F. Drucker
Thinking comes first.
You have your own personal and professional problems to solve. Yes, that is the challenge (and the gift) of Life. So think about it. The problems that speak to you most – the ones you cannot not solve – reveal to you your niche. Your unique, creative responses to those problems are solutions you can potentially sell. If you design all your products and services to help other people solve their problems, you will have loyal customers for life. And how well you do that determines your bottom line.
How relevant are you?
- How many people have your problems (i.e., need your solutions)?
- How well do your products solve their problems?
- How many people know about you, like you and trust you enough to choose you?
I, along with thousands of other talented creatives, gifted coaches and ambitious entrepreneurs, have tried to find a workaround for this. We all want to monetize our passion, but few are willing to do the required work. We would rather hold onto our fantasies than sacrifice them on the altar of reality.
Doing is hard, and it has to be strategic to be effective.
“If you’re co-founder or CEO, you have to do all kinds of tasks you might not want to do… If you don’t do your chores, the company won’t succeed… No task is too menial.” – Elon Musk
But the good news is…
Doing is a process.
The Wheel of Creativity breaks down that process into clear steps. The Wheel is not a How-To Manual; it is a Compass. It helps you identify where you are, clarify where you want to go, and determine for yourself the direction you need to take from here to there. I don’t tell you what you need to do to solve your problem; I show you how to think about your situation and create the solution that fits for you.
Because the Wheel is such a personalized solution, it’s not an easy sell. To be perfectly honest, I’ve struggled to do the things I’m sharing with you here. And through my struggle – and the mistakes I’ve made – I’ve learned what doesn’t work (the hard way), and that has driven me (kicking and screaming at times) to what does.
Before you get busy doing, make time for thinking. Understand your problem, your niche, your business well enough to lay out your success strategy.
Cultivate the Innovator’s attitude:
- Make failure your ally.
- Give up the good for the great.
- Steer with your inner compass.
- Think before you do, but then do it.
The Innovator’s attitude is not about branding or marketing. It is not about perfection. The Innovator’s attitude is the commitment to questioning the status quo, the devotion to making life better in your own unique way, and the courage to change the things you can change. It is the actions you take.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Alan Kay
Get busy. But get clear first.