One of the things that hold people back from their expert to influencer journey is removing creative blocks.
We often have all this knowledge bubbling away in our heads, but the only way you’ll see yourself shifting from being an expert to an influencer is by sharing your knowledge and ideas. If you don’t communicate your value and share your ideas and knowledge, you’ll become commoditised. When people can’t see your value, they have to become mind readers. The more a customer has to ‘mind read’, the less likely they are going to buy from you. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have less influence over helping them move from their current position to where they’re trying to go. It’s going to be harder work for you to influence the sales conversation. And the reality is, it takes 10 pieces of content before someone will buy from you.
So, what can you do to increase the volume of creativity that you put out? There are 8 strategies to help:
1. Be present
There are so many opinions, ideas and comments that you make every day. They are conversations with your children, colleagues, friends and even around what you read. And each of those comments, ideas and opinions have value in them. The problem is, they just pass by until you’re trying to shift from being an expert to an influencer. Your conscious awareness of how valuable those opinions are is just not there yet. So when you’re shifting from being an expert to an influencer, you need to be mindful of what you’re saying. And there will be times that come along where you’ll think, “oh, there’s a blog in that,” or “there’s an idea in that.”
2. Read more to increase your confidence
One of the things that can hold us back is lack of stimulation. Whether we read in our area of expertise or in other areas, it helps us form more opinions. It helps us to identify whether we agree or disagree based on our own experiences. If you’re not reading every week, you’re missing out on opportunities to learn, grow and to create reference points to your knowledge and IP. By doing this, you’ll increase your relevance, influence and connection with your audience, which will ultimately increase your confidence and creativity.
3. Have a ‘home’ for your ideas
People often have trouble capturing their ideas. Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic, talks about ideas as ‘monkeys’. They jump on your shoulder and then jump away. We have to grab that monkey by the tail and find where to put that monkey down. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone. You have to act quickly, be responsive and have a home for your ideas.
I’ve seen lots of experts set up folders to file away those ideas or email themselves. I created an app along with my fellow expert, Dermot Crowley called Memo Mailer, which is perfect for when ideas come along, especially at unusual times. You simply capture the ideas on your phone and it will send it to your inbox for you to process at a later date. Matt Church has created the Pink Sheet Process. I keep Pink Sheets in my handbag and as I’m writing and think of new ideas and stories, I write them down on the Pink Sheets. I’ve also always kept an ideas file in my inbox, computer and deep drawer beside me to store ideas as they come along.
4. Make a list of all the things that you know
Make a list of all the things you know on your expert topic. For example, if you are an expert in wellbeing, then write down all the things you know about wellbeing such as how to get eight hours sleep per night, eat well, take supplements and exercise. Once done, allocate time in your calendar to expand on those ideas and do the research behind them.
5. Block time
In Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how creating the right habits and routines will enable you to value your ideas. If you don’t have the habit and routine of crafting your IP, unpacking your knowledge – then you will lose the cadence of creativity. You might find yourself hoping that creativity will turn up at certain times when you need it. But the truth is you need to devote time to process and nurture your ideas.
6. Get an accountability buddy
If you know someone else who is going through the same journey as you, it’s a great idea to hold each other accountable. Keep connected and find ways to unpack your ideas. You can have coffee sessions or meetups. By holding each other accountable, you can achieve your goals faster than you would alone.
7. Create a discipline
Creativity is often seen as things that will happen in the spur of the moment or on the off chance. We wait for those ideas to turn up. There’s a saying where the amateur waits for ideas to come by accident meanwhile the professional is disciplined. Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, has a cadence of unpacking for 15 minutes a stream of consciousness every day. Creating a discipline is like going to the gym. It takes practice and before you know it, you’ll start to build a muscle around it. This discipline creates the output and the volume for your ideas and knowledge. Otherwise, if you don’t do it, you’re going to be like a ‘couch potato’ where you hope one day you’d get fit – and we know that might not happen.
8. Join a community
If you want to build your expertise and knowledge, find a community where other people are doing that so it becomes your new norm. When you’re trying to do this by yourself, you don’t have a cultural norm around you. So it makes it harder because you need to have an immersive effect on your thinking and knowledge. It makes it harder to create ideas because you’re not seeing other people do it and it doesn’t validate you.
On the other hand, if you’re in a community or a tribe of people who are unpacking their ideas and knowledge regularly, it becomes part of the way you think. It becomes part of the vernacular or the language that’s being talked about in your community each day.
So I encourage you to find a community. I created Women With Influence, which is a community for women to share their knowledge to help them to grow their businesses. I’m also on faculty in Thought Leaders Business School where we teach clever people to be commercially smart.
How do you manage to remove creative blocks? I hope you’ll find the strategies above helpful. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Jane Anderson is a communication expert, speaker and the author of 6 books including “TRUSTED: The Level Above Influence.” With over 20 years of experience helping people step into their personal power, she is obsessed about creating human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.