In the last article, I asked you to reflect and take action where you had missed spots. I hope you went back through so you can really get to the next level!
In the first year I ran Slow Down School (it’s a one week conference focused on slowing down and planning business actions…and some day drinking on the beach), there were these two guys, John and Jeremy. They have given me permission to share their stories.
John had some big ideas. His group practice was thriving and he was considering dropping his Ph.D. program. We spent two days hiking, doing yoga, and getting massages. We skipped stones on the beach while drinking beer.
He and Jeremy ran together most mornings of the conference. Jeremy had a podcast and a thriving testing practice. But, Jeremy was working 60+ hours per week.
We all slowed down. It was hard. We had ideas and felt like we should be more productive. Even me, the creator of the conference, I had a hard time! My internal dialog was: “Are people getting enough out of the conference?”
“Is slowing down really going to be worth it?”
“What if they feel like it was a total waste of money to fly to Michigan and hang out on the beach?!”
We spent two days relaxing, thinking, and letting our bodies reconnect with our brain. Then, Jeremy gained insight into the fact that he was working too much. We sketched out how to reduce work, but keep his income the same.
He called his wife and she started crying. He started crying. When he told me, I started crying.
John had clarity on how to sketch out his big idea and scale it beyond himself. He did $4k in business his first week back from Slow Down School.
So, What Happened?
They slowed down to spark innovation. The actual process for scaling up is counter-intuitive. It’s not what we think. There are three phases: Slow down. Spark. Innovation.
- Slow Down: Purge, Practice, Presence
- Innovate: Evaluate, Define, Plan, Create, Attract, Serve, Outsource
Before we plan anything, we want to slow down a bit. This is because research shows us that, when our brains are overwhelmed, busy, and focused on too much, they can’t be creative. We’re also more likely to get tunnel vision. We think the idea we have is the only one, or we have to throw it out.
But, when we slow down, purge out the bad and unproductive thoughts, have clear practices, and then find presence, the natural thing that happens is a spark. A spark of something that helps us have an “aha”.
Steve jobs took Apple employees on a retreat when they were planning the Apple Store. It’s when we step back and observe what is and what could be. It’s why we have our best ideas in the shower.
Blueprint For Innovation
But, when the sparks start coming, what then? Well, it’s time to innovate. Here are the seven repeatable steps, we might call it a blueprint, for innovation:
- Evaluate: Look at what is working and what has been done around this idea.
- Define: Define what you know, need to know, and what you could do.
- Plan: Break down the project into micro-goals and steps.
- Create: Create content and assets that support the project: blog posts, podcast interviews, or videos.
- Attract: Find people, organizations, or products that serve a similar audience, and leverage their support.
- Serve: Attempt to over-serve customers, partners, and stakeholders every step of the way.
- Outsource: Take everything that is not essential off of your plate, so that you can move on to the next big idea.
Sounds easy, right? But, each step could have it’s own book. I actually did a ten part podcast all about this, starting with episode 195, so you could have really in-depth training on these.
ACTION: Listen to the podcasts all about these seven steps so you can have less stress and more organization around slowing down to spark innovation.
In the next post, we’re going to dive into why most counselors are thinking way too small, and how you can think (and grow) much bigger!
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC
Joe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI. To link to Joe’s Google+ .