Author Dorie Clark, strategic marketing consultant, professional speaker, and contributor to the Harvard Business Review, TIME, Entrepreneur, and the World Economic Forum blog discusses her latest books, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future and Stand Out: How To Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It.
Dorie also shares key strategies on what it ultimately takes for anyone to adapt to new changes in the world of today and become a powerful source. I was curious to know how Dorie was able to reinvent and stand out herself along with spreading the important message of adapting to change, something we are all known to fear at times.
In what ways did the ideas come to mind of the books you’ve written?
The way I came to writing my first book into having reinvention as a theme was quite accidental. I had spent a lot of my time in my 20’s trying to find a good career for myself and largely failing. I got a masters degree in theology, and I was wanting to get a doctorate in English Literature, that was the plan I had at the time. And unfortunately, I got turned down by all the doctorate programs I applied for. So I had to come up with a different solution for myself. I thought okay, I can be a journalist. I was successful and became a political reporter and it was at a bad time for the journalism industry and it was starting to collapse. And after a year on the job I was laid off there, so then I had to reinvent myself again. I had been covering politics so I ended up working in politics as a spokesperson. Eventually, I ended up finding my footing and started my own consulting business which I’ve now had for 9 years. One of the first blogs I wrote for The Harvard Business Review was about this experience reinventing myself and that post became popular and ultimately that turned into my first book, Reinventing You.
How did your first book fall into place after The Harvard Business Review approached you regarding your popular blog post?
The Harvard Business Review editors came to me and said this was a good post and asked if I would expand into an article for The Harvard Business Review Magazine. So I turned it into a magazine article and then when it came out, I was approached by 3 different literary agents who reached out to me and said, would I be interested in writing a proposal and so I thought, Oh, there’s something here. I wrote a proposal and was able to sell the book. At that point it began to happen organically.
What should your readers take away from Reinventing You?
Reinvention is becoming a constant thing we do. It use to be maybe you’d have to reinvent yourself occasionally, if there was some disruptive event in your life or career. Reinvention is becoming more the norm now. If we’re going to be successful, we need to get comfortable with it, and embrace it. Reinventing You really is trying to lay out for people a process that makes reinvention better, faster, and easier, so they can transition into their next big move.
Tell us more of what your readers will take away from Stand Out and the key components you lay out?
That book is a follow up of what you should do after your reinvention. You found the place you want to make an impact and so it’s about how to get your true talents recognized. So the book is about the two components: the first part is developing ideas that really are worth spreading and the second part is being strategic about how to build a following around your ideas, and how to make sure they really are being heard and having the impact they deserve on the discourse.
One of the methods I lay out in the book is creating a framework, and what that entails is taking some issue or phenomenon and systemizing it, explaining it in a way that can help shed light on it, so people understand it better. Just as an example, David Allen for instance has created a methodology called Getting Things Done. It’s a very expansive system that helps people think about their productivity and efficiency in a different way. And what I have done in writing Stand Out is create a framework through which people can understand thought leadership differently and how to become a thought leader.
You’ve spoken and taught on some of the biggest stages. From teaching at the most prestigious universities in the country to talks at Google and for TEDX. What’s one talk you’ve given that has stood out to you the most in your career?
A couple years ago, I spoke to an audience of nearly 3,000 people and it was at a conference for people who are in the alcohol and drug prevention industry. I was talking to them about social media strategy, and how do you get social media to get out the message about their issues. And that was a good and meaningful talk for them and for me. My father was a psychiatrist who specialized in chemical dependency issues and so all of these folks were very much in the world I grew up in. I felt good being able to provide them helpful advice.
What projects are you currently focused on at the moment?
As an experiment, I actually released another book right after Stand Out, it’s a short ebook about 60 pages called Stand Out Networking. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if people discovered my work through Stand Out and if they wanted more, I can give them more.
I’ve been blogging for 3 ½ years for Forbes and as a result I’ve created a ton of content, and I thought to myself about what could I do to repurpose this content in an interesting way that would be valuable for people. And so I gathered all the posts I’ve written about networking and I put them together and I used them as building blocks. I didn’t just attach the posts together. I integrated them and created a whole new flow and organization of documents from using existing materials. I wanted to introduce those ideas into a whole new audience, that was my strategy.
How has your life changed since putting out your work to the world?
I have been able to start doing things for work where opportunities were not previously open to me before. So just for an example, it’s fairly hard to get paid speaking engagements without the platform of a book. So once I started writing books, all of a sudden, I’m getting speaking engagements and that was really exciting. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but it was a door that wasn’t really open to me until I was writing books.
What legacy do you want to be remembered for?
Really what would I like to do is help other people feel comfortable expressing more of their authentic selves. It’s really important for people to speak up and share their ideas and do that in a way they feel comfortable being themselves. And I think far too many people are held back by concern about what other people will think, or concern about what seems professional or appropriate, or whether people will like this or that aspect. And I would just like people to go for it, because I think that’s how we get the best ideas.