Friday, April 28, 2017

Is It Too Late to Write Your Book?

Everyone who dreams of writing a book knows what that genuine burst of inspiration, enthusiasm, and energy feels like when a really great book idea pops into their mind. They just know, without a doubt, that there are people everywhere who will absolutely benefit from all the great content they’re going to share. And the benefits! There are so many external benefits to writing a book:

  • Establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field
  • Recognition as an expert in your field
  • Increase in visibility
  • Increase in income
  • Increase in clients/customers/market share

 The biggest internal benefits?

  • The feeling of accomplishment that goes along with successfully completing something most of your peers will never even attempt.
  • Knowing you have contributed a valuable “conversation” in a format that will be around long after you’re gone.  

The biggest hurdle?

  • Getting started.

It’s really easy to push the idea of writing your book off to one side. You have every intention of getting to it at some point, but right now, it’s “just not the right time.” Sadly this is the whole “I’ll get to it tomorrow” paradox because tomorrow never comes.

If you truly don’t have the time to write your book, there are still things you can do to keep the inspiration and ideas for your book alive.

Acknowledge the value of questions:
  • Start keeping track of the questions your clients and customers are asking. You already know most of the answers by heart, and once combined, they will provide a great source of content for your book.
  • Ask your clients and customers questions too. Not yes or no questions that will make them feel dumb if they don’t know the answers. Come up with open-ended questions that give them the opportunity to expand on their thoughts, experiences, and opinions. Be open to the truth that even though you’re good at what you do, you can still learn from other people.

Pay attention to what others are writing. Some people think it’s too late to write their own book when they come across a book that’s been written and published on the same topic, by someone else. But there are very few cases when this is true. Instead, think of these people as your peers rather than your competition. Think of those books as opportunities to riff off their work. (That’s riff not rip!) If fact, it’s when we contemplate the work of others that our minds are stimulated to agree, disagree, add to what they came up with, alter it so it’s more accurate, fill in the missing pieces, etc.

Embrace the reality that only you can share your thoughts and ideas. In books, just as it is with people and in business, you aren’t going to establish a connection with every person you meet. But that’s all the more reason why you need to write your book. There are people waiting for the solutions you have to offer. And yes, solutions might already exist, but people don’t listen to voices that rub them the wrong way. They want to hear from people they feel a connection to. That’s where your unique voice comes in. The only way you can fail at connecting with your audience is if you never write your book!

It’s never too late to write your book. Never. But if you’re struggling with getting started, let’s have a conversation.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The End of Average Part 1

      Todd Rose’s book, The End of Average shows overs and over again that most of our social and institutional systems over the last hundred years or so are designed around the average person and sadly are doomed to fail. No one is average. The moment one needs to make a decision about an individual, the average is useless and even harmful because it gives us a false sense of knowledge. This quassi-knowledge has been based on an imperfect human invention of the average that helped solve the problems of a 100 years ago during the Industrial Age.
            Furthermore, the Age of the Average, which came out of our Industrial Age, was built on imperfect science. Adolphe Quetelet, who was born in 1796, was a man who was looking for fortune and fame. He wanted to be the Isaac Newton of his age. He kind of achieved this by using the mathematics from his failed astronomy career and applying it to humans. He borrowed astronomy methods of averages (averages were used because most astronomers couldn’t agree on anything), and actually applied it to human beings! And somehow this imperfect science caught on and the world changed to where according to Rose the average person came to represent the true human, and the individual person became synonymous with error. Every one of us became a flawed copy of some kind of cosmic template for human beings, which they called, “The Average Man”. Basically, average became normal, even though it didn’t truly exist, and the individual became error. Kind of crazy sounding, isn’t it?
            Next came Charles Darwin’s cousin Sir Francis Galton. He agreed with everything that Quetelet said except the average being the perfect being. Instead he created a ranking system and said it was better if one was above average. He used Darwin’s research on evolution and survival of the fittest to back up his claims. So now, with Quetelet’s influence, if one wasn’t average, they were wrong. And then with Galton’s influence, if one wasn’t above average, they too were wrong. It was a lose-lose situation for most of us, if not all of us.
            Sadly, Quetelet’s idea of the Average Man and Galton’s idea of rank somehow became part of our current system of education, hiring practices in the work place, and employee evaluations. Individuality, eventually didn’t matter anymore. The thought process became that people could only be understood by comparing them to a group. Today, we judge, whether we want to or not, everyone we meet against the average, including ourselves.
            Rose next speaks about Fredrick Winslow Taylor, who like Bill Gates, opted out of Harvard so he could go change the world. Taylor believed that he could eliminate inefficiency in our newly electrified factories during the Industrial Age, which was just as big as a deal as what Gates did in the Information Age. Taylor decided to make his mark through adopting the principles of averagarianism and standardization where the system would trump the individual. The worker, who was once celebrated as a creative craftsman, was demoted to the role of automation. Here the new role of the manager was born despite the fact that people initially thought it was crazy to hire someone to plan a job who couldn’t actually do the job.

            So, in closing of part 1 of this multipart blog, are you unknowingly comparing yourself and everyone you meet to the average? If you are, is there anything that you could do different or even better? And if you’re a manager of people, are you truly seeing your people? 

Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. To learn more about Dan please visit his website at: Thanks.