Lately I’ve had a lot of good ideas.
And not just ideas that I’m excited about, but ideas that I’m confident in. Ideas that I believe in those 24 or 48 hours later once the enthusiasm of a eureka moment has worn off.
The secret isn’t much of a secret at all. It’s something I’ve always known is valuable.
What’s the Common Thread
Think about a few things for a second and find the common threads:
What do all of these things have in common? Well, probably two things. First, you’ve probably gleaned some new was of thinking and valuable insights from them.
But, second, and most importantly, all of these things happen in listen-only mode.
It’s Not the Dialogue
For a long time I’ve known that talking to people at conferences or on the phone or a one-on-one at work helped spark new ideas. But what I’ve realized lately, circling back to books and podcasts and conferences, is that those ideas never come when I’m the one talking.
They always come when I’m listening.
And that’s what I’ve been doing more and more of lately. Calling up someone smart, asking lots of questions, and then just…listening.
So I have a new goal: talk to at least 2 people each week about something that’s relevant to my job. In the last month that’s included:
The more of these conversations I’ve had, the more I’ve almost become addicted to the insights they reveal. I wish I could spend all day listening to my friends and peers and colleagues talk about the things they care about.
Make some time to get out of your own head and don’t just wait for NSAA or MTS to listen to smart people. Dream up that perfect panel, and then call each of then on the phone. You’ll be surprised by how willing they are to chat. And I guarantee you won’t be let down by what you learn.
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