Take Five Minutes - Accelerate your success by reading leadership articles
Feel fired up and excited again: stimulate your thinking and implement innovative ideas in your business or workplace by making a habit of reading high quality thought leadership.
What is "Take Five Minutes"?
In this series I want to encourage you to take just five minutes out of your busy day to set yourself up for bigger, better success.
People wonder how they can make their dreams come true: very often, it's a matter of working out a way of making a small dent in a big ambition, putting the right systems in place, and making sure that it's easy for these systems to work.
I will share my own systems, so that you can test them and see whether they work for you.
If you want to share a five-minute system with my readers or indeed give me feedback on how this is working for you, tweet me @SusanHayes_
Remember, it only takes five minutes, right now, to change the course of history - your history at least!
Read a thought leadership piece about your industry to give you an edge
Create this great habit: set aside time regularly to find out who are the luminaries in your field, and which magazines and reports offer worthwhile analysis. It's something I love to do, and as a result I'm never at a loss for reading material!
Find out more about these questions: what are people struggling with, worried about, or excited about at the moment? What are the big changes that are coming to disrupt your industry? What are the trends? Absorbing this information is a great way of "keeping your ear to the ground". It's one of the best habits you can adopt in order to stimulate your thinking and to implement innovative ideas in your business.
Find at least one such piece (an article, a interview, an video...) each week, and spend at least five minutes really thinking about and digesting what it says.
Over several weeks of doing this, a bigger picture will emerge, you will see connections you didn't see before.
Reading thought leadership pieces is an amazing way:
- to challenge your thinking and keep your ideas relevant,
- to see big changes coming: so many tales of woe in business have to do with companies clinging to business as usual, when everything around them was changing. Keep agile and alert, and learn how to harness change and benefit from it, instead of fearing it.
- to bring fresh ideas to your business or workplace. Thought leadership and big picture thinking have an incredible way of firing you up, sparking new ideas. Embrace this and be excited to test new things in your career.
- to be seen as a thought leader yourself, as a knowledgeable source. You will earn the reputation of being highly knowledgeable in your field. This will lead to more opportunities.
"How do I know a piece is solid thought leadership, and not just baloney?"
Especially if you are not doing this yet, it's true that in the beginning it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. However, it's a case of "you'll know it when you see it", and the more you practice this, the better you will be at spotting innovative thinking in your field. This is a long-term strategy, one that pays handsome dividends, and you will become sharper over time.
"I won't understand what the pundits say... I'm not sure my little head can cope!"
The mark of a good, competent thought leader is that they don't talk down to their audience. If an author uses too much jargon, needlessly, don't waste your time on them. Truly interesting, truly important ideas don't need to be dressed up in a lot of fancy words.
That said, sometimes it's necessary to use very specific terms to convey your thought accurately - at HayesCulleton group, we specialise in the financial markets, entrepreneurship and economics, and at least some of the jargon is absolutely indispensable, because finance is a technical field. Over time, you will learn all the jargon there is to learn and the more you read, the faster it will happen.
"I'm at capacity just running my business and keeping an eye on the competition, honestly... How will I find time for this?"
Keeping yourself upskilled and up-to-date is an immense source of enjoyment and engagement in your work. A very time-efficient way of doing so is listening to inspiring podcasts with experienced business figures when in the car or on public transport.
You will feel less like a hamster in a wheel, and you will start to see opportunities you didn't see before. By gaining perspective, you will be inspired to try new ideas that might transform your business - and help you reach the next stage, with clarity.
Start by taking advantage of pockets of time during your day. The ideas you discover might help you become more effective and will actually free up time in the long run.
Mark Cuban, best known as an investor on Shark Tank, explains it well in his book How to Win at the Sport of Business:
"I read every book and magazine I could. One good idea would lead to a customer or a solution, and those magazines and books paid for themselves many times over. Some of the ideas I read were good, some not. In doing all the reading I learned a valuable lesson. Most people won't put in the time to get a knowledge advantage. Everything I read was public. Anyone could buy the same books and magazines. The same information was available to anyone who wanted it. Turns out most people didn't want it."
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