Paul Arden of the iconic design firm Saatchi and Saatchi tells us not to covet our ideas, but to give away everything we know and more will come back to us. Marketing guru, Seth Godin famously said, “What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship.”
Translated, you’ve got to give to stay on top of your career A-game. Seth teaches that if you keep all your ideas to yourself you risk becoming a lame product of your lizard brain. Your lizard brain, or primitive brain, is a sort of self-coping mechanism that keeps you in your comfort zone, slowing you down mentally and physically when presented with the opportunity (or risk) for change, revelation or expression of ideas.
The ego has a funny way of rearing its reptilian head in this way and you can expect a halt to creativity if you let it swivel too often and too long. Way back when, the mind was conditioned to run in operation survival mode. But now, that just is not necessary. We aren’t running from giant mastodon anymore, thankfully. Run in that mode for too long and you’ll end up mentally oppressed.
So what are you afraid of? That you’ll share your creative ideas and have nothing left for yourself? That your colleague will run off into the sunset with your kajillion-dollar idea? We must learn to unload, even of our best ideas, our best things.
And we needn’t worry– we must become accustomed to giving and feeling good about it. We must risk “failure” because your failure is someone else’s success and your failure may also turn into your success too. If you refuse to give or share, you are ultimately risking failure.
When I finally realized it was about branding my talent, aka: my version/my interpretation/my take on an idea, everything I shared thereafter felt like meaningful contributions. And you know what? Now I have a group of colleagues that I have become friends with who all conjure up ideas that are great for one another.
So, in the spirit of giving, here is what I’ve learned along the way…
How to Give and Enjoy Career Success Simultaneously
- Leverage content on social media. People will repost your good ideas. People will copy you. This will expose you/your talent as a brand. It will almost always bring you new clients whether you expect it or not. This leveraging is a good thing.
- Give away ideas, literally and see where it takes you/how your career evolves. Your biggest talent may be that you are constantly saturated with new ideas. But, will you be able to act on all of your ideas? Will you actually develop a prototype for that self-cleaning toothbrush you imagined-up and bring it to the marketplace? Maybe, maybe not. But, guess what they call you when you start giving away all of these ideas? A consultant. And, you know what, people pay top-dollar for consultants that generate brilliant ideas. (Insert lightbulb emoji here.)
- Give away a product without asking for anything in return. The creator of the popular LA company Concrete Geometric will often post on Instagram that she’s left one of her concrete art pieces here or there around town for “finders-keepers” fun. Poet, writer and illustrator, Dallas Clayton loves to do the same.
More Meaningful Benefits of Giving Throughout Your Career
- You stay receptive to new information and creativity by freeing up your ideas and expert advice.
- Your peers will be thankful for your sharing or giving of ideas or knowledge and in turn think of you and your passions when they have ideas to give.
- You become so well-respected in your field by giving away ideas that eventually you can give philanthropically.
Now, go out and use these tips to brand your talent and give it in a way that only you can!
*This article is dedicated to my friend Emily Hara aka: grass-maven, medicinal chef, photographer and apothecary sales genius who is always giving away and sharing her ideas in the wellness, arts and culture community. Look her up and you’ll learn a thing or two about how to give.
Christine Dionese, cofounder of flavor ID is an integrative health and food therapy specialist & wellness, lifestyle and food journalist. Christine has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. She is available for both private and professional consultations. Please contact her here.