Personal disruption (n.), the act of using a practice employed by companies — wherein a product deemed inferior by the market leader (Amazon v. Borders, Uber v. Yellow Cab) eventually upends the industry — and applying it to yourself and your career.
In my upcoming book, Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, I explore the idea of personal disruption, providing seven steps for moving from stuck to unstuck up your personal learning curve. They includeplaying to your distinctive strengths, battling entitlement, giving failure its due, and being driven by discovery. While some of my recommendations will take a lifetime to master, here are 5 ways you can disrupt yourself before you finish your current bottle of Hint.
1. Think about the last compliment you received that you shrugged off
Not because you were being coy but because the ‘thing’ you were complimented on feels as natural as breathing. It may even be that you’ve heard this compliment so many times, you are sick of it! The tendency to deflect compliments around what you do reflexively well is understandable, but in deflecting, you devalue the very strengths that are your superpowers. If you want to do something truly remarkable in your life, you will play to your strengths.
2. Remember your biggest accomplishment to date
Almost always, this major achievement is a consequence of surmounting a huge, probably unexpected, even undeserved, obstacle: your upbringing, health challenges, financial circumstances, or relationship woes. Once you got over the “If only I had’, you allowed your obstacles to become a tool of creation.
3. Invite someone to lunch who is not exactly like you – they work in a different industry, are expert at something you are not, are of a different gender, ethnicity, race or age
While a closed network reinforces your sense of belonging, you hear the same ideas over and over again. An open network can be a bit painful because you will have to work harder to understand a person not like you, but you are more likely to have breakthrough ideas. Specifically, your ideas or your products, are more likely to be heard and shared (e.g. go viral).
4. Reflect on the last time you were scared and lonely
Now, give your self a high five. To do something astonishing will require that you play where no one else is playing. When you are scared to try something new, you’ll not only know that this endeavor matters to you, it probably means you are on the right path to disruption.
5. Send a text message to a colleague or friend and say thank you
When you express gratitude, you are acknowledging that you don’t know everything, and that the world isn’t all about you. Achieving you goals, almost always requires that you get buy-in from others around your brilliance. Recognize and appreciate the good work of others, and you’ll both be more likely to get what you hope for.
It’s so easy to think we will dare, dream, do and disrupt — some day. But serving up the life you’re thirsty for starts today, right now. Before you finish your 16 oz hint water.