I’ve declared 2019 to be my year of innovation, and it certainly has been! Our teams have come up with new inventions, and I’ve just been recognized with the GMDC Champions of Change innovation award. I’ve even been a guest on podcasts covering innovation and entrepreneurship. I love the subject because I love being around questioners who challenge the status quo for the benefit of humanity.
Now I’d like to share some lessons learned.
Here’s my tried and true advice to creating extreme, original, game-changing innovation. It’s super simple, yet hard to do. Ready? All you need to do is change your habits, change your mind, and change your actions. Simple enough, right?
Let’s start with habits:
1. Be intentional.
Be clear about your vision for what would be ‘cool’ to you. This makes it original and makes it your vision. Detail it out and be as specific as possible. Then write it out, as if it’s already done. This must become a habit.
Here’s how I got intentional with my first invention, Fresh Cab, the first no-kill botanical-based rodent treatment to gain an EPA stamp for professional use.
I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could invent a way to reliably keep mice out of my tractors and trucks, made from farm ingredients we could grow, and that kept them beautifully fresh all winter long?” I asked myself this every day. I wrote it down almost every day. Within less than 10 years, I had a patent, a federal EPA registration, and a lot of happy farmers who wanted the same thing, and were willing to pay for it!
2. Expand your capacity to attract success.
Brain researchers tell us we’re only consciously operating 5% of the time. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, your unconscious needs to SEE your vision. If it can’t see it, your mind will mark it as ‘danger’ and block it; that’s how our brains work. Our brains job is to keep us safe. We must flex our visionary ability to manifest any kind of change.
I do this by grounding myself in the ‘vision beyond the vision.’ Imagining I am already living my vision; thinking what this new vision looks like, smells like and feels like.
Next, get into detail. Write it out as it’s happening in the present. Once you start, it becomes addictive. Listen to kids play, they do this without thinking. It sounds silly, but it helps you carry the vibe needed to see you through the day to day difficulties.
Here’s my vision behind the vision, it’s what allowed me to see past the invention to what would come next:
I am grateful to have the resources to buy organic food and take UBER Black whenever I travel. I am thankful to participate in charities with my team that expand our hearts and help our communities; with Dale Earnhardt Junior, a Mooresville, NC native and entrepreneur himself. I’m thankful to be a beacon on light for aspiring entrepreneurs so they don’t need to make the same painful mistakes I did. This is so rewarding to me!
Once I learned this important lesson, I chose to become what I wrote above to support my vision for building EarthKind.
3. Change your mind.
Changing your mind is really about detachment from all that gets in our way; primarily ‘the how.’ Even the Bible makes reference to the imperative of renewing the mind, because our direct reality is a reflection of what’s going on inside us.
Start by looking at what’s holding you back. Figure out how to overcome these obstacles. Get all the blocks out. There’s always something blocking us, stopping us.
For example, I started my 2008 business planning by asking, “What’s blocking us from getting into all the farm and home stores nationwide?” The answer was that we needed a national team in place that aligned with our vision, mission, goals, and had the ability to execute.
Next, start choosing what to believe in at any given moment. Take each limit and create a belief that overrides limitations.
For example, the belief that building this business is impossible without a bigger budget, experience in the industry, and reciprocal relationships. Instead believe, “I choose building this business because it is a great privilege. I choose being a reflection of my customers as the most powerful thing I can be each day, allowing success to unfold as I do my best each day and uncovering new ways to do more with less, innovating as needed to serve them. I choose to believe that I can do this.”
Do this daily. It’s super powerful. Catch the toxic words that have eroded your confidence, your faith and hope.
4. Decide who you need to become to make it happen.
Write it out.
Here’s what I wrote: I am lighthearted, fun-loving, joyful, kind, strong, confident, steady, and a good communicator. I listen and lead with my heart, I am generous with what I have been blessed with. I am wise beyond human capacity; I radiate positive energy and light. I am a super successful entrepreneur that will open hearts around the world.
You see, we get to choose which person we bring to the table. You don’t get what you do in life, you get what you are. Who are you choosing to be?
I’ve had to retire my identity a few times in life. I was in special education growing up. I lived in poverty, below the poverty level, for many years. Once I learned this, I chose to become what I wrote above to support my vision for building EarthKind.
How do you walk, talk, hold your body? What do you no longer tolerate? What people do you surround yourself with? What do you put into your body? It’s all your choice. By innovating yourself, you will naturally create innovation in other areas of your life.
5. Change your actions.
Create a MAP (massive action plan) for your future. My favorite process is adapted from what Tony Robbins teaches:
- Write down the results you want to achieve.
Ex: I want to hire a sales rep firm my farm buyers will respect and trust.
- Develop a sequence of priority actions.
Ex: I’m going to call 5 people who will lead me to this answer within two weeks.
- Create monthly, weekly and daily checklists.
Ex: List the stores I want to sell to; find out who the merchants are and when they review. Get an appointment to meet them. Asking “By when?” is one of the most important ways we can create action and accountability.
Brian Tracy, a top trainer and motivational leader tells people to eat their frog first thing in the morning. I live by this advice. First, do the hard things, the things you don’t want to do. Get them out of the way. Imagine, how many hours, weeks, or months you’ve put something off that could have been done in 5 minutes. Take the short-term pain, for long-term gain.
This will allow you to plan your time, work your plan on a timeline, and grow a business, a community or a life of meaning.