Today I want to share with you a great discovery I made that led to me to writing my first book which was so successful that I built a whole coaching practice based on it!
And yet, I almost missed the idea!
Can you believe that?
I almost missed it!
And I don’t want you to miss a gem of a idea that may be hiding just out of sight.
The idea came to me in a session with a mentor of mine. We were talking about the ‘hidden gems’ in your past experience that can bring you incredible success.
Brilliant Business and Book Ideas
I’ll share this story with you to show you how you could be overlooking hidden gems in your life and business that could form the most brilliant idea for your business or you that book you want to write – that’s why they’re ‘gems’ – they’re brilliant, they’re priceless!
One day my mentor said: “Tell me your past business story.” So, I was telling her about my history in the dance industry, the dance studios I’d had, and my whole world of experience there, not only as a teacher and choreographer but also performing then creating dance programs, running my own studio, and employing teachers.
This whole career spanned 20 years and now I still work in this fantastic industry of performing arts – one to one with dance teachers, studio owners, and dance movement educators, and I love that work, that one to one business coaching work.
My mentor had been following me online she’d heard my podcasts, seen my books, and heard me talking about business coaching, marketing, writing and books but she wasn’t really aware of this whole other side to me. And she said, “How do I not know this? About you running a dance studio business? “Why? Why don’t you talk about this?
The Skills You’ve Learned
And I said to her, “Well, I didn’t think people would think it was relevant to marketing and business coaching, I mean it’s not really relevant is it?” And that was how I saw it – that it wasn’t really all that relevant so I downplayed it in the business landscape at large.
But the thing was that my mentor saw all these other things. She saw things like all the skills you learn from running any business whether it’s a dance studio, a hairdresser, an accounting firm, whatever it is – from running a business you learn just so many, many things.
She saw that I’d:
- Built a business that was successful from the ground up
- Done all the marketing on and offline
- Had all these sales conversations
- Had classes that were filled to capacity (and that’s hard to do)
- Worked on customer service systems so that we had no outstanding class payments and very high customer satisfaction
- Developed a totally unique and creative dance and drama program
- Set up all the business systems, the legals, the accounting
- Recruited, trained and managed teaches
- Sourced and hired venues
- Built a team
When I got off the phone what struck me and what concerned me was how many of us are downplaying key parts of our story and missing out on potential success.
Because often we’re seeing it one silo rather than seeing all the other aspects.
I thought that dance studios were just not interesting to the entrepreneurial landscape outside of that industry. That it wasn’t relevant. But that was a story I had made up in my head. My mentor saw something completely different.
So let’s dive in because I want to get to the bottom of this because you might be doing this, and it could be hiding some ideas and skills that you could be using.
The fact is there is value, knowledge, experience, challenges, dos and don’ts, and everything from your past experience that can be used in other areas, in other industries. They are transferable skills Pay particular attention if you are doing this because you have repositioned yourself, (which is what I did and what I have been doing) be really aware of this, really aware of it.
Don’t Discount What You’ve Done
Whatever you do, don’t discount all the stuff you’ve done in your life, your business your work, your relationships, your parenting, your creative pursuits – this is where your next brilliant book idea probably sits waiting to be unearthed.
So what do we do about this?
This exercise is a simple but super revealing way to start to see and to unearth those hidden gems. Just like when miners go underground and shine lights on the rock and, often in hidden away places they find the most amazing treasures that they can then unearth, craft and polish and bring to people who are just waiting for them.
You can use these hidden gems if you want an idea for your next book or your next business offering.
Mine Your Knowledge And Skills
So, this is really easy, it takes a while so you don’t have to do it all at once. It might take you a week – but do it, you must do it to get really get the benefit out of it.
Step 1: Prospecting
- a) Write down all the jobs you’ve had (yes the ones when you were a student as well)
- b) The businesses you’ve run – successful ones and the not-so-successful ones and c) The big moments of change in your life too.
These are the big moments, when you went through something big either something excellent or something challenging, whatever you classify as big. It might be adopting a child, going through a strung out divorce, having cancer, changing careers, building your own home or living overseas for 10 years in somewhere that was really testing your comfort zone — they’re big moments, life-changing experiences.
Don’t include studying because studying is great but it’s a bit more theoretical, and education, and informational. What we’re looking for here is really experiential, really in-there stuff, right in the experience.
List a maximum of 10 jobs and 10 life experiences.
Now, look at your jobs, look at your businesses, and look at your big moments.
Remember these are things that are not what you’re doing now. This is looking into your past.
So that’s number one. Write all those down. If you run out of space then just print out more copies of those pages and fill them in by hand.
Step 2: Drilling Down
Now put each of those individual things you’ve listed – one each at the top of a blank page – so if you are listing a job have that on one page, a business that you ran on another page, each life changing moment on a separate page and so on.
Now list all the things that you did and learned while you were doing that job, running that business or going through that life changing time. Don’t go into too much detail stage just the main things that come to your mind. Even if some of those things seem unimportant just list them for now. You won’t use everything. This is a brain dump.
The actual day-to-day things that you were doing on a practical level. but without going into detail about how you did those things at this stage.
So if you’re in a job it might be making customer calls, if it’s running a business it might be writing a blog post it it’s a life changing event it might be going for treatment or taking your child for her first day at school.
Step 3 Mining Your Gems
Then the third thing you want to do is look at those practical things in more detail.
Take each one and write a few dot points about it.
Writing a blog post might include:
- Thinking of a topic
- Creating a title
- Planning what to write
- Writing the post
- Editing the post
- Uploading the post to your website or blog
You can see how the list of all your skills is increasing rapidly.
Don’t Downplay Your Skills
What had happened to me was I had downplayed dozens of skills because I hadn’t seen how they crossed over into other industries. In the dance industry I’d been talking about these experiences and teaching these skills, which is great and I’ve had great success there, but as my mentor said, it was time to highlight all that, showcase it, bring it forward and not necessarily be talking just about dance but shifting the angle onto the business skills and saying, “These are all the things that I did, and I learned and they worked and these ones didn’t work. With these skills and experiences I can help people with across all different service based bricks and mortar and online industries.”
So you can see from this that whatever you’ve done career and business-wise and in your life, there are lots of skills in there that you can use with whoever you are working with or you can use them to form the basis of your next book. In fact, you could take just any one single item off those lists and write a whole book about it or create a new online program about it.
Take for example: Sales conversations – everyone wants more customers and clients – how do you design and carry out successful sales conversations? People want to know. They want to know in your industry and in every other industry.
Learning From The Big Moments
If have a big moment (that moment could go on for years) like a divorce or cancer or a traumatic event you could think about all the things that happened on a practical level during that time. Diagnosis or going through treatment, or health plans etc And what about all of those other things too that you have to bring from within? Like:
- Learning to be resilient
- Learning about being intuitive
- Knowing how your body works
- Learning about self care
- Learning resilient mind sets
- Knowing how to negotiate with people
- Navigating the complicated health system
- How to be assertive and say what you want
All these other skills, these other resources that you drew on, that came forward, how can they then be used for an idea that you can use in your business or could you write a book about them or just one of them?
Don’t let them stay in that single silo in your past experience and only think that they relate to one group of people or one area..
A Profound Discovery
This discovery was really profound for me.
So, if you think that there’s stuff you’ve either left in the past or you say to yourself: “Oh no, that was my old job when I was an accountant, I don’t do that anymore.” or “Oh no, that was ten years ago when I had that experience overseas, no that’s not relevant now.”
Instead, go through, do the exercises and identify all the things you did and learned and who you became, and what you now know as a result, and then how you can make that or part of into something of value in your business that you can share with your clients.
So, there you go, how to discover the hidden gems within your past experience that can fire you up with brilliant ideas for you business or your book.
Sit with that, have a think about it, and write those things down because there are gems, absolute gems hidden away in there that need to be unearthed, dug up and brought out for us to see and to benefit from – bring them out and polish them up and bring them forward.