Do What You Haven’t Done to Get What You Haven’t Got
My answer is underwhelming and disappointing when I’m asked how I built a global audience for Leadership Freak.
First I say, “I’m not sure.”
The truth is I did something I hadn’t done.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Unknown
How to get what you haven’t got:
#1. Do what you’ve never done.
The thing I hadn’t done was write and publish blog posts. Lots of them.
I committed to write a blog post five days a week for a year. I had no idea what that meant! I hadn’t written anything for public consumption, ever.
Ask, “What might I do that I’ve never done?”
#2. Worry about what’s in your control.
I had complete control over writing blog posts. I had a little influence on gaining readership through Twitter, Facebook, and inviting friends to read my posts.
I wrote nearly 400 blog posts before receiving my first speaking invitation.
I’m not disappointed that I wrote five days a week for a year and a half before I received my first invitation. Why? My goal – the thing within my control – was publishing blog posts.
#3. Give yourself to others.
I write for myself and give it away.
The length of Leadership Freak reflects my short attention span. 300 words is comfortable for me.
The layout of blog posts is the way I like it.
I use heading and quotes so readers can scan the page and decide if they’re interested. (I’m not trying to get you to stay on Leadership Freak a long time. I’m trying to bring value as quickly as possible.)
How might you give yourself to others?
#4. Act now.
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain
Anything that prevents you from starting today blocks tomorrow’s success.
How might leaders get what they’ve never got?
Thank you for your commitment to this blog and your desire to serve, Dan! You, and your blog, are a gift!
Thanks Ken! It’s a pleasure to serve.
How might leaders get what they’ve never got? To answer the question “seek and you will find”. What people have is a desire to do something and found a way that worked for them, the same goes for the ballplayer who has a dream to be an professional sports star, they find their way, some succeed some fail for whatever reason. Everyone needs to find their niche, after we find our niche we can blossom step by step, day by day etc.
Thanks Tim. The idea of finding our niche is powerful. Context matters. Our environment and the people around us impact our ability to have impact.
Very inspiring and asking me to do something I had not done before yet under my control. Taking action for yourself. Thank you muchly. Will follow thu. Again thanks. Peter
Thanks Peter. I just finished a meeting with two young leaders. It was during that meeting that I was reminded again that it’s easy to expect others to do something they haven’t done, but more difficult to expect the same of myself. 🙂
How might leaders get what they’ve never got? Be aware of what makes you special. Excellent. In what situations do you read and act effectively before others? Everyone has strengths. “Know thy self”. Dan must have recognized his insight to leadership and passion for learning and sharing as a reason to do something new. And here we are. Thanks, Dan.
Thanks Glenn. Your insight is profound. In order to bring our best we must know ourselves. The challenge is that we know ourselves when we try new things.
Another way to know ourselves is to acknowledge who we aren’t. We move closer to who we are when we embrace who we aren’t.
Great Post, so appropriate to the resets that COVID19 has invited. Embarking on a new path challenges our spirit, the comfort of the known — even if its negative — is strong .I like your encouragement to build the give muscle, and the start muscle. (usually we’re pointed to confidence or risk)
Thanks Ken. Wow, I’m glad you brought up the comfort of the known. They say the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.
You remind me that change can be uncomfortable. If I want what I’ve never got, I’ll need to step into some discomfort.
Very timely post for me! I’ve been doing some soul searching this past weekend and this is very inspiring. Thanks for your thoughts as always Dan!
I enjoyed your first paragraph.
“My answer is underwhelming and disappointing when I’m asked…”
We (people) seem to expect a dramatic and exciting answer when wanting to know how to get success.
We really want that magic pill.
We do not like the taste of the pill, to the point that many of us will not take the pill, when it is made up of sentences like “I had to do the work.”, “It takes a lot of practice”, “It took me 8 years”, or even your ingredient “I had to write nearly 400 blogs to get my first speaking arrangement.”
When I first subscribed to you, maybe 7 years ago, I used to teach leadership courses and wanted to learn more about the soft skills behind it.
I’d sent links to your blogs to managers in my classes that either asked a question or had an aha moment related to what you posted. Hopefully they all liked it and subscribed.
I’m not looking for any credit for any of your growth, your content did that, all I did was pass it along to someone who I thought may have wanted it. (I’m not a fan of LinkedIn as I seem to see more people passing around ideas without adding anything to it, as if the original ideas or quotes were theirs. I get it, I don’t know the story, I shouldn’t judge. lol).
It was your daily effort of putting leadership ideas into words that caught my eye, and continues to catch my eye.
5 years ago I changed roles in a merger to where I no longer teach leadership courses. I still browse every article I see in my email and sure, they don’t all apply directly to me, but your blog hits home runs more often than other blogs.
Thanks for your work. I hope you are completely booked to your comfortable capacity with speaking engagements!
if not, at over 500,000 subscribers, you may not have “influencer” pull yet, maybe you can turn that into something more. I think YouTube starts to pay at less subscribers than that and basis things on likes, comments, and views.
What about filming your blog (or something related to it) like a “watch me chat about this, or read it to you.” short video, that highlights the key parts of your daily entries, and links to the blog. People also love passing around videos. If you can start with a few thousand of us subscribing to you there, that may grow and then become your full time job as a virtual speaker – still 300 words at a time.
If this is something you haven’t looked at and may want to, (hopefully you can see the emails of who submit comments) send me a note. I’d be happy to share examples of the work of others or bounce ideas off each other.
Hey Nick. Thanks so much for jumping in today. And thank you for sharing Leadership Freak with others. You, and others like you, are the main reason this blog gets traction.
Writing something worth reading is one part of the bargain. BUT the other part is people who share it. They say word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Thanks again.
Your suggestions are well taken. One of these days I need to do something I haven’t done!! 🙂
Thank you for your offer to explore new channels. One of these days, I will be in touch. You rock!
Thank you, Dan, for today’s post (and for what you do). It’s inspiring to remember we all have dreams, and talents, and that getting started is always the most important step. i also appreciate the short format you use. It’s easier to write long, fluffy sentences but focusing on the key points allows us to zero in on what matters.
Thank you, Susan. Your kind words encourage me. I wish you well as you pursue your dreams in the new year.
As I’m doing something I’ve never done this past year, sometimes with great enthusiasm and sometimes just slogging through the next step all without much input from those that I serve, I needed this reminder. Yes, be concerned with what I can control and serve others. Your reminder was a succinct boost for me today. Thanks!
Thanks Jan. It’s easy to say, “do something you haven’t done.” But actually doing it is another matter entirely.
Keep up the good work. It seems like we often need a reminder to keep on keeping on.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Unknown. I like this statement. I’ve been one (for the last 20 years) who lives by taking “the road less traveled”. I look at this way, when you come to that fork in the road, the vast majority will take the easy road (say the right side) and all do the same thing, in the same way with the same results. What I found was when I take the left road (the one less traveled) I can carve a different and more effective solution to any challenge presented. I find that road more challenging, more fulfilling and fun and it feels so good when on the left road I pass in front of those on the right road and wave and smile.
Thanks Roger. Your comment reminds me that Victor Frankl had an opportunity to escape the Nazi prison camp and at the last minute decided to stay. He said the decision to stay and serve his fellow prisoners made him happy. And of course, the book Man’s Search for Meaning is one result of his decision.
The road less traveled is more difficult, at least in the beginning.
I love your heart Dan! You have impacted and inspired so many. The seeds of truth and wisdom you have sown so faithfully are bearing much fruit, far and wide!
Thanks Mark. You’re very kind. The Leadership Freak journey is a delightful surprise.
Dan – You shared this story when I interviewed you for my grad students summer of 2019. A simple, practical yet profound lesson. Keep telling, as we all need to be reminded of these “secrets” to success. I’m sharing with my son, who is a junior in college and facing so many choices about his future during confusing, trying times. Where to start? Begin with innovation — or in simple terms, something not yet tried. Where to focus? Concentrate on what you can do well every single day.
Thanks for stopping in today, R.C. It was a pleasure to be interviewed by you.
Do what you can do well every single day! (Nailed it)
Dan, is it too cheeky of me to express gratitude for you sharing your insights?
I’ll risk it. Thank you!
Thanks macisaac. Gratitude is energy. 🙂
Nice short article Dan.