3 ways to be original

I’ve had the über pleasure of connecting with a number of cool kittens (as in kick ass entrepreneur-ing ladies – not actual cats) recently and here’s a question that’s come up a few times:

I feel like everyone else’s already created all the cool stuff.  What can I possibly add?  Everywhere I look I see a mountain of already-done-by-others that makes me feel like I’m full of sameness and all my ideas are meh.  I’m feeling a gaping yuckness of self-doubt.  How can I be original?

Are you bored and stressed out by your internal sameness vortex and worried it’s growing?  You should be; left unchecked it definitely can.

Here’s 3 things you can do to call originality back to your trailblazing open arms:

1) Go on an info diet

Sayonara your wi-fi and those industry rags for even just a few days.  And seriously, I can’t emphasise this enough: Fuck what’s trending online.  Give your own ideas space to be born.  Re-acquaint yo’self with your own ideas and give them time to percolate without judgment or comparison (aka creativity’s kryptonite).  Soon you’ll find yourself brimming with originality.

2) Read widely outside your field

Innovative thinking feeds off a diet of difference and newness.  Make time to check out stuff outside your field, and when you do ask yo’self: What do I think about what I’m reading?  Do I agree or not? How could the ideas behind shoe design or the history of magic or that 70s natural remedies book cover or tonight’s current affairs or traditional wedding etiquette or that interesting report in New Scientist, be applied to what I do?

3) Slack off with intent

Lots of super innovative companies like 3M and Google rock a 20% policy where employees are only required to focus on their tasked jobs 80% of the time.  The rest of the time, they’re encouraged to work on whatever the hell they like.  And guess what?  Heaps of their most successful products where born in the 20%.  I’m talking gmail people!

Could you work on personal projects a couple of hours a day?  Or 1 day a week?  At the very least instigate a full hour lunch break – as in, no work allowed ever – as I’ve heard they do at 3M.

Get these 3 bad boys into play and you’re sure to tap into your own version of innovative radness and originality before you know it.

I’d love to hear from you.  What other practical strategies to you use when you want to pump up your creativity and originality?


Kate xo
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About Kate

Through her passion-fuelled coaching, consulting and writing, Dr Kate Byrne helps women coaches and consultants intentionally engineer success so they can shine neon bright in business. She is an advocate for being all in, charging what you’re really worth and premium pricing.

Connect with Kate now at Betty Means Business, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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  • F@&k what’s trending online?…yes, I love that!

    • Kate

      Hehe thanks Vero! xo

  • Yes, Yes, Yes
    I get my juice from my acting classes – awesome, thanks 🙂

    • Kate

      I love how different acting classes must be from your language teaching. What a great version of ‘reading widely outside your field’! xo

  • #1 and #3 are staples in my work week! #2 is one I’ve yet to explore…I said YET! “Betty,” you always get the synapses firing with new ideas :).

    • Kate

      You star Sabrina! I have no doubt you’re already rocking #1 + #3 with style, and now I can’t wait to hear how you go with #2! xo

  • Love this!!! In the coaching industry it is way too easy to feel like ‘its all been done!’
    Recently I picked up some of my favorite literature from university and BOOM my best idea
    Yet came out if my ‘play’ state. Original and entirely me! Soooo important to look outside your industry! Thanks darling for the reminder!

    • Kate

      That’s so cool Jessica – your ‘play state’ clearly rules! xo

  • Feeling the pressure {that I put on myself!} I have recently taken to #1 and #3 ~ I mean very recently, just in the last week. And I already feel the benefits of calmness, purpose and trusting what I do {becasue it’s what I want to do and what gives me joy}. L x

    • Kate

      This is great news Lesh! Even though it’s personally worked for me before more than once, I still can’t help but be a little surprised/impressed by how quickly switching gears in this way works. It’s crazy! xo

  • Working at home has really afforded me the luxury of being able to walk away from my main focus of work and get inspired to get down with finishing my first novel. At first I just wanted a break and thought I’d go read what I already had written then BAM inspiration tackled my ass! Now, thanks to trying to get a break from my “real” work I fell into an awesome project that I think will surpass my current work!

    I totally agree with all three points!

  • I like these tips! Especially the “fuck whats trending online” one. I am guilty of letting myself get overwhelmed with all the info out there and the idea of taking a break from reading stuff (particularly stuff related to my field) sounds delicious! Thanks for the inspiration and ideas – I am actually going to take your advice and I never take peoples advice 🙂

  • I’m about to start my own version of #1. I read waaaayyy to many non-fiction books: business, writing, health, parenting, self-help, meditation. You name it, I’m reading three books about it – at the same time. Yeesh.

    So, for the whole month of June, I’m going on a non-fiction fast. No books. No e-books. No manifestos, even. Nada. I’m reading only fiction and poetry. Right now, instead of feeling excited, I feel kind of scared. Like I’m going to miss something. And like I have to finish three books in the next three days. Totally healthy, I know.

    This post has me thinking I might ditch the newslettery goodness too. That may just push me over the edge… into the land of sublime creativity, I hope!

    • Kate

      Jessica! I’ve been thinking of you and wondering – how did you go with your non-fiction fast? I’d love to know. x

  • i love the 3M personal project idea…even though my work is my personal project – its good to be reminded to tap into other creative aspects that don’t get a chance to come out n play! there’s so much more in there to unlock if you give it space! thanks kate x