How You Can Stand Out As A Breakthrough Leader

May 10th, 2015 by LaRae Quy

A mentally tough leader is someone who creates breakthroughs in both business and life.

In her new book, Stand Out, Author Dorie Clark argues that breakthrough leaders not only need mental toughness, but they also need to stand out from the crowd to get their voice heard so they can make their unique contribution to the world.

Here is what is interesting about what Clark’s says in her book—anyone can have a big idea. Big ideas are not the intellectual property of Silicon Valley or big business. She encourages entrepreneurs to claim uncharted territory around those ideas that create value and meaning for them.

We all have a contribution to make, according to Clark. We all have something to say to the world.

Clark interviewed hundreds of successful people to glean wisdom from their experiences and she shares their stories with you. This is a quick and easy read—in a very good way. She doesn’t bog the reader down with minute details of the stories she shares; instead, she skims the essence of their wisdom and passes it down to the reader.

That is my kind of book!

Stand Out offers succinct and practical tips for breakthrough leaders who are struggling with how to develop their best ideas and ensure they spread. Here are 5 of my favorites:

Tip #1 Find Your Breakthrough Idea

Breakthrough leaders are always asking questions that others have not, and questioning assumptions that others may take for granted. Is there a better way?

“You do not succeed by following the rules and thinking exactly like everyone else.”—Dorie Clark

Start by pinpointing areas in which you are interested and qualified to talk about. What have you been pursuing since childhood? Sometimes you have to experiment with lots of ideas to see which one sticks.

You may not always know in advance what will work, so Clark advises that you start out with a variety and in the process learn which one people care about.

Tip #2 Develop Your Expert Niche

Clark suggests building a narrow base of knowledge in a narrow subject in order to get noticed and move past the competition. It may seem a career-limiting at first, but by doing this you can quickly become known as the expert in that field.

The goal is to move from being an expert, to the expert.

The secret to expanding your niche is to think through related areas where you can add value. Leverage your core knowledge into connections and collaborations that make sense.

Tip #3 Create A Framework

When you create a framework around your big idea, you enable others to understand how it applies to their life.

To make a mark in your field, spell out the fundamental principles behind your idea. By codifying a system, you create a set of touchstones that people can return to for every new situation they face.

A framework automatically creates a delivery system for your big idea to spread.

Tip #4 Build A Network

Spread the word about your big idea by building a strategic network. Blogging is a great way to get your idea out into the world.

Podcasts and interviews are other ways to develop relationships with other breakthrough leaders in the community. Create a hit list of people you want to get to know in your field and then interview them.

Face-to-face is always more effective, and with modern technology such as Skype and Google+ hangouts, it’s accessible to everyone.

Write a book—it’s the biggest business card in the world!

I love this piece of advice offered by Clark: “Challenge yourself to take one piece of content from your big idea and distribute it to five or even ten different channels. Watch how it scales so you can learn where your audience is located and how they are finding you.”

Tip #5 Make The Effort

“Work hard and never give up. No one ever drowned in a pool of sweat.”—LaRae Quy

Clark reminds us that top performers exponentially outwork everyone else. Write articles to get noticed, make YouTube videos, answer emails personally, read every book and article written by the person whom you are interviewing. Be willing to make the sacrifices you need to make in order to get to the top.

Finally, Clark encourages you to find ways to make your big idea sustainable. She warns that you will need space to think and reflect and make new connections.

Don’t be the person who never speaks up or shares their idea with the world.

What is holding you back?

© 2015 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.

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Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

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One Response to “How You Can Stand Out As A Breakthrough Leader”

  1. karin hurt says:

    This sounds great. What I wrestle most with in this arena is how much to narrow my brand. “being THE expert.” i could do that, and a might, but I haven’t yet decided.

    For example, I’m doing a big project that is somewhat off brand for a large call center company. We’re building their social media strategy and marketing plan. It involves International travel to dig deep. We’re making an impact and I’m having a blast. I’m learning a ton.

    I considered saying, “well actually that’s not exactly what I do… I do strategy and leadership…” I think I would have missed out.

    With that said, I entirely get her point and still am wrestling how I want to position my brand in the future. I’d be very interested to here ofther folks thoughts in this arena.

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