Podcast Episode 44: How to Leverage Your Strengths to Generate Ideas

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Good ideas don’t just come from highly-paid thinkers. Moments of inspiration can happen when you learn how to open your mind and follow simple steps. 

In this episode we’ll discuss:  

  • How leveraging your strengths frees your unique thinking
  • The simple steps to get your ideas flowing 
  • Some of my favorite tools for ideation
  • The #1 tip to generate ideas

When you lean into your strengths and leverage what you have versus dont, you’ll tap into a growth mindset.

Mentioned on the show: 

Amplify Your Strengths Group Coaching Program

Follow @jillGriffinOfficial on Instagram daily inspiration. 

Visit JillGriffinCoaching.com for free content and strategies to refresh your career.

Read the Transcript
Hey friends, Welcome back to the podcast. 

Thanks for all the feedback on the Executive Presence podcast. I love that it resonated with so many of you. 

This week I want to talk about getting ideas, strategic thinking, and how to tap into your unique strengths in order to generate ideas. 

As we round towards the end of the calendar year, many of you are already thinking of next quarter, next year. What needs to get done. The goals. Where you want to focus. Beautiful. I love it. 

I want to offer you a way to generate ideas and break through some conventional thinking. 

When I worked in AgencyLand I often held titles that held the function of strategy, innovation, and content creation. Over the years colleagues, clients, peers would ask how I got to become an idea machine? 

Some of this is definitely based on my natural talents but I was successful in teaching others how to generate ideas too. 

I taught others how to hone their ideation skills by leveraging their own unique strengths and by creating a process for generating ideas. 

When you lean into your strengths and leverage what you have versus dont, you’ll tap into a growth mindset. 

Here’s what I mean. 

If you are known for being adaptable you want to make sure you have worked to empty out your previous thoughts so that you are a clean vessel to be in the moment and adapt to new information. You want to sense and receive, and adapt new ideas and concepts in the room.  

If you come from a strength of pure focus, then knowing the destination of where you want to go, and getting clear in what you are ideating, and solving for will bring out your best talents. 

If you find that you are the maximizer you’ll be best partnering with others and finding ways to hold them in their highest excellence and turn good to great. 

If you are more of a futuristic thinker you may see the challenges today that give root towards tomorrow’s ideas. You inspire and bring hope to others. Stay in that mindset. 

If you are strong on the empathy front, you’ll need to use your almost 6th sense to aid others in naming and communicating what they see, think and feel. You’ll use your strength to build connections between ideas and teams.  

If you are super analytical then you’ll tend to make sense of the world by studying it. You study success. And by doing so you help others understand what excellence is. What they are striving for. Bring that into your creative thinking and ideation. 

You can easily google for a list of strengths and see what you align to. Or you can take the Gallup CliftonStrengths Assessment and see what you uncover. 

The point is you always want to amplify your strengths. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. They are going to bring their magic, you’ll bring yours. It’s what makes you incredibly valuable and unique to a team. 

Now I want to dig into some of the tools I’ve used to generate ideas. 

The best way to come up with ideas is by absorbing lots of inspiring examples. Get out of your normal routine. Schedule a break in your work day and take a walk. Not to listen to a podcast, but to be. To be and think. If you have the time and the access, go to a museum, art gallery, or even the local library. Julia Cameron, Author of The Artist’s Way, calls these sessions Artist Dates. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic”– think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.

The second step for getting the juices flowing is to engage in a conversation refresh. This is anywhere from extending outside of your normal circle, to reaching out to someone on social media, finalizing joining that meet up group, or setting up a connection and networking date. 3 questions, 2 people, 1 hour at a time. This construct is enormously helpful when you are wanting to socialize in a new way but perhaps you feel stuck or frozen and you need a jolt of fresh thinking. Watch a movie or play a game with a child or elder. I attend thought leadership conferences like the 99U conference, PSFK, the Feel Good Festival, Health 2.0, Food 2.0 all things that interested me but had nothing to do with my day job. I would then think about the concepts or solutions I learned and thought about how I would apply them to my current responsibilities. Sometimes it was out there. Other times it was pure genius. The reality is that when we stay with the same people, platforms, and systems we can get in a rut. New people dont know your ways of thinking or being so you will have to rethink your inner and outer monologues. This offers the possibility of a new perspective.

Read. Books. Get lost in a bookstore. Wander the isles. Explore. Throughout the pandemic I began to read history books written from the female perspective. Sometimes it was a female author, other times it was the account of the wife or female partner in history. This provided a new perspective that I would not have stumbled upon unless I sought it out. 

Digging into tools and websites that lead to new patterns or concepts. Websites like Answer the public, urban dictionary,  one look, or books like Sticky Wisdom or TinkerToys all have provided a pivot and they are at your fingertips. 

Structured exercises. Setting a timer and coming up with 20 ideas on a specific topic or challenge an exercise that gets better over time. In the beginning it may be slow but over time you’ll blow through the writing and the ideas will flow. Some may be terrible but this isn’t about editing. It’s flow and then finding the gems. Doing this exercise with a partner or a few teammates is a great way to collaborate and cross pollinate ideas.

And the number 1 tip for generating ideas is mediation. Getting quiet, finding time to quiet your mind. It may seem counterintuitive but write down a question or a solution you are solving, then meditate for  5-10 minutes, and when you come out of the meditation, do a free-write. Meaning, you may start with writing “I don’t know the answer” then ask yourself what you would do if you have the answer? What would you do differently if you had the answer? How would you act or be? 

Lastly, remember The quote genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration by Thomas Edison? Once you have the idea, the heavy lifting comes next. Dedication focus, accountability, and perseverance in making ideas happen.Deploying the action method, Which is a simple framework for outline the steps, getting clear on the hot items as well as the backburner items, collaborating and discussing with others, listing the key milestones and knowing when you are going to “ship” as Seth Godin would say is how to make your ideas happen. You need a bias to action. 

Try it my friends. You’ll be surprised at what happens over time. Yes these tips require a bit of time and energy but that’s the formula to generating ideas. You need to give your brain time and space, and maybe even some boredom to work it’s magic. 

Alright friends, Let me know what you uncover by implementing these tips. 

Before I wrap, I wanted to let you know that I am launching a career strengths group coaching program that will help you leverage your strengths, get clear on your skills and values, plus help you create your career narrative – which is essential especially if you are interviewing for a new job or making a career change.

I’ll put the link to get on the list for more information in the show notes. 

Have a great week and I will see you next time.