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Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

90 Minute Challenge

90 Minute Challenge

In a previous blog entry, I wrote about my “30 day challenge.” The purpose of that was to disconnect you from email. Well, today I have a new – yet shorter – challenge. It only takes 90 minutes.

I live near the ocean, and when I am home (which is not often), I like to walk the length of the beach every other day. Normally during this 5 mile walk I would have my BlackBerry and my iPod. Since taking the 30 day challenge, I have been leaving the phone at home and only bring along my music. The music is a nice distraction.

Today I decided to disconnect totally. I walked the 90 minutes without phone, email or music.

Instead, I focused my mental energies on an important question: How can I make my life – and my work – more significant? Check out my “quought of the day” for more background on this question.

For an hour and a half, I tried to only think about significance. At first, my mind wandered onto other topics. Although I don’t meditate, I am told that this meandering mind syndrome is common in those who do. Eventually my mind settled down and I started to get clarity on the topic at hand.

I asked myself, “What have I done, and what can I do, that will increase the significance of my work?”

For me, significance is about impacting lives. It is not about helping corporations and shareholders.

When framed this way, I realized that my most significant work was my “Goal-Free Living” book.

Unfortunately, the title of the book scared some people away. Instead of focusing on the RESULT, the title focuses on the process (or lack thereof). The book is really just about a counter-intuitive way to be more successful with less effort by applying creative thinking to everything you do.

The other issue with the book is that it scared away my corporate clients for three reasons: 1) companies love goals, 2) the book was more focused on the individual rather than the organization, and 3) it caused confusion as to what I really focus on. Given that corporate clients are the ones who pay my bills, this level of confusion hurt my business. When I went back to focusing my marketing materials (website, blog, books, videos, etc) on innovation, my business began to thrive. This will be my best year yet.

Sadly though, this refocus may be the reason for my restlessness.

When I came to the conclusion that “Goal-Free Living” was my most significant work (for individuals), I started to think about how I could leverage it without hurting my corporate work. I won’t bore you with the details (and I thought through many), but I did decide on one thing…

I am going to write another book. The working title is “Stephen Shapiro’s Little Book of BIG Success Ideas.” This will create a series started by my “Little Book of BIG Innovation Ideas.” 

There are a few key differences between the success book and my innovation book.

  1. The content will be focused primarily on the individual, yet will also be of value to organizations. I want to create something that can co-exist in the corporate and personal development world.
  2. There will probably be more, yet shorter tips.
  3. The electronic version will be free. Yup, no cost. And you can send it to all of your friends. This is in line with my new philosophy of giving content away for free.

I am excited about the possibilities that started to stir in my mind. And all of this in just 90 minutes.

Most people can find 90 minutes of quiet time.  Instead of listening to the radio during your commute, just listen to your thoughts.  Turn off the TV and turn on your brain.  Be creative. 

Will you take the 90 minute challenge?

Will you pass this along to your friends?

P.S. A reader sent me a link to a blog entry on his website where he discusses his quest to find what is most important.  I love the quote he starts with, “The most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing.”

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