33: Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following with Dorie Clark

“It’s not about selling books or going on the lecture circuit or schmoozing at elite conferences. It’s about solving problems and making a difference in a way that creates value for yourself and others.

True thought leadership is a gift. It is a willingness to be brave, open up, and share yourself. It is a willingness to risk having your ideas shot down because you genuinely believe they can help others.”

—Dorie Clark, Stand Out

Today I’m thrilled to share an interview with my good friend and business author doppelgänger, Dorie Clark. I interviewed Dorie while writing Pivot on the big ideas from her book Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around ItWhen we’re not scrounging up interesting New York activities to try, we both love thinking about how to reinvent careers and the best way to develop and share ideas that make a difference in others’ lives.


Last call if you are interested in joining the Book Ninja Course! We are meeting every day from 3-4pm ET (with recordings if you can’t make it) on a range of topics: how to write a proposal, land a book deal, self-publish to smash success. I will also share a new 20-page super secret guide with all the templates I created for every step of the book writing process: proposal, outlining, researching, writing, editing and marketing. Use this link to get $28 off, which makes Book Ninja just $97. Or the course is free when you join Momentum, my private community for solopreneurs and side hustlers.

On the subject of finding and sharing your big ideas, Dorie created a 42-page Stand Out self-assessment workbook that she generously offered to share with the JB community. It has 139 questions you can ask yourself to hone your own breakthrough ideas and share them with the world — consider it a roadmap for connecting with your biggest idea and becoming a recognized expert.


Dorie Clark is a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business ReviewTIME, Entrepreneur, and the World Economic Forum blog. Recognized as a “branding expert” by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc. magazine, she is the author of Reinventing You (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), which has been translated into Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French, Polish, and Thai. Her most recent book, Stand Outwas named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine.


  • Why standing out is no longer an option; being average is an outmoded way of doing business in a global competitive community

  • Becoming an expert is a skill any of us can learn—Dorie shares the ingredients

  • The five principal strategies to stand out from the crowd

  • Why you don’t have to be a special person or a genius to come up with meaningful ideas

  • Defining thought leadership: not being famous for being famous (aka reality stars) and leadership—engaging with the public

  • Thought leadership within organizations as a form of career insurance

  • The essence of all this is making a difference in the lives of others

  • Test in a small pool first, then grow more organically

  • When you put in the work, clients and opportunities will come to you

  • The three step process to getting your ideas known in the marketplace

  • Start small with trusted advisors

  • Scaling ideas beyond yourself, your interests

  • “Don’t make art, just make something” —advice from Miranda Aisling

  • Most artists emerge later in life as part of an iterative process

  • Don’t be afraid to try many things to find out what your unique contribution is


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Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesAndroid or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my twice monthly behind-the-business newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I’m reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I’m geeking out on.