The Story Economy Blog

So This is What A Spark Feels Like (Exciting Announcement!)

I remember leaving an English class one afternoon, bounding down the concrete stairwell of Northern Kentucky University, and thinking: I am going to do big things. I am going to write things that matter. I have “the thing.” Not arrogance or naivet√© or the advantage of position and wealth (I didn’t have any of those things). But the thing. The spark. I believed that words changed lives, and I knew how to shape them in a way that made people care.

So, being an English major nerd, I went on to graduate school, where I taught first-year composition and had lofty discussions in seminar rooms. I thought I would make my mark in the literary journals. I would teach and be the straight-talking literary critic—the one who helped explain complicated theoretical concepts and applied them to life. I would have an address in the ivory tower, but really, I’d be with the people. That only problem with that plan was the students. They had sweet faces and I got a kick out of them. But they always wanted something. They needed too much help with, you know, writing. And I didn’t really know how to help them, except to say, “um, just write better.”

I stopped after I finished my Master’s.

So once I started writing for magazines, I thought: oh okay, this is it. Here is my chance to make the mark, because I don’t have to teach anyone anything. I guess I made a mark. A semi-colon at least. I wrote for most of the big women’s magazines, and I got to interview super brilliant people about things like the endocrine system, interval training, chemicals in beauty products, mindful meditation, hosta cultivation, and hundreds of other randomly interesting topics. I did good work, and I’m proud of it. But rarely did I feel the spark. The thing.

 Who Says The Spark Dies?

And now, I’m in that concrete stairwell again, starring into this vision of big things. But it’s not a vision for the future. It’s a vision of now. Because I feel the spark. And the big things I want to do—like writing what I really think and sharing it in both traditional and innovative ways, helping people find and understand the voice of their brand, and collaborating with fantastic people on quality projects—I’m already doing them. Right now. I just want to do them in an even bigger way.

So it’s about expanding my influence through my brand, and that’s why I’m hosting a week-long conference all about this topic. There’s a million other people out there like me: people who have the ideas and the vision and the motivation: we just need some help with the splash-making details.

Expand Your Influence: A Virtual Conference on Turning Big Ideas into Brand Extensions (March 19 ‚Äì 23) is an interview series all about brand extensions—larger projects like books, eBooks, videos, and TV shows that help you get your big idea out there into the world. It’s going to be energetic and insightful, and totally multidisciplinary (from sports psychology to fabric design!). Speakers range from designer and author Amy Butler to TV show host and designer Angelo Surmelis to self-publishing guru Peter Bowerman, and a whole lot more, like a literary agent, a business coach, and business owners who leveraged their brand/blog to write books and sell fantastic branded products. You’ll not only come away from this interview series inspired to create something amazing, you’ll also learn practical tips for marketing your brand extension.

How do you listen? Well, it couldn’t be easier, because it’s free. And it only requires signing up. You can listen live, completely free (calls are at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. EST each day). Register here. Share this link with anyone you’ve ever heard say they have a big idea.

So, I’m obviously not doing this because I heart technology (did you read my newsletter last week?). So, what’s the deal? First, I am a geek and I want to study some things, publicly: how the splash happens (what Malcolm Gladwell calls “the tipping point”), what remarkability has to do with it (what Seth Godin calls “the purple cow”), and why starting with “why” always matters (Simon Sinek). But it’s not just about great thinkers I admire. It’s about action. And learning from others’ actions. (I sort of want to take over the world, so there are a few things to learn.)

It’s also a chance to interview superbly cool and extremely brilliant people who are doing inspiring, revolutionary, and/or intriguing things with their brand extensions. Basically, I love the flow of a good conversation. I want to do backstrokes in it. I used to only get to interview cool people when I was writing an article for someone else. Now, I’m doing it for me—and definitely for you.

So sign up!

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