Derek Loudermilk’s New Book ‘Superconductors’ Reveals How To Make Big Things Happen

Business coach and the man behind the ‘Art Of Adventure’ podcast, Derek Loudermilk says that in today’s disrupted workscape the game has been blown wide open – the big corporations don’t hold all of the cards anymore, so with the right idea and execution you can make real breakthroughs… if you’re a superconductor: ‘A superconductor is a type of person of connects people and ideas to make big things happen. A superconductor has the skills, knowledge, confidence and mindset to take advantage of all of the tools at their disposal to achieve more in their career than at any other point in history.’ So, RSNG learnt how from his new book…

Bring The Adventure Mindset To Business ‘Adventurers are the type of people who create something from nothing,’ says Loudermilk – if that’s not also a great definition of an entrepreneur then we don’t know what is. In a changing world where AI will replace many careers, he takes other lessons from the interviewees on his podcast: ‘By bringing the adventure mindset to your career you can set your own course rather than becoming obsolete and trying to reinvent yourself out of necessity.’

The other thing about adventurers is that they have to get comfortable about being uncomfortable. ‘When we are intentionally challenging ourselves and getting into new situations that make us a little uncomfortable, that opens the possibility of something incredibly exciting to come from that. What if your career could be a bold and exciting adventure?’

We all have the capacity to be creative and come up with a killer ‘big’ idea for a business

How To Become More Creative There’s a debate about whether artificial intelligence can be truly creative, but whatever the truth, a single human brain is unparalleled at being creative across many different areas. We all have the capacity to be creative and come up with a killer ‘big’ idea for a business, but we often end up limiting ourselves, says Loudermilk: ‘People with fixed mindsets believe that their creative abilities are fixed and unchangeable, so there’s no incentive to try new ways to be creative. With a growth mindset, you are free to try lots of things creatively.’

You can also leave ideas of being right or wrong at the door: ‘Be careful every time you hear yourself say “I’m right” or “You’re right”. You can instead say: “That’s a better way of doing things.”’ Once you sit down to think of an idea it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. Once of Loudermilk’s interviewees was author and consultant Mark Levy. ‘He told me that instead of trying to come up with all possible ideas, use a narrow window of the type of idea you are going for.’

Levy uses the example of wanting to make a million dollars and starting with how you can do that in one hour. ‘Who is that going to be for? What could you sell them, or make for them? Then okay if you can’t do a million dollars in an hour then what about a million dollars in a day? What would your million dollar day look like, or your million-dollar week, or month… I always try to get as concrete, and small and literal as possible,’ said Levy.

Tell A Good Story Loudermilk says that this is is becoming the age of the personal brand: ‘If you are doing things that are good for the world then you had better not be hiding. The same goes if you are trying to make something big happen in the world.’ Part of getting noticed is by telling your own story. ‘Seth Godin tells us to: “Make your story bigger and bigger until it’s important enough to believe.” Even if you think your life isn’t that interesting then you can make your story more powerful by adding in strong statements of what you believe to be true and important. Not everybody will like you but by making a stand you will be attracting your tribe who will follow you and help you build a successful career.’

Take A New Skill To World Class Level Most job roles only last for two years, which often means we learn new skills but don’t take them to the next level. But you can choose to take a skill that makes you valuable, and extend your mastery to beyond that of the competition, and possibly all the way to world class, says Loudermilk. The key to this is deliberate practise, according to author Anders Ericsson, who says that ability is important at the start of learning a new skill but taking it to the next level all comes down to training.

‘The same applies to you – the goal is to move a skill from conscious competence to unconscious competence… To continue your progress you will need a good reason to put in more effort, expert feedback on your current skill level, and an understanding of what world-class skills look like, as well as ways to practise and acquire better skills.’

We all need to be wary of the unconscious ‘script’ we’ve written for our lives

Don’t Wait For Permission To Dream Big Henry Ford was known as ‘Crazy Henry’ for always messing about with cars in his backyard. Loudermilk interviewed Linda Rottenbury, author of Crazy Is A Compliment, who told him: ‘If you’re not being called crazy then you’re not thinking big enough.’ She said that the biggest thing holding people back was in their own heads: they often needed permission to start dreaming. Loudermilk says you need to watch out for the unconscious ‘script’ that you’ve written for your own life, which may limit you, as can trying to live up to the expectations of others.

Then, when you’ve started to dream big, don’t always share the beginnings: ‘If you are working for a corporation, don’t ask permission right away to follow your ideas. Operate in stealth mode for a while until you have a solid proof of concept. You want to make it look easy for your superiors to get behind a project and look good,’ recommends Loudermilk.

Do Someone A Five-Minute Favour Building networks is crucial for success in our connected world. Social media has made everyone available to everyone, so you can decide who you want to connect with, and use digital micro-communities like Facebook groups to discover new contacts. But there’s an art to forming useful relationships with new connections, as Loudermilk explains. Loudermilk suggests doing someone a five-minute favour, as discussed in Adam Grant’s book Give And Take, and quotes Jason Treu: ‘Generosity is the fastest way to build trust with someone.’

‘Offering a favour could be connecting them with someone that could help them, or forwarding them an opportunity you’ve seen that you think matches their goals… When you give first, then people like you immediately, and that puts you in a place of power and influence. It works every single time.’

WHAT NEXT? Watch this Seth Godin TED Talk, which explains how leading a tribe is the key to spreading your idea, and winning.

Follow the writer @the_adventure_fella