Dorie Clark: Long-term thinking in a short-term world

There are two kinds of reinvention - one we plan for, and one thrust upon us. Dorie Clark, branding expert and communication coach, shares insights on the power and importance of reinvention - particularly in this post-pandemic world.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer

Dorie Clark reminds us that we have so many opportunities to work on our personal brand in this virtual environment.

Dorie Clark has been named one of the Top 50 business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50, and was recognized as the #1 Communication Coach in the world by the Marshall Goldsmith Leading Global Coaches Awards. Clark, a consultant and keynote speaker, teaches executive education at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School.

Recognized as a branding expert by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc. magazine, she is the author of Entrepreneurial You (Harvard Business Review Press,), Reinventing You, and Stand Outwhich was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine and one of the Top 10 Business Books of the Year by Forbes. It was also a Washington Post bestseller. Clark, whom the New York Times described as an "expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives," is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review. She consults and speaks for a diverse range of clients, including Google, the World Bank, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Yale University.

In 2006, Clark launched a marketing strategy consulting business, and eventually started writing, speaking professionally, and teaching for business schools. Clark is passionate about helping others take control of their professional lives and make an impact on the world. She has written three books – Reinventing YouStand Outand Entrepreneurial You – on how to live a more impactful life.

Clark's upcoming new book due in September 2021 is titled 'The Long Game: How to be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World'. In her book, Clark argues that long-term thinking is about "doing small things over time to achieve our goals—and being willing to keep at them, even when they seem pointless, boring, or hard. Everyone is allotted the same 24 hours—but with the right strategies, you can leverage those hours in more efficient and powerful ways than you ever imagined. It's never an overnight process, but the long-term payoff is immense: to finally break out of the frenetic day-to-day routine and transform your life and your career."

To learn more about how individuals can play the long game and achieve success, Ray Wang, CEO and founder of a Silicon Valley-based advisory firm Constellation Research, and I invited Dorie Clark to our weekly show DisrupTV. Here are the key takeaways from our conversation with Clark.

Reinvention is a table with multiple legs 

Clark reminds us that there are two kinds of reinvention - one we plan for, and the other that is thrust upon us. Clark said that during the pandemic, reinvention was thrust upon many of us. The urgency for reinvention has increased during the pandemic. Clark share examples of how she had to reinvent her work since the pandemic. The importance of having multiple legs on your table is key to staying relevant. Multiple legs for our careers is to proactively cultivate side gigs which can lead to future incremental revenue streams. The additional experiences and resiliency that can be found and discovered by developing multiple skill sets can be very valuable during uncertain times. 

Personal branding requires long-term thinking and doing 

Clark reminds us that we have so many opportunities to work on our personal brand in this virtual environment. We have to be more thoughtful and deliberate about expressing who we are and what we can do to add value. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for people to discover us. We have to be purposeful and precise about what we want to communicate, what message we want to send, and is our message being heard and understood. This is not about bragging about ourselves, but rather being helpful and accessible. Explicit personal branding is not about telling people how awesome you are or telling people how to exactly think about us. It matters a lot more when people find you interesting and relevant. We have to be internally clear and then take the right steps to ensure our messages are understood and welcomed. Clark identified a number of examples on how people can explicitly develop a personal branding strategy that is honest, authentic and relatable. 

Expand your definition of success

Clark talked about identifying and mitigating career risks by expanding your definition of success. Clark shared her personal story of being turned down for doctorate programs from several universities. Even though this was a setback for Clark, she expanded her definition of success and today she is a world renowned thinker and business strategist. If the door is closed, we can go through the window. 

Path to relevance: content creation, social proof and networking

Clark talked about three steps of becoming a recognized expert in your field into three steps: 1. Content creation. 2. Garnering social proof to build credibility 3. Building and scaling your network so people can amplify and stress test your ideas. Expanding networks has suffered for some during the pandemic. In professional lives, meeting new people and nurturing existing connections is key to expanding your personal brand and digital footprint. Clark advises us to lean into institutional affiliations to grow our network. For more established professionals, she advises organizing regular and more intimate get togethers for more casual and organic collaboration opportunities.

Clark reminds us that constant comparisons can distract us from truly understanding the definition of success. What does success mean for us? How can we attain success? How do we identify the right path? Is there a more thoughtful process to achieve success? In her new book, Clark defines a strategy for long-term thinking and all of these important questions. I encourage you to watch our interview with Dorie Clark. Throughout our conversation, Clark shares incredible insights and many personal lessons throughout her life and career and further exemplify the value and importance of long-term thinking. I also encourage you to follow Clark on Twitter and read her brilliant articles on reinvention, entrepreneurship, strategy and long-term thinking. 

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