We recently published an article in ExpertPreneur®Magazine titled Want to STAND OUT in the marketplace? First Priority Is Curiosity. The magazine provides useful advice, tools, templates, tips, and strategies to grow an “expert business”. Read it below or find the original directly in ExpertPreneur®Magazine here: http://bit.ly/1pKoLzf.
All entrepreneurs have passion and a vision to help people and change the world. However, truth be told, some entrepreneurs are better at it than others. So what is it that separates the good from the great? Looking at successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, and even Oprah, one thing they all have in common (and have credited) is a passion for CURIOSITY.
So what is it exactly about curiosity that gives you a leg up on the competition? It is simple, when you aren’t curious you judge, blame, shame, get stuck in a right/ wrong mindset and become closed to perspectives and possible opportunities. With the shift towards the flatter, more transparent, collaborative Information Era, there isn’t a client or company out there who is interested in any of those qualities. The good news is we are all born curious! The trick is just relearning what we already know.
Here are 4 simple ways you can incorporate curiosity immediately as Expertpreneurs to stand out in the marketplace:
1.CURIOSITY= LISTENING. We all believe we are great listeners – spoiler alert! We aren’t. When you aren’t curious, you aren’t present. And when you aren’t fully present you can’t listen. Don’t believe us? Try reading an email or checking off a to-do list while listening to a client and see how much you actually hear. Actively listening to your clients and their needs is essential to your success. After a decade of working with leaders we have learned that rarely ever do people feel listened to and it is consistently the one thing everyone wants. In our overscheduled and busy lives, the art of listening is lost. As we quickly move from one task to another it is not uncommon to hear what we want to hear rather than what is actually being said. Take the time to stop what you are doing, become present in the moment and get curious with the person speaking to you. Give the speaker your full attention so you can ABSORB what they are saying. As you listen, suspend judgment and remain open, be curious and see what you can learn.
2. CURIOSITY = ASKING CURIOUS QUESTIONS. When meeting with teams, clients, or organizations often there is a lot of talking at people rather than to them. You know what we are talking about. The simplest and fastest way to understand the needs of a team, client, or organization is to ask curious open questions (who, what, where, when, and how). As an expert in your field it can be easy to want to help and share your knowledge, which can sometimes come at an expense, telling others what to do or solving “problems” before truly understanding specifically what they are. This can lead to assumptions or even conflict. Being curious and asking curious open questions allows you to keep the focus on the needs of your client, team or organization. It is how you build trust, inspire, and create strong collaborative working relationships. It is also how you take ideas and concepts to the bleeding edge of innovation, the place we all want to be and where greatness is born.
*Bonus tip! If you find yourself stuck and not able to think of an open question ‘tell me more’ is a great way to keep the conversation open and curious to learn more.
3. CURIOSITY = UNDERSTANDING YOUR VALUES. Understanding your values is essential to success in all aspects of your life. This helps you align with your perfect clients, saves you from being everything to everyone, and most importantly this supports you being in your sweet spot doing the work you want in the way you want to do it. Values are often underrated or just plain ignored. However, so much of who we are and how we do what we do is connected to our values. Take the time to reflect on what your top 5 values are in your personal and professional life. It is important when identifying those values that you define them as well. Then look at how you are living those values currently in your life. How aligned are you? If you are not aligned, what do you need to change in order to become more aligned? How often have you found yourself saying this very thing to your clients and yet don’t take the time to do it for yourself? Our values are our compass and when left unidentified so is the path to our success.
4. CURIOSITY = NO MORE DRAMA. Conflict and drama can feel inevitable in the entrepreneurial world. However, people don’t understand just how much control they actually have when they feel their back up against the wall. Conflict begins when our values are tapped. When your values are ignored or disrespected your emotional triggers get pushed. Think about a value and the last time it was disrespected: how did you feel? When you are curious and present to actively listen, ask curious open questions to understand and are clear about your values, it makes navigating potential conflict in conversations or situations much easier. When you can remain calm and in control in conflict or drama you can push the boundaries of what is possible, taking concepts, ideas, thoughts or conversations to bleeding edge of innovation. That in and of itself will make you stand out in the marketplace.
You can find more tips and tools in The Power Of Curiosity: How To Have Real Conversations That Create Collaboration, Innovation and Understanding (Morgan James 2015) giving you the method and the skills to stay curious and connected in all conversations. Follow the Institute Of Curiosity @InstOfCuriosity
About the authors:
Kathy Taberner and Kirsten Taberner Siggins are the authors of The Power of Curiosity: How To Have Real Conversations That Create Collaboration, Innovation and Understanding (Morgan James 2015). Together they founded the Institute Of Curiosity, a coaching and training organization that helps individuals learn and apply the skills of curiosity to personal and professional relationships. www.instituteofcuriosity.com