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The Spotlight template

Great Notions do not pop up from nowhere.

Necessity is the mother of invention, so it is worth thinking about what keeps you up at night to help us frame a relevant Great Notion. The other ingredient has to come from you. A truly great notion will resonate with your inner values and higher purpose.

To help us help you, we want you to follow a thought experiment to start the process of revealing your inner brilliance. We want to help you peel back the memories to reveal your expertise, your experience and your wisdom. We all know … stuff, but sometimes we forget just how much sh** (stuff) we know.

This process starts you off by getting you to identify aspects of yourself from three different areas of your life. What has helped you survive or make money, your reputation, and your passion.

Step 1: Set yourself a time frame that seems useful, in your life, over the last five years, since you made a significant change (graduated, had children, your parents died). Feel free to change the time period after you have started the thought experiment, but apply the time frame to each of the following lists.

Step 2: Make a list of all the ways that money, security, support have arrived in your life during the time frame just chosen. If that is not working, list things that have helped you survive, thrive or get rich, or that make you feel secure, comfortable and well fed.

Step 3: Print the spotlight template. Click the picture, and print it out. Maybe I should move this to step 1, but I think its more fun to start the memory machine before the printer.

Step 4: Write the most important things from your list into the green balloon.

Step 5. Repeat step 2 and 4 for a list of things that you are well known for. If that is hard, think about what your friends would say about you. Ask your family what they think people know about you. How would they describe you at your funeral? Write the most important items off the list into the blue balloon.

Step 6. Repeat step 2 and 4 for a list of things that you love doing. If that is hard, think about what you thought your were going to be when you grew up? What do you do when you are home alone and can do whatever you want? What would you do if you had a million dollars given to you tomorrow? That list goes in the red balloon

Now the work really starts. This can take years, but you can make a really interesting start in a couple of hours.

Step 7 Identify ideas for the intersecting areas:

  • Your fire of passion,
  • Your crowning value,
  • Your heart of gold

In some cases there will be a stand out word: family, books, or food, perhaps. In other cases there will appear to be nothing in common. Beer or banking, or sport and candlelit dinners. After a little thought, though, common ground can be found for most activities. Investing in breweries, romantic weekends away for (or with) sports star. What you are looking for is things that will make you happy and survive, or build on your reputation to generate income or other benefits.

Step 8: If it has not already become obvious, apply the same process to to diamond in the spotlight, your inner brilliance, the intersection between the ideas you identified at Step 7.

I have a great notion

Step 9: Now that you have a list of things that you know are important aspects of your personality the task is to think about how you can have more of those things in your life, how you can spend all your time doing those things, and this will take time, serious time, Beer, banking and sustainability, might be satisfied by investing in a sustainable boutique brewery, for example.

If you are struggling or know someone who has done this exercise before, talk to them about it. We offer face to face sessions online or in real life, and we are thinking about online tools to facilitate the process. When we have availability we will turn on a booking system here on this site.