Do you prefer Fringe, Hot or Mainstream?

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I came across a blog by Seth Godin this week, which highlighted a more visceral way of explaining the Rogers Curve – or the progression that happens with new ideas, approaches or paradigms in the world.

seth godin idea progression 2

This is highly relevant for me (and maybe for you too?) because I’ve always been in the business of sharing the next HOT thing, rather than the thing that’s already mainstream.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that different people have vastly different mindsets when encountering ideas that seem different from the mainstream, and this can vary too in different aspects of their lives.

Some people will always buy a car from the same manufacturer, but are willing to try new foods, for example.  Or, they always go to the same supermarket, but are keen to embrace new fashions.

Every important idea starts on the fringe.

It’s not obvious, proven or readily explained.

And a tiny group of people, people who like the fringe, start engaging with it.

Sometimes the fringe idea begins to resonate with those around the fringe-loving.  Now, it’s risky, but there are more people doing it.

When enough people embrace a new thing, it becomes a HOT thing, and then the HOT thing goes mass.

Finally, when enough people accept the idea, they begin to pressure the people around them – and the new idea becomes something which is just common sense.  And there’s a perception that it’s always been true.

You can apply this cycle to science, lifestyle, music, social media, gender and race, religion – everything.

Things that are now mainstream, that virtually everybody believes in as universal, timeless truths were all fringe at some point – some of them not that long ago.

I’ve noticed a pattern in myself that I like to be a pioneer, or at least an early adopter – and this can have both positive and negative consequences .

25 years ago, when practically nobody had heard of NLP, I decided to immerse myself in studying it, and for the first decade or so I came across people who found the whole thing a bit weird and even scary!

I became a thought-leader in this field, and was one of the first people in the UK to bring NLP into business and leadership development.

(Just this weekend, I completed a training course so that I can become a mentor homeless people in London – to help them get off the streets, into homes and sustainable employment, which I’m very excited about.  It was noticeable that this fairly ‘traditional’ training course I attended included many tools from NLP, and nobody batted an eyelid.)

Don’t get me wrong – NLP tools can be very useful, and I don’t regret anything I’ve learned.

But… now that NLP is pretty mainstream, I find it less and less appealing – to use or to teach to others.   Not because it’s mainstream (OK, maybe a bit!), but because I believe I’ve found something much better! What is the He’Art of Thriving?

This pattern was repeated 15 years ago when I created Kaizen’s unique approach to Brain Friendly Learning. I immersed myself in research and learning – about neuroscience, accelerated learning  methods, and the emerging science and art of optimizing human states of mind for peak performance.  I became a thought leader in this field, wrote a couple of pretty successful books – and trained 1000’s of trainers, facilitators and coaches to use brain friendly principles and tools.

In the early days, people thought this was pretty weird too… (“You mean, you don’t have to just do death-by-powerpoint?”).  And I still believe that if you want to engage people in learning – BFL is the way to go.

Now that all my work is informed by the He’Art of Thriving (sometimes called the Three Principles, or the inside-out understanding of the human experience), I find myself ahead of the curve once again.  Find out more here

At least twice a week, I get a call from a new or existing client that goes something like this:

Client:  Hi Kimberley, can you come in to our business and run a (insert NLP or Brain Friendly Learning) course for our (insert leaders, or sales folk, or customer service staff, or trainers).

Me: Sure, I’d love to work with your people to help them create even better results.  Let’s have a conversation about what you want to get done/improve/transform… (A fairly detailed discussion ensues about this, where I probe what’s happening now, and how they’d like it to be different after the intervention).

Client:  That all sounds great!  Will you send me a proposal, and we’ll get some dates in the diary.  We’ve come to you because of your reputation in Brain Friendly Learning – and we know that you’re really good at teaching people highly practical tools they can apply immediately – and we know you’ll put lots of NLP in the design too…

Me:  Well, let’s have a conversation about that, because actually there’s a better way.  A better way.

Client:  Errr…. Well, that all sounds terrific.  But what are the tools and techniques you’ll actually be teaching our people?  It has to be practical and engaging. Me:  Oh, it will be highly practical and highly engaging.  But no tools.  They’ll get insights (from within) that will automatically and effortlessly transform the results they’re getting, by tapping into the innate well-being and clarity that’s always been there, but which sometimes gets contaminated by an over-busy mind.

Client:  So, a bit like Mindfulness then?

Me:  Well, in some ways… but not in other ways.  Mindfulness is very useful for 1000’s of people, but it’s still about DOING stuff, having a regular ‘practice’ that quietens your mind.  This is even more effortless.

Client:  Errr… good then.  But it sounds a bit, well…. weird?  Now, I trust you, Kimberley, because I’ve worked with you before.  But I’m worried this may sound a bit risky to some of my colleagues. Can you make sure the proposal sounds more mainstream and a bit less…um… weird?

Me:  Yes, of course (sighs patiently).

The understanding I’m sharing these days is at the tipping point just before becoming the next HOT thing.  It is no longer Fringe, and no longer Risky.  It just works.  There are now at least half a dozen TED Talks about this paradigm.  Five to ten years from now it will just have become something we feel we have always known!  But why wait?

Want to find out more for yourself? There are two imminent opportunities to do just this:

He’Art of Thriving 3-day Workshop 7 – 9 October, where you’ll be gently immersed into this transformative understanding in a group of about 12 – 16 people. Find out more here

Taking Care of Business 1-day Conference 23 October, where you’ll hear from real leaders in real businesses who are seeing the impact of this understanding on real business results.Find out more here Do drop me an e-mail with your thoughts about this week’s Musing.  I’d love to hear them!

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