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I first came across Bernadette’s work whilst reading the latest Seth Godin book, This Is Marketing. I looked her up and picked up a few books of hers, starting with Difference.

I was on the way to London for a meeting, took it with me, and by the time I got into London I’d decided to buy a pad to work through the examples. I’ve found that if you just read through a book it’s very easy to dismiss them as being light, or to say ‘that’s not going to work for me/my customer/my business’. But if you sit down with a pen and go through the exercises, you very often find things out that are extremely helpful and useful, even if they’re not the exact things referenced from the book.

Just the act of having someone ask you questions – even via a book – thinking about them honestly and then, importantly, having to write them down creates so much value. Making yourself think about why you are doing things, and how you can do them better. It’s so valuable, and something we often don’t make time to do. It’s often not that the questions need to be appropriate, but that in thinking about what the answers might be we find something out.

(The other part of this are when reviewers say ‘Full of obvious ideas’ and ‘Heard it all before’. That’s cool, but just because you’ve heard it before and the ideas are obvious – did you do anything about them?)

Following on from this, I signed up for her course https://thestorystrategy.com. I promised myself I’d go through every exercise, even the parts which weren’t immediately appropriate, and again I found value. Where my immediate first response was – ‘Well this part isn’t about or for me, so I’ll skip it’; I made myself go through something would stand out, and become valuable.

So whilst this isn’t specifically a recommendation from me about Bernadette’s work (though I found it hugely helpful, your mileage as always may vary) it *is* a recommendation to do the work. Those books you bought on strategy and marketing won’t do anything sat on the shelf with the words underlined.

You need to work at them.

And even if at first glance it feels like it’s not for you – just the act of setting aside time to do some thinking; real, proper ‘deep work’ will mean you’ll come up with value. Sometimes the book is the journey, not the destination.

 

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