In “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”, Mister Rogers is asked by cynical reporter Tom Junod why he produces his TV show.
To “give children positive ways to deal with their feelings” was his response.
And if you know anything about Mister Rogers, you’ll know he wove this idea into everything he did.
It’s a classic big idea.
Big idea as in the ultimate transformation you want to make with your audience.
It’s the opposite of small—and may not even be achievable in your lifetime.
In Mister Rogers’ case, it was nothing short of mission. In fact Junod credits his friendship with Fred Rogers (which came out of his Esquire cover interview) with changing his perspective about life.
Your big idea isn’t a marketing or branding construct— a clever tagline you use to get media attention or attract clients on your website.
Sure, you need those, but this is so much more.
It’s about the outcomes you create for your ideal audience. The best have a sense of mission to them—a driving force behind your work.
If you’ve struggled with articulating your big idea, try this exercise (hint: you’ll need to get clear on who you MOST want to help—and how).
Complete this statement:
I______________ (insert action verb)
________________ (insert your best
(insert how you make your best audience feel or an
outcome they can consistently rely upon).
A few examples to stoke your thinking…
I save kids from drowning (non-profit consultant).
I create companies for CEO’s that their customers love (customer expert).
I teach young lawyers to sell more (sales consultant).
I help normal people build extraordinary financial wealth (financial consultant/author).
Take some time with this. Leave it and come back to it. Ruminate. Salivate. It should probably scare you a little—as in “Who am I to think this big?”
Once you have your statement down, there’s one more step to convert it into a big idea.
Using as few words as possible, while still making it emotionally compelling to your sweet-spot, zero in on the outcomes that matter most to your ideal audience.
Saving kids from drowning.
Building beloved companies.
Teaching young lawyers to build their first book of business.
Building extraordinary wealth for normal people.
Get the idea? Now it’s your turn.