The Art of the Brainstorm Book

One of the career strategies I've used over the last year is one I call the Brainstorm Book.  It's a way to help stay on your life path, aim for your career goals, and keep inspired.  Though it takes a bit to explain, it's something I want to share as it's been extremely useful to me.

It's easier to describe the steps then describe the philosophy, so without any additional delay, let's go.


FIRST:  Purchase a notebook that you can keep in your purse, knapsack, briefcase, etc.  I usually go with something relatively small, 7 by 5 inches.

SECOND: Make sure a pen is always kept in the book so you don't have to look for one.

THIRD: Keep it with you as much as possible.

FOURTH: When you have a Great Idea, write it down in the Brainstorm Book.  How do you know it's a Great Idea?  It's one of those ideas that speaks to your life/career/goals so deeply that you can see it and feel it and know it's Great – with a capital letter.

FIFTH: Review the book every few weeks to see which Great Ideas inspire you and may be worth doing.  This helps you find new things to do, ways to improve old ones, and more.

SIXTH: Never throw the books away unless you review them thoroughly and store the best ideas elsewhere.  Keep getting new ones.

Doing a Brainstorm Book gets you in the habit of asking what else you can do in your life, in your career, in your ambitions.  As you put down and review items you develop the habit of thinking how you can accomplish your goals and manage your life and career.  It makes visualizing the future and getting inspired a habit.

The Brainstorm book also helps develop the habit of thinking about your goals and keeping them in mind.  The book as well as the activity of writing down ideas reminds you of the dreams you have, as well as the ones you're writing down.

I have noticed some people aren't sure what to put in a Brainstorm Book – and I usually advise "when in doubt, put an idea in."  But a quick guide to an idea that's worth going in:

1) It fits your career AND life goals (which in theory should be the same)
2) It's something that you can instinctively believe you can do (even if, indeed, you'd have to make a lot of changes or sacrifices) and could even start on in a short time.
3) It intuitively strikes you as a great idea, one you like, one that's inspiring.

In time, you learn what works for you.  Using a Brainstorm Book is a skill.

So go on, go to the store, give it a try for a few months.  I think you'll be pleased.

– Steve Savage