Making It: How to Be a Successful Online Entrepreneur
Make Reinvention a Habit to Max Out Your Potential (Dorie Clark)
September 24, 2021
"Reinvention should be a constant process," according to Dorie Clark, an esteemed marketing strategy consultant, executive coach, author, keynote speaker and more…. In this episode, Dorie shares her view of what making it means and also offers cutting-edge advice and insight from her new book, The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World.
Episode: Make Reinvention a Habit to Max Out Your Potential (Dorie Clark)
Welcome to Making It! This weekly show explores the lives and stories of entrepreneurs as they share their unique perspectives on their success and the path to making it. 

Episode summary: For Dorie Clark, the most alarming fear is getting to the end of your life and you say, “Oh, wow, I could have done so much more.” She believes that making it is about self-actualizing and maxing out your potential. 

Dorie asserts that if you keep doing the same thing, in the same way, all the time, you run into trouble. You will burn out. So keep reinventing yourself, which means keeping yourself fresh, learning new things, trying new things, keeping your skill set diversified. That way, reinvention is a habit. 

And while you’re at it, don’t take your success for granted. Celebrate your milestones and remind yourself of where you started. That way, life remains exciting.  

“I wish I could say otherwise, but when it comes to making it, you have to work hard.” 

“We need to be aware that reinvention should be a constant process.”
– Dorie Clark

Guest bio: A former presidential campaign spokeswoman, Dorie  Clark is a marketing strategy consultant, executive coach, author, and keynote speaker (with deep experience in virtual presentations) and a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Entrepreneur, and the World Economic Forum blog. Recognized as a "branding expert" by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc. magazine, her clients include Google, Microsoft, Yale University, Fidelity, Morgan Stanley, the IMF, and the World Bank.

     Dorie is named one of the Top 50 Business Thinkers in the World by Thinkers50, and the #1 Communication Coach in the World by Marshall Goldsmith Leading Global Coaches Awards, as well as one of the Top 10 Communication Professionals in the World by Global Gurus. The New York Times called her an “expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives.” She is famous for her courses, especially “Recognized Expert™- How to Attract Clients with Your Reputation and Earn What You're Worth”.

     She writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review, FastCompany, and Business Insider, and am the author of "Entrepreneurial You", which was named "one of the most important business books of the year (2017)" by Inc. magazine and one of the Top 5 Books of the Year by Forbes. I also wrote "Reinventing You" (Harvard Business Review Press); and "Stand Out" (Portfolio/Penguin, 2015), which Inc. magazine declared the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 and Forbes named one of the Top 10 Business Books of the Year. Her newest book -- The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World -- can be bought here.

     She is an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and a Visiting Professor for IE Business School in Madrid. 

     As if that isn’t enough, she’s worked as a producer of a multiple Grammy-winning jazz album, investing in Broadway productions, and is a lyricist in BMI's Tony-Award winning Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Advanced Workshop.

Resources or websites mentioned in this episode:
  1. Mirasee
  2. Dorie Clark’s website
  3. Dorie’s  LinkedIn
  4. Dorie’s  Twitter
  5. Dorie’s Instagram
  6. Dorie’s books
  7. Dorie’s courses
  8. Download Dorie’s free self-assessment toolkit.


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Music and SFX credits: 

• Track Title: Sweet Loving Waltz
Artist Name(s): Sounds Like Sander
Writer Name: S.L.J. Kalmeijer

• Track Title: The Sunniest Kids
Artist Name(s): Rhythm Scott
Writer Name: Scott Roush

• Track Title: Arches
Artist Name(s): Aaron Sprinkle
Writer Name: Aaron Sprinkle
Writer Name: Chelsea McGough

Episode transcript

     I'm Dorie Clark and you're listening to Making It! I'm the author of the new book, The Long Game: How to be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World, and I run the online coursing community, Recognized Expert.

     Making it, to me, is really a question of self actualizing. It's a question of accomplishing your vision, whatever that vision is and feeling like you have maxed out your potential. For me the most alarming thing, the most alarming fear is the idea that you get to the end of your life or you get to a certain inflection point in your life and you say, oh wow, I could have done so much more or there's so much more I wish I would have done. I certainly don't want to be in that position and I don't want the people that I work with or that I touch to be in that position. I mean, I think that really for a lot of us, what we're striving for is inner peace. What we're striving for is the sense that, you know, I mean, I think we all know we can't control everything. We certainly can't control outcomes. But to the best of our abilities, if we have maxed out on process, if we've done our part then I think it's something that we can all feel good about.

     Between 2004 and 2006. I wanted to go back to my friends into the life that I had built in Boston and so I returned there and I decided that I either wanted to get a job running communications at a larger nonprofit or I wanted to run my own small nonprofit. And so I applied for a lot of different opportunities. There are many things I didn't get. But one place where I did get called back and had interviews and ultimately got the job was to be the executive director of something called the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition known as Mass Bike, which was the statewide bicycling advocacy group. And I was familiar with them because a few years before as a journalist, I had covered them a little bit. I had written some articles about them, so I knew what the deal was. And I'll never forget my, they had this like ice breaker interview question. They were like, "So what kind of bike do you have?" I just froze and I realized in that moment I'm like, oh my God, I don't even know what kind of bike I have. And so I, I just sort of smiled and I said "It's blue." That was my answer. But they did end up hiring me anyway.

     Well I think always there's the question of what it means to have made it. I have a new book called The Long Game: How to be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World, and one of the things that I talk about in the book is a concept in sociology known as shifting baseline syndrome. It's kind of a phenomenon in environmental science and other fields that talks about how we measure the past and the erroneous ways that we do that. And I think it's also useful for us to understand that the way that we measure things in our own lives and our own careers is not always accurate. We often take for granted some of our success, you know, something that seems like very normal today, like, 'Oh yeah, I got interviewed on this podcast,' or oh yeah, I got, you know, it landed a client today, or I got to give a speech today, whatever it is, it might feel normal to us now, but I think it's really important for us to tap in to remember, like, oh my gosh, if this happened five years ago, if this happened 10 years ago, it would have been like, oh wow, I can't believe it, I can't believe I got to do that. And so continually reminding ourselves of where we started, so we have an accurate sense, so that we don't kind of retroactively feel like things are not that exciting or... Oh yeah, but you know, yeah, it was, you know, it was a speech, but you know, there was only 100 people, there not 1000 people or, you know, whatever stories we tell ourselves.

     But when it comes to milestones or things that are important, certainly for me, something that was important and meaningful, was publishing my first book. Because that's something that I had had as a goal since I was a little kid. I had always loved books, I loved reading. So the idea of writing my own book was something that was very personally meaningful to me. So I would probably point to that as, as one emblematic example.

     When it comes to accomplishing all the things that we want. You do have to work hard, I wish I could say otherwise, but we do often have to sacrifice nights and weekends in order to really put in the time and effort necessary to accomplish what we want. However, that being said a lot of time for a lot of people is perhaps misspent in... frenzy? And I would say perhaps misspent in the sense that we really begin to run into trouble as people if we are constantly doing the same thing and using the same tools all the time. There is a concept that I talk about in The Long Game, which is what I call career waves and thinking in waves. And I think it's kind of important because you know, ultimately we all intuitively understand that life is a marathon. You know, you can't be sprinting the entire time, but that also doesn't mean that there aren't places where you really should be sprinting. As Marshall Goldsmith, the famed executive coach says, "Nobody can be happy with what used to be." You can't be happy if you're a 70 year old guy and you keep talking about when you were the high school quarterback, it just doesn't work that way. You have to keep reinventing yourself, which means cycling through to the beginning and you start again and you learn something new and that's how we keep ourselves fresh. And I think thinking in waves for me is really part of the secret.

     We need to be aware that reinvention should be a constant process. Too often, the discourse around reinvention is about these really abrupt breaks or these major life transitions that people have. And certainly that's true, you do reinvent yourself if you change careers or if you make a really big shift, let's say from being employed at a company to starting your own business or something like that, that's a that's a reinvention. But in order to actually make those reinventions less traumatic, perhaps more exciting rather than upsetting... one of the best things that all of us can do is to make reinvention a habit. I call it "Lower-case R" reinvention because it's it's nothing so dramatic, but it's about in small ways, keeping ourselves fresh learning new things, trying new things, keeping our skill set diversified, so that it is not such an enormously huge deal. 

     I think that so often in this world there's a lot of people that are critics and you know, really just they're more interested in tearing people down or proving how smart they are by coming up with these little niggling critiques, and I find it so unhelpful and so demoralizing. I think that what a lot of people need more than anything is certainly important, accurate advice about how to be successful, which is what I really try to do with my books and in my courses is to demystify the process so that people understand what it actually looks like and what it actually takes. But in addition to that: genuine support. Because there's not enough people in most people's lives actually, just saying, like, good job, you know, you know, I'm cheering you on, I'm proud of you. And so even if your first effort at something is not amazing, it's okay. My first effort at most things is not amazing. I look back at the blog post that I did 10 years ago, even ones that made it into HBR and I'm a little bit like, oh God, you know, like I'm much better now than I was, and you know what, anyone that I work with, surprise, surprise, they're going to be better in 10 years than they are now. But you have to start. And so I think it is important to have somebody cheering you on, and I like to do that for people. So that's that's what I'm aiming at. 

     I'm Dorie Clark and you've been listening to Making It! You can find me at If you'd like to learn more about how you can elevate your expertise in the public eye, you can download the free self assessment at