You’ve probably heard the term “Thought Leader” and raised a brow, either in curiosity or doubt. Most of us have been there. Let’s start from the bottom and work to the top!
Discover the Thought Leader Within
The concept of a Thought Leader exists in various forms and wavelengths, with one common thread: to lead not by hard rules but by experience, passion, and expertise commanding attention on their own. You find your niche and lean into it. You’re unapologetically your true self, and when others are interested in what you have to say, respect you, and defer to you, you’re on your way to making it as a Thought Leader. Without necessarily being an expert on one narrow topic, you’re able to intuit and navigate the broader territory with grace and confidence.
Be Yourself & Represent the Whole
Don’t get intimidated, though. You don’t have to have your own TED Talk. There is no council of Thought Leaders. You could already be on the New York Times bestsellers list, or (very respectably) be one to extend the wellness of your local community by showing up, staying relevant and making an impact. Foundationally, being a Thought Leader can be as simple as extending who you genuinely are, the work you do, and how far you’ve come.
Equally important though: Who is your audience or cohort? You need to ask yourself if you’re positioning yourself in such a way that they are a part of the conversation. Empathy and receptivity are key. Are you listening to them as much as you are taking the initiative? Leadership (no matter what kind) isn’t an echo chamber. Diversity of viewpoints and experiences are the glue of the world, and your success alike. What can you pick out from your surroundings that you’ve neglected? Work on that.
Branch Out & Get Connected
No matter where you want to lead, make those interpersonal connections with your industry or niche peers. This could be in the form of attending/organizing in-person conferences or events, as well as by engaging them online via social media. Start a Twitter account, add to your blog consistently, and make sure your website is informative and easy to navigate. We’re in the networking golden age, so there is no excuse not to have an online presence. Not only will it passively allow you to reach more people, but it will also drive engagement with your ideas and predictions – and you need that constant influx of feedback!
Still not sure how you can start developing your inner Thought Leader? I can help with that. Let’s get to know one another and discover your unique path.