What Makes A Thought Leader? Part 2
(for Part 1, head here).
Ok, so we know everything is a remix, we all synthesise information and add to the conversation.
Cool. So the barrier to entry as a thought leader is lower than we thought. Isn't it?
Woooooah, wait up - who is this gremlin I hear whispering to you?
Who are YOU to share this stuff anyway?
Wow, gremlins are RUDE, aren't they?
Well, you are YOU. No qualifications needed.
Nada. Zilch. Zero.
In fact, if you are over toddler age, which lets assume you are, you have had the 10,000 Gladwell hours of being you many times over.
So from the perspective of not needing to be THE authority on things, just adding to the conversation, you are already pre-qualified to add your piece to the pot of thoughts out there in the big floating mix of conversations.
You have what I refer to as your "Personal Power Paradigm"*; a unique set of experiences, skills, successes and failures in your archives that, when combined with YOUR tone of voice, YOUR humour, YOUR personality, and YOUR knowledge, gives a unique stance.
Best of all, you don't need to be a thought leader for everyone.
You need to be a thought leader for YOUR market, your tribe, your raving fans. (Yes, even if you start out with just 1).
Not only that, but you be actively creating your market as you build your platform of sharing ideas.
Your market look to you for guidance, knowledge and insights, but you don't need to be 40 years ahead of them in what you share. In fact, often 40 minutes can be enough.
Just share what you know in a way that brings them value, and you are on the way.
And this is where you will need to get up on the shoulders of others, like I mentioned in Part 1.
This is where you reference others in your field, where you add to the conversation that's already happening, and break it down in way that your market understand.
In fact, you will notice, over time, that some of the very best teachers are brilliant at doing just this - learning, teaching what they just learned, and doing the same again.
When you think of it like that, can you feel the pressure release and see the gremlins exit stage left?
Your audience wants to learn from YOU.
The reasons why might be myriad; they love the way you are perfectly imperfect, maybe the way you use humour really resonates with them; perhaps you remind them of someone, you make it seem easy, your weekly breakdance/stand-up comedy/open mic Facebook lives really get their juices flowing. Maybe they like your accent, your dress sense, your ability to help them understand things.
Whatever you do, when you do it YOUR way, you naturally attract and repel, making your market more and more defined with each step you take out there on the precipice of Thought Sharing Publicly.
What's more, your audience LOVE to see you learn and grow.
Did you ever consider that your epic failures, your early posts, cringingly awful videos or shitty first website all add to the story of how you grow and evolve?
Here is why:
No-one rocks up with a blow dry, stylist, professional team of 50 to shoot a video, PA, VA, PR and any other letters you can think of, straight out the gates.
Ok ok, so even if they DO, and they have a Kardashian sized budget behind them before tweeting a word or before blogging a thought, their message will still evolve, grow and improve over time.
(What's more? The big glossy budget and fancy production means NOTHING if you aren't sharing ideas of value. Just sayin'.)
So, here is the bottom line as we rev up towards Part 3:
Your shitty bits and starting points are essential; they form your epic back story.
They give you credence, a timeline, a context, and a starting point.
They make you relatable.
They make you real.
They make you human.
So just start.
*See Map & Go Matrix for more info on the Personal Power Paradigm.