You've probably heard the words "thought leader" a lot lately. Have you ever wondered whether you might be a thought leader?
Thought leaders are the go-to people in their fields or industries. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with new ways of thinking about things. They turn their ideas into reality and create a dedicated group of "peeps"--fans, friends, and followers--who care about what the thought leader is doing and want to keep up and interact with the message and brand.
You have the ability to develop yourself as a thought leader, if this is one of your goals in business. Thought leadership can be attained in many ways, all of which involve publishing branded content. This type of content is laser-focused on your answer to this single question and true to your unique thoughts and brand. Once the content is published, you have a strong desire to share it because you know it will change the dialogue or change how things operate within your industry or field.
It's quite possible that you have never thought to ask yourself, Am I a thought leader? or Do I want to become a thought leader? And if so, that is perfectly okay. I'm here to help you think through thought leadership today with a few focused questions.
Six Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Own Thought Leadership
- What am I trying to change?
- What does this change look like?
- What do people say when they talk about me?
- What do I stand for?
- What meaningful contribution am I making in my field or industry?
- If I stopped the work I am doing today, would anyone miss it?
When you begin answering these questions, really take some time to reflect and revise your answers, if needed. If there are any questions too difficult to answer, they need more thought.
I recently worked with a client on these questions, so we could position his brand uniquely within his industry. This client is a life coach (There are A LOT of life coaches!)--but wanted to focus his efforts specifically on actors and actresses on Broadway. Bret had a long-time dream of being successful on Broadway--and he did just that--without the help of any mentors along the way, simply because there were none that had all the ingredients he yearned for: stability in work, countless audition calls, money to fund a lifestyle he loved, and pure happiness.
As I worked with Bret, it became clear that he wanted to brand himself as a thought leader. (He didn't know or own this language yet, but we got there!) The work he continues to do with Broadway actors and actresses helps them see their lives in a new way. He knows what he stands for, and he is making powerful changes within the industry--showing others that all the things he longed for on Broadway are possible. His mission is simple, powerful, and profound: "My mission is to elevate the energy within the Broadway Community so that fulfillment is the expectation--not the exception."
How are you setting yourself apart and positioning your brand to make a difference in the lives of others?