I don’t know that I am a thought leader . But I was called one about eight months ago. It is not something I was working on – it just kind of happened. It is not something I am going to brag about in books or put behind my name in every conference presentation. I think that the “status: kind of just developed over time. But my insight may help you to see how to get your thoughts noticed.
If you were to talk to my close friends and family, they would probably tell you that I am “argumentative”. Of course I’ve never seen it that way, and what do they know right? But I do tend to look at conversations and situations from a jaded point of view. Or at least from a point of view that most people do not approach. When people say that “A B C are facts” I’ll tend to challenge them and make the conversation go deeper. When I go to conference after conference and I see experts on stage all saying the same thing about a topic, I tend to start investigating the topic on my own time and see how much of what they say is fact and how much is self-aggrandising speaker hot air. ( I hope other speakers and conference attendees do that about what I say. I might be lying! )
About a year ago I was having drinks with a very smart gentleman named Corey Perlman who is a brilliant social media speaker. We are both members of the National Speakers Association and were both at the same annual conference. (Sidebar: You should look at joining the NSA. There is no better place to network with successful speakers). He said something to me that I’ll never forget:
Patrick – I love the stuff you post online. You are such a contrarian.
“Wow” I thought. Corey is a pretty popular guy in his field so to get a compliment from him felt pretty good. Plus we were a bunch of professional speakers out having drinks and the truth usually comes out when we’ve had a few.
Fast forward to eight months ago. I was approached by one of the editors of Speaker Magazine (the official magazine of the National Speakers Association) who wanted me to write a featured article for one of the sections. Part of the email that encouraged me to write said:
A fellow NSA member, and friend of yours, recommended you as a thought leader on social media and marketing, if that helps sway your opinion one way or another
I’ve got an ego just like everybody else – of course this is going to sway me. That phrase had never been used on me before and it felt great.
Since that initial email the phrase has been used several more times about me – publicly and privately. I run a private Facebook group (click here to apply to join) that helps speakers market themselves better in the world. I’ve received constant praise for my work in that group. I didn’t think I was doing anything special; I’m just helping out a bunch of speakers in a quiet, spam-free environment. And that brings to me how I think YOU can become a thought leader also.
Here are the behaviors that I believe caused someone to call me a “thought leader” status:
Having a Voice – This is the most important step. Too many people in this world “talk about talking”. And few… very few… actually stand up and voice their opinion on a topic. Most people would rather keep their heads down and blend in . Life is safe when you just keep ducking and keep your mouth shut. However if you want to be recognized for your opinion or your accomplishments, you cannot be shy with your voice. When your become a blogger, a speaker, a teacher or a television personality you are going to have to get past your shyness and get on a platform.
Being a contrarian – If you ever hear something in a conversation that sounds stupid or read something on the internet and think “well that just sounds stupid” THEN SAY SO (even if it comes from me). Be tactful about it, but jump on it if it just does not seem right and share your opinion about it. There will be at least one person who will agree with you. But they don’t have the courage to say it. So when you do voice your contrarian opinion you are likely speaking for several people. (This is the reason that it has always annoyed me that Facebook only gives you a LIKE button and not a DISLIKE button.)
Don’t be afraid to call experts out – This is kind of like being a contrarian, but with the addition of addressing specific people that you do not agree with. When several popular experts tend to have the same opinion about a topic, it is time for someone to look at the other side. And if you don’t agree with what an expert says, feel free to call them out on their opinion via video, blogging or social media (or even in person if you get the chance). We tend to believe anybody that stands on stage and speaks. There is a dangerous trend in the world of speakers/experts. They tend to repeat each other. I’ll take social media as an example. All you have to do is go to about two social media conferences and you will like hear everything you’d hear at a future conference. Experts (of which I like to think I am one) tend to parrot each other. They/We will go to conference, see someone say something that appears insightful, and then repeat it to our tribe. This can be dangerous if the original source of the information didn’t have their facts straight.
I’d like to wrap this up with a great quote I heard recently.
You don’t have to be best in the world. You just have to be the best in THEIR (i.e. Your audience) world.
Being a thought leader means being the best you can be for YOUR tribe. If you follow my guidelines above will be on the right path.
I live online. And I am highly engaged in the world of social media. Sometimes it is the first thing I check in the morning for new communications, and the last thing I check at night to see if there has been any new activity in my private groups. If I’m not careful I could easily spend a full day participating in discussions on private Facebook groups. In this podcast I talk about how to be sure that your time is managed well while you are online. If you are running a business and trying to find balance in your world, then this is a great episode to listen to.
Listen to the podcast. Watch the video. And then share your thoughts with me in the comments.Read More
I have two things to share with you in this short post:
There are some people that define this as a complicated time management process. However once you understand the basic concepts it is the easiest and most fulfilling way to manage your life.
Good morning/afternoon/evening high achievers. I am sure you have heard me talk about being hyper-aware of your time. Here is something I want you to be aware of as you get more focused on your perfect day.
There are places on the internet specifically created to keep your attention and waste your time. These places are filled with funny pictures and lists, and are saturated with ads. The long they keep you on the website, the better the chance of you clicking on an ad. Some of these sites are Buzzfeed, TMZ, Upworthy, etc.
If you desire to live at a higher level you need to become disciplined in three areas of your life: Attention management, energy management and time management.
Entrepreneurs – Always be asking yourself the following questions:
There are many things to look at when it comes to running your business. But the three above help keep me focused and stop me from screwing around (too much) . Lack of focus has severely hurt my business in the past, so I can speak from a place of experience. If you don’t smack yourself on the side of the head every now and then, you’ll get into the downward spiral of busy but not productive. Fight that. Fight it hard. You are an entrepreneur. It is your job to create a kickass business. It is your job to put food on the table and provide for your family. You can’t do that by screwing around.
A. Move forward. B. Be productive. C. Market a lot. That is how we succeed.
If you have a Monday through Friday job then you already know how restricted your time is during the week. Your mornings are spent getting out the door so you can be at work at your desk by 8 am. Your evenings are spent as a caretaker to your family. Your nights are spent grabbing a couple of minutes of personal time while you get off your feet because you have spent your day giving of yourself to others. But when do you find time to work on that BAHG (Big Arse Hair Goal) that lives as a spark in your belly?
High achievers have habits and leave clues that others should pay attention to. Listen to history. Learn these habits. Success will then be well within your reach.Read More
Take a moment and think about how your day unfolds every day. What actions are you taking from the moment you wake up until you lay your head on your pillow at night. If it is anything like most people your day probably goes on autopilot and looks something like this:
We talk a lot about time management in this crazy world of ours. “There is a never enough time to get done what we want to get done”. Our calendars are stacked with appointments from 6am until 6pm, and sometimes they are double-stacked. If your day goes as planned you will be only mildy behind compared to where you started the day – way behind.
Set aside time today for quiet reflection. Take a pad of paper, a writing instrument, and find a quiet place in your residence . Sit with your eyes closed and focus on your thoughts. What is making you happy, what makes you deeply unhappy , and where do you want to be in a year.
When you think about the unhappy places in your life, look for solutions. You will have to change your attitude, or change the situation. But don’t accept the unhappiness. Nobody deserves sorrow.