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5 questions to make you a thought leader

Everyone wants to be seen. No one wants to be seen making mistakes. 

Everyone wants to be visible looking good. No one wants to be visible looking messy.

Everyone wants to be known. No one wants to be known for their screw ups or their failures.

If you are tired of being a best kept secret, then you need to start becoming more visible. It will feel uncomfortable. If you want to feel comfortable, you’ll remain a best kept secret. For ever. 

Your choice.

If you want to be seen and known more, you have to be willing to share your process in public. Don’t wait for perfection. It never comes. You need to stop hiding your mess, your mistakes and your failures. 

Counterintuitively, in a social media world that’s focused on being Instagram-perfect, the more real you are—the more your people will be drawn to you. 

I’ve just run a 9-day virtual event called the 4PC Accelerator. I took a group of high-level leaders and coaches through a series of challenges designed to push them to the very edges of their comfort zone.

One set of challenges was designed to draw out their thought leadership. And I am going to share them with you today.   

The Thought Leadership Challenge

If you want to be a thought leader, it’s not complex. You need to do 2 things… Think. And Lead.

1. Think. I am going to give you 5 questions to think about. The very best way to do this is to write down your answers. And the very best way to do this is to use a pen and paper. 

The physical act of handwriting draws left-right brain connections that increases neural activity, similar to meditation. Mindful writing literally forces you to slow down and be in the moment—which rests your brain, and sparks creativity. 

2. Lead. After you have written out your answers to one question, share your thoughts with one client. That’s it. Now you’re a thought leader. 

Don’t wait until you have an audience of millions. Share your insights now. You can be a thought leader with an audience of one. You can be a thought leader for the senior team you’re coaching. You can be a thought leader for the company you run, or the team you’re in charge of. 

You’ll need a little more courage if you want to up the game on this one. Don’t wait until you’re confident, you have to act before confidence comes. Send what you have written to your email list, or share it on LinkedIn or social media. 

5 questions to make you think

  1. Make a list of 5 topics that scare you to talk about. Write 200 words about (or make a video about) one of them. 
  2. Write 5 pieces of wisdom for your children, to help them live an extraordinary life. (If you don’t have kids, write this life advice to a nephew or niece that you love. Or write a letter to your 9 year old self). 
  3. Write down 5 things that truly piss you off about your field. What do people constantly get wrong? What platitudes are you sick of hearing?
  4. Write 20 statements about things you’ve accomplished in business and in life (10 on each). Be specific, not generic. Eg. I led a team that raised $3M in seed capital, not I built a great team. My kids are thriving because I helped them to be risk takers, not I’m proud of my kids. (Remember: it’s not bragging if you’ve done it!)

[Important note: Transcend and include… If you’ve been a coach for two years but you were an executive for the prior seventeen years, have 8 out of 10 of your statements focus on success from your previous career.]

  1. Write a story about the best or most influential leader you have ever encountered. What was it that made this person such an effective leader? Now write about how YOU embody these same traits. 

IMPORTANT: If you think a lot without taking action, that makes you a philosopher. Thought leaders think but they also lead. 

This isn’t a journaling exercise, it’s a behavioral exercise. Make sure you share your thinking with at least one person… 

Love. Rich 


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