You don’t need an audience to be a thought leader. You need one person who listens to you.
Stop waiting until you’re well known. Share your ideas now. One idea at a time. One person at a time.
Being a thought leader isn’t complex. It requires only two things. First, thinking; and second, the courage to lead.
Your job is to make people think. They don’t need to say, “Wow!” They do need to say, “Hmmmm…”
I want to introduce you to a tool that will draw out your thinking and your leadership.
Wes Kao is a successful entrepreneur and thought leader who proposes we get a little controversial in our thinking:
“Unless you distinguish yourself, you’ll never get a chance to show how different you actually are. To stand out, you need to develop… a “spiky” point of view.
A spiky point of view is a perspective others can disagree with. It’s a belief you feel strongly about and are willing to advocate for… It’s what separates you from everyone else.”
When I say that you don’t need an audience to be a thought leader, that’s a spiky point of view. Stop waiting. Share your ideas before you’re ready because that’s how you’ll build your audience.
“Your spiky point of view… shows you’re thinking rigorously and interpreting what’s going on around you.
A spiky point of view is almost impossible to imitate. It’s unique to each person, which is why it’s such a powerful competitive advantage. It’s rooted in your conviction and authenticity.
The best part?
You already have it in you.”
She draws out 5 elements behind a spiky point of view:
- A spiky point of view can be debated. If everyone agrees with you, it’s too middle of the road.
- A spiky point of view has substance. It isn’t controversial for the sake of it.
- A spiky point of view teaches people something relevant they don’t already know. It’s not a summary of information.
- Don’t wait for 100% consensus before you say your spiky point of view out loud. That day will never come.
- You have to be brave enough to convince people of this spiky point of view because you genuinely believe they’ll be better for it.
Here are 16 examples of my own spiky points of view. They’re followed by a challenge I’ve set for you…
- Use your highest level community to be your messiest, not your most perfect. Test your newest ideas on your highest paying clients and share your best ideas for free. High-performing clients love to witness your creative process. Sharing your best ideas for free draws in new high-performing clients.
- Create a community of people more fascinating than you—a community of leaders, not a community of followers. Why would they join your community? Because you asked and because great leaders actually don’t want to be the most fascinating person in the room.
- Stopping beats starting. Around once every 3 years, stop doing what makes you the most money. It will create space for something even more extraordinary. Make your best people constantly stop doing what they’re good at—to focus only on what they are great at—until they become irreplaceable.
- Your book isn’t a baby. You can’t wait until it’s born to help it grow. Readers are oxygen for a book, so you need to build your audience before you birth your book.
- Raise the bar higher on your community each year, until you wouldn’t get in if you applied. Then keep raising it. Turn away people who are 9.9s, if you really want 10s to show up.
- Laziness beats busyness. And the less time you work, the more money you make. Most people only make this work in the second half of their career, with half a lifetime of hard work behind them. But it’s never too early to be lazy! Keep honing the 3 things you do that make the most impact, have the most influence and generate the most income. Stop doing everything else and go walk in nature.
- The more you charge, the more extraordinary your clients will be. Build your ability to charge more by regularly investing in coaches who charge more than you do.
- High net worth individuals are extremely cautious how they spend their money. So build your ability to coach extraordinary clients by creating opportunities for some clients to invest smaller amounts to work with you.
- Watch for red flags. People leave clues. Tell your team what drives you crazy and if they don’t pay attention, let them go.
- If someone doesn’t get annoyed by your ideas each day, you’re not a thought leader. Share your struggles, your successes, your values and your spiky points of view.
- Great leaders create leaders, not followers. Only hire people better than you. Set your vision, share your values and step out of the way.
- If members of your team are not making mistakes, they’re not growing. Send flowers when your people screw up. Always say “we” when you succeed. Say thank you.
- Push your team into their Zones of Genius. At least every 3 years, tell your top performers to fire themselves. Have them hire someone who is better than them at doing everything they are doing now. But don’t let them go. Create the space for them to discover what truly lights them up and pay them to do that.
- Hire coaches who scare you a little. Hire coaches who are different to you. Hire coaches who are younger than you and others who are older than you. Hire more than one coach at the same time.
- The dark side of being a visionary leader is that you’re always focused on the future. Take time every week to turn around and celebrate how far you’ve come. A Done list beats a To Do list.
- Be boutique, word-of-mouth, expensive, not for everyone. And when times are hard, charge more. You’ll never win a race to the bottom.
Ok, your turn. Your mission—if you are willing to accept it—is to come up with 10 spiky points of view. Send them to me.
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