One of my favourite actors, Steve Martin, was asked in an interview to share what he considered the secret to success. He replied:
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
To me, this sums up what it means to be a thought leader. Know what you’re good at, become great at it, and share it with the right people.
What’s your unique expertise?
What makes you different?
What are you passionate about?
What would you do for love, not money?
This is what makes up your personal brand. It’s not about your logo, your colour scheme, your business name or your catchy slogan. It’s about you.
People want you, not just your expertise. Increasingly, they’re searching Google for names of experts, not just a topic of interest (If you don’t believe me, watch this video clip I created recently showing what Google says about this idea). So you want people to be searching Google for your name, not just what you do – and they will, if you get clear and stand strong in your personal brand.
So what’s behind your personal brand?
What do you keep doing well over and over again in your life?
What do you keep doing badly over and over again in your life?
These two questions can help start you on the journey to your personal brand. There’s more to this, but it’s a good start.
I started by quoting one of my favourite actors. I’ll end by quoting one of my favourite poets: Robert Frost. His poem “Two Tramps in Mud Time” ends like this:
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.
So where do your passion (avocation) and work (vocation) unite? That’s the sweet spot for your thought leadership.