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Somehow, it’s picked up a rather shady reputation.
While Wikipedia claims that Henry Ward Beecher was described as “one of the great thought-leaders in America” in an 1887 reference, the most modern definition comes from the late Joel Kurtzman. He described thought leaders as “people who possess a distinctively original idea, a unique point of view, or an unprecedented insight into their industry.” Although not stated outright, the unspoken idea was that you had this title bestowed on you by someone else. You didn’t get to call yourself a thought leader.
At some point in the last few years, perhaps with the rise of social media and an increased focus on “positioning” yourself in the market, savvy entrepreneurs started giving themselves that title. But as my mom always told me, “If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will do it for you.” (Thanks, Mom!)
Kurtzman’s definition doesn’t go far enough. Yes, originality and innovation are key requirements for a thought leader. But that’s only part of the equation. A thought leader needs to be able to motivate action, build a community and have an impact on that community.
Here’s another way to look at thought leaders:
Inner Drive — A thought leader needs to be Curious, Passionate, Persistent and Introspective. These inner qualities will fuel your dedication to your area of expertise and help you remain intensely focused on what the current situation is and how it should be changed.
Outer Focus — The Inner Drive will be expressed by outward actions. Thought leaders must be Innovative, Inspirational, Influential and Disruptive. You must be able to lead and persuade.
Result — The best thought leaders build a Community and have Impact. A thought leader must be able to engage with an audience and prompt that audience to action in order to effect change.
How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said it yourself?
You know that a book can help you position yourself and increase your profile. And you finally feel you’re ready to share what you’ve learned with a bigger audience. But the thought of writing a book seems so overwhelming. Here are some of the objections I’ve heard:
If you are ready to take your coaching or consulting business to the next level, showing your thought leadership by writing a book is a great choice. A book allows you to share your philosophy or approach with a much wider audience than you currently have. It can position you as an expert and fuel the expansion of your business or jump-start your speaking engagements.
My superpower is helping successful coaches and consultants organize and package their skills and knowledge for a high-impact book. I can help you capture your particular kind of genius and turn it into a book you can be proud of.
As to those objections:
I have no idea how to start.
I do! Nothing gets me more energized that creating order out of chaos. I’ll review the material you already have and map out a plan to get the book done.
I’m not far enough along in my career yet.
Wouldn’t a book be a great way to get you farther ahead? Within the next 12 months, you could have a published book that will get you to that next step in your career.
I’m not a writer!
Are you sure? Is that something you know? Or a story you’ve told yourself? As a successful entrepreneur, you probably already do quite a bit of writing. Let’s talk about where your skills really are.
It’s too hard to figure out whether I should self-publish or go with a traditional publisher.
The biggest issue for many entrepreneurs is time, so I usually recommend self publishing. It can take months to find an agent and many more to find a publisher. Then you write the book and wait 18-24 months before it’s printed and distributed. With self-publishing, your book can be ready for promotion within the next year.
I don’t have time.
Most successful entrepreneurs are already very good at managing their time. If you really want to make writing your book a priority, you will find the time.
Are you ready? Let's talk about how to get your book started. Click the button to schedule a free discovery call.
William Pretzer, Ph.D. | Historian and Museum Professional
I've worked with Susan to edit various personal projects over the past 20 years because I can rely on her to clean up my prose. She can read between the lines and help me articulate what I truly mean. Working with her improves the final product in every possible way. I know we'll be working together on future projects.
Stephanie Reasons | Vice President, Techworld Language Solutions
One of the reasons I enjoy working with Susan is that she always keeps the intended audience in mind. Susan acts as the audience's advocate, ensuring that the message of any communication is clear, concise and meets the audience's needs. She's also very encouraging, friendly, and supportive when working with new writers, helping to make the process less overwhelming.
David Foster | Chief Mojo Finder, Beyond Your Limits
I’ve been thinking about writing a book for a long time – over several false starts and almost two decades. Working with Susan, I have so much more clarity around not only what I want to write but the process as well. I have a trusted adviser who has my best interests at heart. It’s very comforting to know she will keep me accountable as I fit in writing a book around running my business. Susan is working from a deep sense of passion and love for reading and writing that cannot be manufactured. I know I am in good hands!
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