Yesterday we hosted our very first Thought Leadership Round Table Discussion. Rather than talking at our audience, we wanted to open the floor to everyone to come together as peers to discuss the intersection of thought leadership and entrepreneurship. (And potential pitfalls, like impostor syndrome and when thought leadership inspires copycats.)
And when leaders get together, the conversation gets amazing.
Here’s a recap of what we discussed:
Entrepreneurial thought leadership requires us to speak from the truth.
If we want to leverage our expertise, influence, and innovation to truly make a difference in others’ lives, we have to get our message down.
We can’t rely on intangibles and cerebral ideas. We need to pull from our truth, from our own lives, from our stories. We need to be willing to open up and share vulnerably.
“That’s just life” or “That’s just the way it is” can be trigger phrases for thought leaders and entrepreneurs who recognize the lie.
The past doesn’t dictate the future. But sometimes it’s hard to remember that. And when we put our innovative idea out to the world, we’re going to be met with some resistance that would rather believe the past over possibility.
Be aware that these kinds of ideas might trigger you, and have a response prepared. It’ll help you respond gracefully, but also think through what your own truth really looks like.
Impostor syndrome isn’t waiting for us to “make it” to go away.
One of our friends told us she used to think thought leadership was for fancy people on fancy pedestals. But it’s actually attainable for anyone, so long as they are willing to leverage their expertise, innovation, and influence (even if their realm of influence is small).
But impostor syndrome — feeling like we aren’t good enough — so often gets in the way. Here’s the thing: Even when you “make it,” you may still feel it. It’s not waiting on you to earn enough dollars, sign enough clients, or snag enough subscribers. It’s not waiting on you to write your book or give your speech.
Maya Angelou once said, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ ”
So it’s on us to tackle that nay-saying voice head on. And not to wait to change the world until we’ve conquered it.
Community matters along our journey.
The importance of being supported and scaffolded by like-minded people can’t be overstated. When impostor syndrome (or any number of other hold-me-back problems) rears its head, it’s our community that keeps us moving forward. Plus it’s great for collaboration and cross-referrals! When you don’t see your competitors as rivals, but as peers who can open doors, amazing things can happen.
Innovative thoughts can inspire copycats.
So what do we do when we’ve been shouting our message from the hilltop and we suddenly notice others are doing the same thing? Uh oh, we’ve got a copycat.
It’s important to note that there’s a difference between stealing your material and creating a movement with your big idea.
If your copycat is taking your materials verbatim and publishing them under their name, you’ve got a problem, and you’re gonna want a lawyer.
If your copycat has been listening to your wisdom, has absorbed it, and is now sharing it with their audience in their own words or way… that means your thought leadership platform is working.
To us, thought leadership is all about creating positive, forward movement within other people. So this is actually what it’s all about. Inspiring others. Creating a movement. Enabling change. (And that may require us to leave our ego at the door.)