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The phrase “thought leader” is popping up more and more, especially within the entrepreneurial space.

But what is a thought leader? How do you know if someone is building a thought leadership platform or just using the phrase as a marketing ploy?

Marie and I have thoughts (of course!), and we did a deep dive into what thought leadership is–and isn’t– in our first episode of the Leadership Forum Live Stream.

Click the video below to watch the replay!

Skip around:

0:00-3:24: Welcome and Introduction

3:25- 6:10:  What is the path to becoming a thought leader?

6:11-9:20: The power of quiet leadership, listening, and questioning

9:21-11:09: Is thought leadership just a new fad?

11:10-15:00: Our official definition of thought leadership

15:01-17:59: What thought leadership IS

18:00 -28:22: What thought leadership is NOT

28:23-31:43: Recap

31:44-34:02: Conclusion and next week

Don’t have time to watch the video? Here are the main takeaways:

What thought leadership is and isn'tEveryone seems to have a slightly different definition of “thought leader.” For some, it’s a title. For others, it’s a skill.

Surprisingly, most of the people we asked about thought leadership were uncomfortable with the idea. They didn’t consider themselves a leader in the traditional sense. They didn’t want to stand up on a fancy pedestal, squinting against a too-bright spotlight, evangelizing to a crowd they couldn’t even see.

And that’s okay.

In fact, it’s great.

Because while the world needs people who are willing to proclaim their believes from center stage, that is not the only form thought leadership can take.

Here’s our definition:

A person who uses their expertise, influence, and innovation to build a platform that inspires change.

That’s it. You only have to ask yourself four simple questions:

  1. Am I an expert in something?
  2. Do I have even a tiny bit of influence?
  3. Am I approaching things in a unique way?
  4. Do I want to build a platform for positive change?

If you answered ‘yes’ to each of these, even if it’s an uncertain, wavery, still-feeling-it-out ‘yes’, then it’s worth digging a little deeper. And if that definition feels particularly on-point, you may even want to sign the Thought Leader Manifesto.

For now, know this: You are supported. Your ideas are meaningful. And we believe in you.

Want to catch the Leadership Forum when it goes live? Head on over to the Thought Leaders Think Tank on Facebook and request to join.


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