If Your Work is Impactful, It Sells Itself
From the influencer landscape, I’ve learned a few things.
Over the past year, I watched many influencers make their footprint in the universe every day. The self-help influencers are notable around the Internet. But, there are experts in the business and scientific world that make huge contributions. From Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos to Arianna Huffington, Tim Ferriss, Neil Patel, Michelle Obama, the idea of “thought leadership” is reserved for leaders who are experts in their domains who choose to share their expertise and their process with the world to empower the next generation of leaders.
The main reason that “thought leadership” is the buzzword in the influencer landscape is simply the “impact”.
Successful thought leaders might be earning six-figure speaking engagement fees. But, they didn’t start that way. They started by speaking for free and spreading their ideas. If you ask them why do they do this work, they will tell you that they want to engage with the world.
For them, the process of sharing is much more important than the monetary value of the work.
After observing some thought leaders who engage in this world, I realized that they are selling “packages” of thoughts, ideas, innovations to the world without doing any selling.
The main driver is always impact. It’s also the destination.
Here’s a picture of thought leadership and what it means.
In my early thirties, I thought that I wanted to do impactful work. Now, I choose to work base on the “impact” it has. When people bring up the word influencer, I tell them that I’m a writer who wants to engage.
When you are caught in the day to day grind, do you forget that anyone of us can be an influencer?
It is the impact of our words that make the biggest difference.
To be a thought leader is different.
An influencer only becomes a thought leader if this influencer has leadership qualities and practices these qualities every day.
How do you know that you have the leadership qualities that can positively impact the world?
It’s really through the enlargement of your influence. Once you get to a level where you have a voice, your leadership skills will be tested.
By sharing the cocktail of your experience, knowledge, feelings, presence, and ideas, the world will engage and choose whether or not they think that you are a thought leader.
You may think that it takes a lot of money to become a thought leader. It doesn’t. It takes a leader to become a thought leader.
You’ve got to be a leader first.
This is why in my mind, at this moment, this process of creating a thought leader is probably one of the more democratic processes around.
It is the audience who votes for the thought leader. Advertising dollars, strategy, campaigns can make a difference. But, longevity comes only when the person is already a leader.
Take the “You” Out of the Equation
One of the most difficult parts of my current job as a writer/influencer that I constantly struggle with is the balance between simply being a vehicle (or a writer) who will deliver the messages, or being an influencer.
It’s a tug of war. On the one hand, I try to take the “ego” out of my work. I want to become a vehicle that delivers messages that are useful for people. On the other hand, I want to input my thoughts and ideas.
When I view the impact of my work, I see the color combination of ideas and experiences from the world and my own. The mixture partly makes the delivery.
The mixture also augments my future thoughts and actions.
I am aware that I am evolving with each story that I tell. I am also aware that none of my stories are “original”. These stories are born through discoveries of the world.
The Impact Potion
Today is the first day that I’m coming to grips with the term “the impact potion”. This impact potion starts with knowledge and experience. Then, you add ideas generated from this knowledge and experience. Finally, you deliver the package with your presence and your feelings. You add a piece of yourself to this package.
You wrap up the potion and send this potion to your closest friend to sample. If you are successful, your friend will see a positive impact from drinking your potion. Then, your friend will share the potion with someone else.
Eventually, depending on how useful your impact potion is, you will see people around you drinking from this potion.
Notice that there’s no pushing your potion on anyone else.
Freedom of choice is here. Everyone can pick what kind of potion they want to drink.
When I read about the ills of the world, my mind races. I want to engage with the world to try to at least start some conversations around how to solve these issues. But, in truth, some experts are already working on various issues.
What we need, at this moment, is human medicine.
Knowledge and experience delivered without a dose of human-ness will simply be discarded. It is equivalent to having zero value.
Value only comes when people have learned and internalized the potion that you’ve sent them.
The impact is how many people can apply your potion in their life and whether or not it is rewarding for them.
The views on your articles, the shares and all of that online metrics don’t mean as much as you think. There are people in this world, who are invisible, without views, shares, and reads, who are diligently impacting the lives of thousands of people with their work.
A long time ago, perhaps in 2015, I shared with someone this idea of, “measuring the impact of someone” and paying them accordingly for their positive impact on the world. It is stemmed from the foresight that we are all slowly marching toward a kind of social credit system and we must compensate for the injustices that are created by such a system.
But, if society doesn’t take the impact measurement seriously, we, as individual can still use it.
How about taking a moment and evaluate the impact of your daily activities?
Everyone has their definition of success. How about viewing your success as the outcome of a greater positive impact in the world? Once your mindset changes in this way, your activities in this world changes, too. The way that you view work, family, and life in this world changes. With this type of mindset, will you finally find some alignment between your truths and the truths around you?