Leaders as Their Best Selves (Part 2)

Leaders Being Their Best Selves (part 2)

Steve Jobs said “You have to be burning with an idea or a problem or a wrong you want to right.  If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”  I think he was talking about Thought Leaders.  You might be asking:  What’s a thought leader?  Do I know one?  Could I be one?  Am I already one? 

Here’s a working definition for a Thought Leader. 

Informed opinion leaders and go-to people in their field of expertise.  Trusted sources whoinspire people with innovative ideas who then turn their ideas into reality and know how to replicate their success.

Many of us read articles about finding your passion, or working your passion and then we wonder if we really have found ours, whether in our career or in our life.  Well, hopefully some of you have because that is the vital first step to being a thought leader.  It takes true passion to get deeply enough into being influential to be considered a thought leader.

Living your passion means you are able to clarify your level of expertise and stick to it. It doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers.  Instead it means that you are never finished fine-tuning your craft, be it starting businesses, transitioning people or organizations, inventing a new type of rubber band, or writing poetry.  The steps for moving into a position of thought leadership are typically the following:

1)     Find your passion

2)     Build your ripples of influence

3)     Activate your advocates

4)     Put your “I” on the line

5)     Incite revolution or evolution

Thought leadership is not a about being known.  It’s much more about being known for making a difference.

Here are some well-known Thought Leaders who have done just that: 

(1) Daniel Pink

(2) Malcolm Gladwell

(3) Thomas Friedman

(4) Sheena Iyengar

(5) John Kotter

(6) Rita Gunther McGrath

Check them out and see if you agree.  Who would you add to this list?