The human side of thought leadership


Boring. I admit it. Most of the articles I write about thought leadership focus on the bland, boring stuff. Topics like technique, finding your voice, strategy and other necessary evils. Without a doubt, they are relevant topics, but a bit of snooze.

So today, I am focusing on the human side of the topic. The side that is often overlooked by subject matter experts in our rush to prove our technical mastery and overall brilliance.

Why focus on the human side? Because I believe your why is the foundation and main motivator for your writing. Your why goes beyond the superficial reasons and gets to the heart of the matter. It also gets you through the long-tail of thought leadership that I talked about recently.

The reasons you share your thoughts are diverse, unique to you and often deeply personal. You are moved by your ideas to the point that you can no longer keep them bottled up. But another important reason; you owe a few people the gift of sharing them.

You owe it to the people you will help

Generating ideas is exciting for the entrepreneur or the A type personality. For most of you, ideas flow freely and at breakneck speeds from your mind. Even the simplest, seemingly insignificant idea can gain legs when paired with a beneficiary. Ask yourself; whom will this help?

As thought leaders, we all want to go big. In reality, most of us make a much smaller ripple in the enormous puddle of life. I believe that if your ideas change the world one person at a time, it is better than not at all. And you change the world in a way that only you can; with your unique imprint.

You owe it to your legacy

Most people go to their graves with a laundry list of regrets. Among those is the regret of not doing more; not capturing their ideas to leave behind for their heirs or anyone who would benefit. A lifetime of hard-earned knowledge just slips away. You may not have a book in you, but you do have an abundance of experience and wisdom to share.

As a founder or entrepreneur, the people who come up behind you have no blueprint without your written insights. I recently lost a friend when he died unexpectedly at the age of 52. He was running a vibrant, growing business and seemed to be at the top of his game. We suddenly found ourselves standing at his burial site watching the casket lowered into the ground with all that know-how locked inside. We were left with far more questions than answers.

You owe it to yourself

It is said that the faintest ink is mightier than the sharpest memory. It can be torture to know you have forgotten some of your best ideas. And what about the ideas you didn't realize were the best ones? Yup, they are gone, too.

Don’t let the thought of writing prevent you from taking action. Think small steps. Begin with a few blog-length articles. Keep a journal. Take good notes. You may even find the creative process to be therapeutic. Or perhaps you are ahead of the game with several articles already in the can. Consider using the blog-to-book process to turn them into something bigger.

The human side of thought leadership is far more motivating than just writing to meet marketing targets. Be bold, be provocative. And for goodness sake, be human.

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