The holiday season provides a natural period of reflection. So, as you look ahead to the impending new year and the opportunity it provides to reset, reevaluate, and begin anew, you can determine not only what you’d like to achieve in 2017, but exactly how to go about achieving it.
If one of your goals in 2017 is to set yourself apart from the crowd and put your career or your business into overdrive, you need to do this one thing: become a thought leader.
To get there, follow these three tips and watch your future explode!
1. Become a Consumer of Knowledge
To ascend to a high level of thought leadership, you must make the commitment to become a constant consumer of knowledge. I don’t care if you have every degree known to man, learning doesn’t stop on graduation day—learning is habitual. It literally needs to be a part of your daily existence, which means taking the time to read at least 20 minutes daily. Consume audio books or podcasts in your area of expertise when you ‘re driving, cooking, exercising, or engaged in any activity that doesn’t quite demand your full focus or attention.
Also, depending upon your specific career goal, you might consider taking advantage of more structured learning opportunities, like acquiring additional professional certifications. And don’t forget to take the time to connect with and learn from mentors, coaches, or other professionals that are currently where you’d like to be. It’s this extra investment in yourself and your knowledge base, which will bolster your expertise and help grow the confidence necessary to boldly share your ideas with the world.
2. Become a Creator of Knowledge
Knowing more means nothing, if your thoughts remain hidden inside your own head. Thought leadership requires that you share your perspectives with the world. That means, you’ve got to produce content that will establish you as an expert in your field.
In today’s world, the possibilities for content creation is virtually limitless, and, in many cases, they’re available to you for no or low cost. In fact, some could even lead to extra revenue! Start your own blog, contribute to your company’s blog, or write for online or offline publications specific to your industry. Write a book, or take advantage of the latest and fastest growing trend in content creation, live streaming, by utilizing platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube, and Instagram.
The point is, unlike days gone by, you needn’t worry about impressing gatekeepers to get your ideas out to the world. You just need to be bold enough to step up to the plate, and share them yourself.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Take a Stand
Leaders lead. That means they’re not afraid to stand up for what’s right, even if, at first, that requires standing alone. As a thought leader, you can’t be afraid of controversy. Instead, you must be willing to tap into your expertise, and utilize it to convince others why your perspective is valuable and worth following. It’s precisely this type of bold leadership that’s most respected, meaningful, and impactful. You must be willing to say what others won’t, in order to achieve what others don’t.
Dr. Avis is a Diversity & Inclusion Solutionist, International Speaker, and Executive Coach. She’s the Author of the award-winning book, How Exceptional Black Women Lead and Founder of the Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women. Learn more by logging onto www.avisjonesdeweever.com