If you can’t possibly imagine yourself pitching around the clock or tracking down potential clients, convincing them to hire you, for the next 5 -10 years of your life, it’s time to seriously start thinking about claiming your thought leadership and honing your expert voice.
Becoming an industry leader doesn’t only look like writing a best-selling business book or delivering keynote speeches at top conferences once you have 20 years of experience.
It CAN, but it’s also possible to operate from a place of leadership right now. And we believe it should be an important priority for you. Becoming a known industry voice is a powerful recipe for career longevity – it’s how you safeguard your livelihood, and how you can make your life more lively and rich.
Here’s your five-step guide to moving through your career while expanding your influence.
1. Get to know your future self
We are all often working toward some future in which things are better. We are more confident, more flush with cash, able to nail that headstand, etc. While identifying specific knowledge gaps is great, it’s also important to check in with this future self and ask yourself to figure out: What does she know that I don’t? What does she believe that I don’t? How does she feel that I don’t? From there, you can work on adding in the knowledge; shifting the beliefs with tools like thought work, EFT, or a morning writing practice; and identifying how you can create the feeling you imagine in the future in the present.
Becoming a known industry voice is a powerful recipe for career longevity – it’s how you safeguard your livelihood, and how you can make your life more lively and rich.
1. Identify your knowledge gaps
Are you hiding from your money? Terrified of turning people down? Completely faking the part of the presentation where you talk about evaluation and metrics? Is SEO a vague concept? Do you know how to create a project plan, read a profit and loss statement, update your website, edit a photo and add some text? Figure out where you are hiding in your work because of a lack of information – and then find a coach, program, book, whatever – to close that gap once and for all.
3. Get in the room
If you want to be around the experts, the movers and shakers in your industry, then have to get in the room with them. This is why going to conferences is important, why showing up for that panel discussion is worth it, why joining that expert’s group program matters. Whether you are volunteering your time or paying the fee to attend, you need to get in the room with actual humans you believe have “made it.” How else can you spark the conversation and make the connection?
4. Build your platform
If you build it, they might not come right away, but at least you’ll have a place to proactively send people who want to learn more about you. Get your personal brand in order, build your website, contribute thought leadership, write your darn book already! You do no one any favors, least of all yourself, by waiting for a magic moment to finally put yourself out there, to present your expertise and begin stepping in to the spotlight.
4. Stay curious
In addition to being oh-so-good for your brain, employing a curious approach to life is what keeps you invested and involved in the world around you. Don’t ignore the pings to explore new ideas, skills, and experiences. You never know if that water rafting trip is where you’ll meet your new co-founder, if that ballroom dance class is where you’ll meet your next client, if that jewelry-making class is the inspiration for your next side hustle. Give your interest time to flourish.