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What Is a Thought Leader?

“Thought Leader.” It sounds important. Big. Impressive. But what is a thought leader – really?

Honestly, I don’t even like the words, thought leader, because it’s a very overused term.

But in its truest sense, a thought leader is someone whose views on a subject are taken to be authoritative as well as influential. So, to be a thought leader, you must have influence. To be an influencer, you must be a thought leader.

When asked, most people will say that thought leaders are people with lots of influence and have a celebrity-like status. People like Tony Robbins, Sheryl Sandberg, Mother Teresa, Lady Gaga, Presidents of countries, the Pope, or Bill Gates, may come to mind.

There are certainly many others. But what if thought leaders and influencers were also ordinary people?

People who know or suspect that they have knowledge, talent, and experiences to share but just don’t know how to become known in their field?

According to Jim Rohn, who was a highly respected author, entrepreneur, and motivational leader, thought leaders and influencers are people who have something of value to share.

Not convinced you could become one? Here are some more examples: mommy Bloggers are thought leaders and influencers.

Caitlyn Pyle, someone you may never have heard of, went out on a limb after many career failures to become a thought leader and influencer in the proofreading field. She now teaches others how to become proofreaders.

Margaret Manning, a woman over sixty, started Sixty and Me, an online community, to connect with women over sixty and share information on how to have a positive mindset about aging.

Jeff Siegel is the Wine Curmudgeon. He has a blog that focuses on cheap wine. He writes in plain and simple words for the purpose of educating ordinary, average people about wine.

Amy Kraushaar is an American ex-pat living in Portugal. You’ve probably never heard of her either. Over the 18 years of living in Portugal, she has become a thought leader and influencer for people who are considering relocating to Portugal.

These are a few examples of ordinary people who have achieved success with blogs and businesses, but you can also find thought leaders and influencers practically in your own backyard.

Are you inspired by a pastor at your church? Do you know a teacher whose students flock to her for advice or help?

Have you ever watched the nightly news to see a little boy or girl start a food drive or a program to help the less fortunate? These ordinary people are thought leaders and influencers – even if it’s within their own community.

So, that begs the question – what kind of thought leader could you become?

Perhaps you want to:

  • Be more respected by your peers
  • Teach people how to be better managers or leaders
  • Become a speaker
  • Attract more customers to your business
  • Write a book or start a blog
  • Advance your career and attract top recruiters
  • Become known as an innovator to attract new investors to your startup
  • Bring new patients into your healthcare practice
  • To make a positive impact on your community

The possibilities to become a thought leader and influencer are endless!

Now, do you have what it takes? Let’s find out.

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Written by

Carol A. Wilcox

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