My friends play a game with their young children at the dinner table every evening called: High / Low. Everyone takes turns going through the day and explains what the highlight was and what the low point was of the day. It’s a great way to find out things about your kids that you may never have known. And I highly recommend you try it at your next family dinner, or even at a dinner party.
I Want to Share My Summer High / Low With You
My Highs Involved Powerful Women From 3 Generations:
I taught a family best friend in her 80s (and more vital and active than most women my age) who is dying of brain cancer how to leave her legacy behind on the Internet.
I had weekly strategy calls with a fabulous client in her 60’s around showing herself as the powerful woman that she is. She was so paralyzed with fear because she didn’t want to look like she was “bragging”. She was completely stopping herself from sharing her gifts.
I helped launch an amazing arts festival involving 140 artists from around the world in all disciplines, feeling proud because I coached the founder, age 40 through her crowdfunding campaign where she raised over 100K to make her dream a reality.
My Lows Involved Feeling Stopped and Scared
I spent weeks feeling frozen and scared and then I got really angry at myself because I wasn’t blogging enough and I wasn’t sending my newsletter regularly.
The reason: I have been focused on musicians for so many years that transitioning away from this comfort zone felt so uncomfortable I couldn’t fully get out from under the fear.
And there Was Also My Thought Leadership Quandary
Last summer I decided to explore a new topic: thought leadership. In my mind it was a key element that many need to get an edge. I started interviewing great thought leaders, and presented what I was learning at Creativelive, in London at Campus Party at the O2 Area, and at 85 Broads / Ellevate. It was really taking off.
It didn’t take long for me to realize people hate the term thought leader. I started to see this during interviews. People would physically recoil or dispute the term or try to deflect it away from them.
But this wasn’t the only thing that happened. The crew I hired to film forgot to turn the microphones on, they didn’t find quiet places to shoot, and there were weird lights flashing all over the O2, (and they never mentioned shirt was bizarrely not fitting and my hair was sticking up). I hired my favorite editor to try to salvage the footage… and even with her magic I didn’t love the way it looked and that’s when my little “not good enough” monster started to take over.
And then David Brooks came along with his New York Times Op Ed
That op-ed blew up and I NEVER wanted to see the term again.
Here’s what he said: “The Thought Leader is sort of a highflying, good-doing yacht-to-yacht concept peddler. Each year, he gets to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, where successful people gather to express compassion for those not invited. Month after month, he gets to be a discussion facilitator at think tank dinners where guests talk about what it’s like to live in poverty while the wait staff glides through the room thinking bitter thoughts.”
When The Intelligencer reached out to Brooks for a comment. He responded, “I was just trying to be amusing about the life people like me lead… Nothing more”.
But the damage had been done it was picked up in NY Mag, Salon, Esquire and on thousands of blogs.
I lost All of My Courage to Continue
So… the footage sat on my desktop – until now.
As I agonized about what I wanted to share, this dawned on me:
I taught my dear family friend with brain cancer, my client who was stuck, and the woman who raised $100,000 this:
(choose the one you like)
effect (or effectiveness)
What I’ve realized is after almost 20 years of being a successful entrepreneur is:
If you want to get ahead in any desired field for any reason you must have some influence.
People used to believe that influence came from someone else, perhaps by getting an article written about you or being interviewed on TV or radio. We now know that the new model proves that when you create a sphere of influence you can dictate your own success.
However there’s a lot of noise out these and there’s plenty of fear around showing yourself because to be a great influencer you have to show yourself.
To show yourself you have to be brave enough to fight some inner demons, and possibly some external haters who may not agree with or like what you are saying, or they might not love the words that you choose (like thought leader), or they may not like your shoes (its’ the internet after all). These demons can sabotage you just as you are about to do something big.
I’m gonna get back to doing something big… by rolling out this series.
Amelia Torode has got some fascinating things to say about how your business impacts the people you choose to share it with and the world at large.
My favorite parts are where she gives a killer definition of thought leader and she asks a really important question:
If you stopped sharing your voice tomorrow what would the world be missing?
This my friends, lies at the center of influence.
Follow Amelia Torode on Twitter at @Amelia_Torode
I’m done beating myself up now, I’m back and I look forward to a fabulous fall with all of you.
Want to book a strategy session or a VIP day with me to expand your influence?
I’d love to talk to you.
Where it says: Additional Notes Regarding Your Project write – call / day with Ariel.