Do you consider yourself to be a Thought Leader? Chances are you likely don’t or haven’t really thought about it. However, I want you to start…
Our perception of thought leaders is as someone who holds a leadership position in their country, company, industry, or community, someone who has been recognized by others as a thought leader.
While these individuals might be recognized as thought leaders, they often represent an older way of thinking, they often come from more traditional backgrounds and often look similar from a cultural, race, ability, and gender perspective. This is the very thing that we need to challenge.
The Mosaic of Diversity in Our World
Our world is comprised of a mosaic of colors, genders, cultures, ages, and cognitive and physical abilities. Our thought leaders need to reflect on this mosaic so we are able to create a future that is both representative and inclusive of the thinking of these diverse groups.
The stories that we are telling ourselves today represent the future we will create 50 years from now. Don’t believe me, just look back 50 years, what stories were we all reading, seeing, creating, and living? Our society was deep into the ‘space race’ looking at a future of space travel, we were focused on a future that included flying cars, self-opening doors, tablets that we could write on, and communicators that we could operate at the touch of a button.
The Importance of Diverse Voices in Thought Leadership
Now look around you, do you notice how every one of these innovations is something we use daily? Flying cars aren’t quite the norm, however, with drone technology, we aren’t far away. The ’60s and ’70s represented some really radical changes to the way we think, women began using their voice, no longer content to be in the shadows, demanding they be seen, heard, and listened to. This led to many other marginalized groups also finding their voices and beginning their quest to be seen, heard, acknowledged, recognized, and respected. We have a long way to go, however, it is for this very reason that we need more diverse voices in our thought leadership.
Embracing Your Unique Background and Experience
Perhaps you don’t have a traditional background, or education, or maybe you identify on the spectrum of gender, race and/or neurodiversity. Your lived experience provides a context and a backdrop for others to be able to understand your unique ideas. Ideas that were formed BECAUSE OF your unique life. Diversity in our thought leadership is needed now more than ever. In a changing and diverse world, divergent thinkers and leaders are needed to create and contribute to a future that includes and values the spectrum that humanity encompasses. Your thoughts, your ideas are needed to create this solution.
The Power of Storytelling in Thought Leadership
I came to this realization after spending almost 25 years in marketing and advertising as a senior leader working with client and creative teams developing communication strategies and conducting research. Working with Fortune 100 clients, I gave presentations daily and considered myself a good, sometimes great communicator. I loved creating compelling communications that changed the way people thought of brands. However, one day, while working on a large campaign, it hit me… I wanted to create a better world, not just create more consumerism, but create an impact that contributed toward a larger purpose. At that moment, I realized I was an idealist in a capitalist world. This realization led me to rethink my career and to look at my life through the lens of purpose and what I was doing to create a better world.
Join the Movement for Diverse Thought Leadership
The reality was that working in marketing and advertising required that I be a good communicator, however, it wasn’t until I began working with TEDx that I learned the secret to becoming a great communicator. I learned the art of telling a compelling story that holds an idea so that audiences are able to understand, connect to, and be inspired by the future that this idea underpins. Working with TEDx speakers and helping them shape their talks, helped me to understand the power of storytelling and of embedding an idea inside a story. This is what every good TED talk does, it takes your idea, and your thought leadership, and embeds it inside a compelling and engaging story. This creates interest, understanding, and connections so you create the impact that you want to make!
So my message to you today is…
Step up and into your thought leadership.
Use your unique background, and your unique view and articulate your idea so others can hear it in ways that are meaningful to them and to you.
Your story and your idea together provide a diverse backdrop so your thought leadership can contribute to the story we are all co-creating together of the future we want. If you’re ready to learn how to use your unique voice and perspective to share your message and make a meaningful impact on the world, consider joining the movement for diverse thought leadership today.
As we strive to create an inclusive future, it’s crucial to develop the skills necessary to effectively share our unique perspectives and ideas. The Thought Leader Academy offers comprehensive courses and resources that empower individuals to become impactful thought leaders, leveraging the power of storytelling and embracing diversity.