“The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.”
— Horace Walpole
If you’re an expert about something, you may have a chance of becoming a Thought Leader in that subject. If you do and say the right things, you will attract an audience that respects your intelligence, pays you money to teach them, and complies with your instructions.
And at its root, remember, was your expertise regarding a certain subject.
Sounds pretty groovy, huh?
But then something else happens. Something that you probably didn’t expect, and may not even notice at first.
The same crowd that wants advice for you about “X” then starts to ask about “Y.” You know a little about Y, and you want to help them, and it feels good to help them. So you give them a few pointers about “Y.”
Well, to a point…
Pursuant to the quote, you should be able to have a few subjects you can intelligently consult around. You don’t want to be a one-trick pony. So if subject “Y” is adjacent to subject “X,” and you know a thing or two that would be helpful to your audience, don’t be afraid to let them bring it up.
But the next thing you know, that audience is asking for advice about how to raise their kids; about how handle a conflict with their spouse; if they should sell their house. And none of those things have anything to do with “X” or even “Y.”
You’re out of your depth, but they ask, so you answer.
Do you see the monster yet? The one that keeps asking for food and gets bigger with every meal?
No, the monster is not your ego, although your ego certainly helps to feed it. It’s your audience’s appetite for a leader.
Don’t feed the monster.