The Proprietary Paradox

“The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.”

— Voltiare

I’m going to tell you a major secret in today’s Gem of Genius. 

Here’s how you become a Thought Leader:

You’re going to teach your audience something. They’re going to tell someone else what you taught them because they want to feel smart. They want to look smart in the eyes of their peers.

So in other words, being a Thought Leader is not at all about you feeling like a Thought Leader. It’s about making your audience member feel like a Thought Leader.

Now that I’ve told you that, I’ve also got to tell you the trick to making this happen. You’ve got to ensure that whatever you teach is very easily memorized and repeated. You’ve got to be extremely quotable.

So a big part of the job of being a Thought Leader is making your material easy to consume and repeat.

Here’s one way it won’t work: if you’re sidetracked and concerned with your audience “stealing” your material, you won’t get to be a Thought Leader. 

I’m not saying you should outright encourage this behavior, but you need to realize that it is going to happen and your status depends, in part, upon it happening.