Three Ways To Make An Impact Today!

I spent the last week being part of three panels in events filled with many current and aspiring thought leaders and we discussed a range of topics within the diversity, inclusion and leadership field.

My favorite things about being on panels is the moment when the audience gets to ask questions. You get to hear their pain points. One such pain point that kept coming up was how to get over the barrier of not feeling qualified enough or ready to start. Listed below are three things I recommended.

Be A Curator: If you're struggling with just starting, think about being a manager or overseer in your industry or field of interest. You can add value by sorting through large amounts of content on the web and presenting the best posts in a meaningful and organized way. The process can include sifting, sorting, arranging, and placing found content into specific themes, and then publishing that information. People will find value in this because you would have saved them time. It also allows you to become the Google of your niche.

Be A Creator: This one is self explanatory. It is the contribution of information to any media for an end-user. Typical forms of content creation include maintaining and updating web sites, blogging, photography, videography, online commentary, the maintenance of social media accounts, and other forms of digital media. If you do this right, people will find value in this because you will be able to be an educator and thought leader that people will crave information from. Your thoughts and opinions will help guide others as they make important decisions. You're essentially a mentor from afar.

Be A Connector: Connectors are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. If  you believe that this is you, create a list of as many people you know in your social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and then make a habit of determining who needs to know who on a weekly basis. Once you have that list, make the intros. According to Malcolm Gladwell, connectors have some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy. People will find value in this because you will literally be connecting people to things they need to grow.

You could identify as one of these, two of these or all three but whatever you discover, remember that doing is the best form of experience so go out today, do and use your difference to make a difference.

 

How To Build A Following With Your Expertise

One of the most common challenges I have noticed while working with aspiring thought leaders and change makers is that a lot of them struggle with ways to position themselves as experts or the go-to people in their field of interest.

In fact, the number one question I get asked is this:

"What is the best way to communicate to my potential clients and the world that I am a subject matter expert in XXX?"

Essentially, they want to know how they can translate their expertise in a way that demonstrates trust and leads to a following.

So I recently asked Josue Peña, a growth expert who has a 200 million follower network this same question when I interviewed him for Thought Leader Academy and here's what he said: 

  • Provide value in what you're an expert in OR
  • Become the Google of the niche you want to be an expert in

Let me explain...

Provide Value In What You're An Expert In

Is there something you are legitimately good at and passionate about?

Share it with the world!

Identify one or two channels that you can consistently share your ideas, frameworks, messages and thoughts on.

Consider the following methods when providing value.

Create Content: You can do this by using one of these or all there (blogs, vlogs or podcasts). I mentioned these three because some of you may consume information in different ways. 

Whatever way you do, always create content and have it all point to a personal website of yours.

You can't avoid this!

Start off by doing this once a week and see if you can build from there. This will train you to organize your thoughts efficiently and coherently! 

Having a personal website is important because it's your digital home and is not subject to the algorithm changes other platforms that aren't yours may experience. It also allows you to collect email addresses which you can use to develop deeper bonds and relationships.

Speak: When starting out, you don't have to do anything too complex here. Start out locally and identify industry events, chapter meetings, and networking meetings that would benefit from hearing your voice. By consistently sharing your knowledge, you’ll hone your ability to communicate effectively and see what resonates vs what doesn't. It will also help with your confidence as you will become more comfortable with the idea that you're an expert. This will serve as a good reminder to you when that pesky imposter syndrome decides to show up. Make sure you document your presentations by recording it as well as taking photos. The videos could be used as part of your speaker reel, your YouTube channel or repurposed as social media content, blog posts or podcast episodes.

Also, make sure you collect testimonials! They will help to validate you.

Coach/Consult: Once you've consistently been creating content and speaking, you'll be able to position yourself as a coach or consultant to individuals, corporations and both because you'd have had the assets to back up your credibility at this point.

Creating content and speaking will help you develop your voice and frameworks.

So don't be afraid to step out as a coach or consultant. Even if you only have one or two clients to start off with, provide value for them and they will become followers or even better, evangelists.

Become The Google Of The Niche You Want To Be An Expert In

So what exactly does it mean to be the Google of the niche you want to be an expert in? 

Well, let's think about what you use Google for.

You use it to:

find out what something is,

how to do something OR

where to go

Now apply that same concept to an expertise you're interested in developing.

If you don't feel like you're an expert in anything, then think about what field you want to be an expert in and create a list of all the things you want to know about that field. 

Got it?

Good! Now, start documenting your journey towards getting there.

As you're documenting, you will be doing things like:

  1. Listing out the recurring themes that come up in your conversations with your clients/prospects -- you can even keep a note on your phone so you have it with you all the time
  2. Keeping track of new trends, tips, or tools that are important for your market to know about? You can talk about it yourself or bring on a guest expert to your platform to discuss
  3. Sharing what's working for YOU right now? "Behind the scenes" is something your audience will love because it humanizes you
  4. Sharing learning experiences you have had recently. Think of breakthroughs, setbacks, obstacles, or a challenge you're working through now or have overcome in the past
  5. Sharing ways to help your customers/audience save time or money! Take what you're seeing in your market and share some of the mistakes you know are being made out there
  6. Busting a myth or dispelling a rumor in your industry - show a different perspective, bring a sense of calm, and help people overcome changes in the market
  7. Sharing changes YOU are making to what you are doing and WHY. Essentially, sharing your own evolution and learning with your audience to build trust

All these will build your credibility as well as your relatability. It’s what will drive sales, brand awareness and more importantly, It’s what will grow your following.  

If you can effectively communicate that you are a subject matter expert, you will gain tremendous leverage over your competition because people love direction and crave connection.

You will be solving a problem or helping someone be a better version of themselves.

At the end of the day, people want to be heard, seen and understood. They want to know that they have value. My hope is that you become that guide for your tribe. 

So my questions for you today are these: 

  • How can you start providing value in what you’re an expert in today?
  • What niche can you become to Google of to your followers today?

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If you want to work with me one on one, click here.

If you want to learn from several of the brightest thought leaders in the world, click here.

What Are Your Connectors?

I remember the first time I felt different. 

I was 10 and I had just started going to an International school in Burkina Faso.

Suddenly I was this skinny Nigerian kid with a strong Nigerian accent in a French speaking country in an American intenational school going through puberty. 

I need to find a way to connect and my default had always been sports. 

At that time, I only knew how to play soccer but when I looked around me, I saw that people were playing basketball. 

So I decided that I needed to learn how to play basketball. 

I went to the library and checked out all the books on basketball and then all the Sports Illustrated for Kids. 

Once I got the fundamentals down, I now needed to apply it to the courts. 

I went to the best basketballer on campus and asked him if he could teach me the game. 

He said yes and our 1 on 1’s became 2 on 2’s then 3 on 3’s and then 4 on 4’s and then 5 on 5’s 

All of sudden our differences didn’t matter anymore. I had Ivorian, Taiwanese, Dutch, Cameroonian and American teammates but on that court we were one. 

We had a common goal to win! 

What if we applied that to everyday life? How much of a difference would that make?

Find your connectors and use it to connect across cultures. 

Mine are sports, pop culture and geography. What are yours?

Have You Done Everything You Said You Were Going To Do In This World?

Have you ever felt like you could use your voice to do more? Like there’s a message buried deep down inside you and yet you just don’t know how to articulate it? 

This was me for a while after I graduated from college. Until one fateful day.  I’ll never forget the day. August 22, 2012. I was driving to a place of work that I had lost my identity in when all of a sudden, my lane was cut in half by another car that had lost control and I smashed into multiple guardrails, hit two cars and nearly flipped over the bridge. 

At that moment, as I saw my life flash before me, only one thought came to my mind.

“Have you done EVERYthing you said you were going to do in life?”

I couldn’t answer that question in the affirmative and as my adrenaline kicked in, I slammed the breaks and somehow managed to get out of the car unscathed. 

.I couldn’t believe it. I had been given a second chance. I wasn’t supposed to survive that accident but...that was my wake up call. I retook my identity that day. 

I quit my job shortly after that and moved to New York City. I started the As Told By Nomads podcast which most of you know me for and began to tell my story and share all that I had learned about communication from my travels. 

I found freedom in telling my story and sharing lessons I had learned from being a minority everywhere I grew up. 

Now after years of speaking on hundreds of stages including TEDx three times and the World Bank, I’d love to share all that I have learned. 

But before I go any further, I have one question for you as 2018 looms ahead. 

Have you done everything you said you were going to do in this world? 

Have you?

If not, what’s holding you back? How would you feel if you could deliver your powerful messages to people from all walks of life on multiple stages while getting featured in publications that amplify your exposure and get your story in front of those that need to hear it?

Great right? Maybe even intimidating but that’s a good feeling. It means you’re closer to your calling. 

There are too many hidden change-makers today but the world won’t feel your impact if it’s not VOICED out. 

It’s like Marianne Williamson said, “playing small does not serve the world”. 

If this is you and you feel ready to take that leap, I’d love to invite you to Thought Leadership Academy where my good friend Amanda Rivera and I will walk you through everything you need to  know to be the speaker, thought leader and influencer you deserve to be! Hope to see you there!