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.