How to start a movement
Think. Write. Lead. - Issue #53
There are certain people I like to read and follow. And they read and follow each other. And we get invited to the same podcasts and get quoted and tagged by the same people.
Some are more high profile than others and you could measure their success on different levels. But what I discovered is that we've been communicating similar concepts and thoughts.
It seems we truly believe what we preach about thought leadership, category creation, and marketing.
It just feels eerie when I'm writing something and then read someone else saying the same thing before I publish mine. Or I listen to a podcast and the guest is saying what I just said in another podcast that has not been released yet.
Is this just thought cross-contamination and lack of originality? Or is it something else?
They're certainly not copycats, as they're practitioners who put a lot of thought into their work.
I'd like to see it in a more positive light: our ideas are taking hold and are being amplified.
It means there's a movement: a group of people who share the same beliefs, ideas, or aims.
If you repeat your leading thoughts often enough, eventually others will repeat them.
Writing like a thought leader is one sure way to start a movement, something not done in isolation, but in community.
Gone are the days of the mythical writer secluded in a cabin in the woods coming up with fantastic ideas inspired by the muses.
These are the days of digital thought leaders building in public, posting half-baked ideas to generate conversations and get people thinking.
As someone pointed out to me recently, solopreneurs (solo thought leaders) need community more than anyone.
For the past decade, Peter Diamandis has been predicting that as more people get connected to the internet, there will be a renaissance of innovation that will transform our planet.
"What will these 4.2 billion new minds discover? What will they consume? What new companies will they build? What industries will they disrupt? We’ve already seen unprecedented acceleration of network growth and connectivity. But as the other half of our planet plugs into the web, this acceleration will only accelerate."
Yes, connectivity and availability of the internet are one thing. But if all we get is reels of people dancing or being stupid, there's no point. That would just be 4.2 billion more selfies.
There must be a willingness to think about new solutions, challenge the status quo, and predict a new future.
And it all starts with you and me.
For instance, don't just post your answers on social media, post your questions.
Don't just provide solutions, but point to problems and challenge others to find a solution.
I've started to do this with my LinkedIn posts. Here's an example:
I don't have the solution or innovation for online courses yet (my wife is onto something, though), but that didn't stop me from posting.
In other words, don't try to sound clever or pretend that you have all the answers.
Instead, start conversations and be humble. Be willing to learn from others as much as they can learn from you.
Are you part of a movement that preaches similar ideas with fierce passion?
Is your writing based only on answers and solutions or also on questions and problems?
Are you building in public or in isolation?
This week, write about stuff that you haven't found all the answers to yet.
Follow your curiosity and ask questions in public.
Dare to write posts/articles/newsletters that may feel risky because the logic is not perfect.
Unlike releasing songs and movies, which have to be perfect, releasing leading thoughts is more like a work in progress within your niche community.
Great thought leadership ideas are refined through feedback and iterations.
Bounce off ideas with others, collaborate with fellow writers, and test your hypotheses with communities of peers.
That's how you start a movement.
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