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Asking for Help and Other Hard Phrases for Thought Leaders


Thought leaders are typically pretty smart. They tend to be an independent bunch that work in isolation rather than collaborating, and are incredibly articulate, fantastic, communicators. They’re the best at what they do. That being said, there are two things that I find it rather difficult for thought leaders to say.

I don’t know. 

This is challenging because it is not something they usually have to deal with.  After all they usually do know; however what they know is often limited to their respective areas of expertise or domain.  Logical, right?  Many do not like to admit they don’t know something and it’s really a bit silly.

Say you’re a thought leader in the area of communications, or leadership.  There are so many things that you know a great deal about, perhaps more than any of your peers and actually you may be the most knowledgeable person on the planet about a few rather specific issues.  By default it should be obvious that there are many, many things that you just don’t know much about and those things could be hindering your success.  Try defaulting to “I don’t know” a couple of times and you will soon realize it isn’t that difficult to do and it opens your mind up to partnering with those that do.

Once you’ve mastered I don’t know and experienced some of the benefits of taking that approach on occasion you’re ready to move to the really hard stuff, in fact the hardest one for most thought leaders to say.

I need help.
We become experts and thought leaders by working hard, by being focused, by overcoming challenges and obstacles on a semi regular basis.  Sure we’ve had a mentor or two along the way – but asking for help?  That’s scary, it makes you vulnerable, and it’s very un-thought leader like isn’t it?  Not at all.

In order to build out your platform, in order to leverage your content, in order to monetize your work effectively you are going to need help.  You’re going to need to ask for it and you’re going to need it in more than one area.  You cannot possibly have the expertise to not only create and deliver killer content but to market it, package it and port it into multiple modalities.  In fact, the more time you spend doing the things that are outside of your sweet spot the more frustrated you’ll become and quite frankly the efficacy of those non-core things will be far from optimal.  Great content coupled with crappy marketing or solution development equals a frustrated (and often broke) thought leader.

Learn to ask for help in areas that you need it and you’ll immediately see the benefit of receiving it.

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

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