If you aren’t pissing someone off, you are doing something wrong. You have a perspective, a unique point of view coupled with your expertise and supported by your models, research, and experience in your space.
There’s a reason why you feel so strongly about certain things, why you’re so vocal and passionate about the work you do. So, why is it that when you communicate, either through your content or face to face with your audience, that you water it down a bit?
You don’t want to offend anyone and you’d prefer that everyone agreed with you (or at least if those that disagree kept it to themselves).
I think that part of being a thought leader is being able to tell the world that this is who you are, this is what you believe in (and here’s why), and if they don’t like it, that’s ok.
Maybe you’d prefer everyone rally around your thinking or that you just really don’t care for confrontation, but I think that’s the wrong approach.
As a matter of fact, I believe if you don’t have passion about what you do, if you don’t piss off a few people some of the time,
then you’re diluting what you do until it’s just more noise. The world is flooded with content today and most of it is just not good.
In fact there’s a ton of thoughtless nonsense out there every day for people to waste their time with. It’s honorable to have a point of view, to stick with your guns, and be ok with offending some folks on occasion.
Everyone loves ice cream, but we rarely crave generic supermarket vanilla. We want something with texture, with flavor, something a bit different that stands out in the crowd. Life’s too short to settle for a lousy cup of coffee, a mediocre glass of cabernet, or content that is just plain vanilla.
Spice up your content by asking the tough questions, dealing with the issues that people dance around, and by being a bit controversial. It won’t win every argument and it won’t win over every client, but those that do lean in and align with your work will be more inspired and more engaged. We want to be around inspirational people, passionate people that aren’t afraid to tackle the elephant in the room. Controversy and conflict can be a competitive advantage if you have the courage to consistently speak with conviction and authenticity.