To become a leader in your industry, you need to do things differently to the norm. And first and foremost this takes being certain and confident in your expertise. This is why this work comes AFTER you’ve optimised how your clients get results. Because to confidently LEAD you need to know that what you do matters and makes a difference to people's lives.
What do I mean? When you look at some of the great personal development experts- think Mel Robbins, Brendan Burchard- they fall back time and again on research. And what is research? It’s finding out the results of actions taken. YOUR work with clients is research. It’s testing out your theories with your clients to see what the outcomes are- and if they are congruent with how you got results yourself, or working with clients 1:1, or previous iterations of your programs. You can then talk about these results in a much more confident way- does that make sense?
It’s also about being honest about the type of leader YOU want to be-so you can start to BECOMING that leader TODAY. Why? We know that marketing takes time- so this is shortening the time it will take for others to RECOGNISE your leadership. It also means that you can create a plan to build your authority- so that you can be focused to make it happen.
Here is something I have realised in my own journey of leadership. There is no point in waiting until you are confident, because confidence comes with action.
Instead, I want you to come from a place of inner knowing that you are capable of leading. Let’s face it- if you’ve got this far you KNOW that you are capable AND you’ve decided to read an article on leadership- so that ambition comes from somewhere!
When I tell people that I used to be a secondary school teacher (high school for my non-UK friends) in challenging schools in outer London, the usual response is ‘Oh my God, I could never do that- stand in front of a class of teenagers? I can’t think of anything worse!’ And yes, that first term, in a new school where the kids don’t know you is hard and tiring. Why? Because you are showing up every day, getting to know hundreds of kids, not knowing how they will behave/respond. It’s only by bringing that inner knowing that you can get them on side and build a relationship- and make it through that first term. Not confidence- because that takes time.
It’s also NOT about becoming THE leader of your space. Denise Duffield- Thomas talks about this in her book Chillpreneur (updated recently to Chill and Prosper). Quite often we can stop ourselves from speaking up about the changes we want to see in our industry because it can be scary. However, she reminds us that we do not need to be the GURU in our industry. But instead to see ourselves as a contributor to the conversation. As a fellow introvert, I can tell you that this is exactly how I have to see myself to hit publish on blog posts like this! Once I see myself as adding to the conversation, my fear subsides and I can share what I know some people need to hear.
So where do you start? With the desire to create a positive impact. Let me remind you, you are not coming from a blank page here. You are ALREADY leading in your programs- which is why your business is successful! So think about how you are already doing this and what you can add. It can be calling out the frustrations you have with your industry AND (more importantly) providing your solution based on your expertise. It could be talking about how things have changed for the better in your industry, as a result of something that seemed problematic at first. It’s about speaking up and sharing your opinions-based on your experience.
This is what builds authority- the rant is fine as long as you are backing it up with the alternative. This is what will make others sit up and notice and possibly change their own behaviour too.
Another way to start is to collaborate with others in your industry, rather than seeing them as competition. This is a great way to bring about change- specifically when your expertise may be different to theirs. This could be in the form of a podcast chat, an Instagram live or maybe hosting a summit. This is putting your expertise before your ego, as you are demonstrating to yourself that you don’t know everything in your field BUT you do specialise and have solutions based on that specialism.
It’s also about leading within your own business. True leadership in your business is about valuing impact over income. It's knowing how you get results, and who for and not being afraid to be honest and say to people that your program won’t work for them if they are not a right fit. It’s being clear who you are not for. In the short term, this will mean that your sales may take a small dip however, in the long term they will increase as you can be clearer on who you get results for and how. It’s also about leading your team- but valuing their input as experts in their own right too. It’s also about making decisions in line with the legacy you are building- rather than just towards the next revenue milestone.
Overall, you want to be leading to create a positive impact. To be at peace with doing things differently. To value being collaborative over competitive. And most importantly it’s about putting your expertise BEFORE your ego, shifting your business focus to impact over income and to recognise that you can always improve on what you currently have.
Are you looking to become a leader in your industry? Then book a call to see what’s the next right step to building your business legacy
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Rachel Aiken is an Online Business Strategist who works with female experts to innovate client results and become a leader in their industry so that they can build a meaningful business legacy.