Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Thought Leader?

On December the 16th, 1903 Orville Wright was quoted by a close friend of the family who assisted with the assembling of their ‘Flying Machine’ as saying, “If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance.” Not even twenty four hours later the pair of ambitious brothers would walk up a hill in Kitty Hawk North Carolina and set history. From their pet project the world of aeronautics was forged. December 17th, 1903 will stand as the birth date of modern flight.
What’s interesting is not that they succeeded, but that no one from the press or government was there to see it firsthand. Why? Because the Wright brothers were thought leaders in their generation. They had no publicity, no financial backing and no allies. The world had its eyes fixed on Dr. Samuel Langley of the Smithsonian Institute. This just further proves that you don’t always need a crowd to cheer you on when you are operating in your purpose. Orville and Wilbur were fully convinced that their lives would leave a legacy of greatness. And they were right beyond their wildest dreams.
So the question remains; What do you feel you’re here to do? Before you answer, let me remind you of the cost that is associated with emerging as a thought leader. First, you will have to become comfortable with doing things alone. The Wright brothers had tons of people excited about their ideas but they did not choose to stick it out until the end. Next, you had better develop some tough skin. People are going to ridicule and attempt to deflate your dreams. In fact, it is this very thing that confirms you are heading in the right direction.

Here are some keys signs that you are a thought leader:

  • You always seem to be thinking on the cutting edge: I’ve heard it said that “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room!” I absolutely love that! Life requires us to be fearless and sometimes jump and grow wings on the way down. Where ever you feel you belong in life, I am willing to bet it is on the outside of your little comfort zone. Thought leaders are willing to push the boundaries and limits life tries to put on them.
  • You have a gift to solve a specific problem: Here is life in a nutshell; you will either be remembered for the problems you solved or the ones you created. That’s it! What drives our economy and even perceived value is the elimination of a problem. We get a haircut because we have a ‘hair’ problem, we buy food because we have a ‘hunger’ problem. Thought leaders are slowly discovering the fact that they are gifted for certain issues.
  • You empower others to greatness: When you say you are going to help someone that is much different than empowering them. Help always gives the implication of deficiency. Empowerment says a person already has greatness, you are simply making them aware of the ‘ON’ switch. Empowerment is about activating what is available in every human being. Thought leaders don’t create followers, they launch leaders.
It’s been about 110 years since the Wright brothers launched a flying machine risking life and limb for the sake of science. The crazy thing was they weren’t even inventors. They were working in their families bicycle shop. But when there is innovation in your heart, you find a way to manifest it. Being a thought leader takes plenty of courage. I believe there is thought leadership in us all and we have waited long enough. The world should not be deprived another second from the brilliance you and I possess. This is a call for all thought leaders to ARISE.
See ya at the top!
Early Jackson

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