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What is a Thought Leader?

The most successful people in leadership positions are successful because they have been positioned as “thought leaders” without necessarily ever hearing the term used before. It’s earned. You can’t label or brand yourself a “Thought Leader”. The people will give it to you. 

When you break the term down I immediately think someone who leads with a thought provoking idea or innovation. Someone who is an authoritative figure on a certain subject who has mastered the art of predicting future outcomes in their industry. Someone who is creative, innovative, and not afraid to make predictions. They base their knowledge on what they have witnessed over a period of time within the trends of their niche.

They are basically their industry’s Old Farmer’s Almanac. 

In case you haven’t heard of Old Farmer’s Almanac, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is your trusted source for long range weather forecasts, moon phases, full moon dates and times, gardening tips, sunrise and sunset, etc. 

I’m not calling Thought Leaders psychic’s because sometimes they do get it wrong. 

What is a Thought Leader?

You see, Thought Leaders aren’t afraid to call a spade a spade even if they are wrong. They are Thought Leaders BECAUSE they aren’t afraid to say what they think or do something different. 

Thought Leaders think for themselves. They know what they like and what they don’t like. The don’t copy others. They use their own narrative. What ends up happening is their followers will quote them and create memes. The Thought Leader’s marketing team will create a log of quotes, branded memes, promotional items, stripped down highlights for production use, and more. Secret’s in the sauce. We do a lot of that here at ValoreyMedia.

Thought Leaders don’t go around quoting other people like a living, breathing Pinterest board. They may occasionally quote someone else as it edifies their position.

Top 5 Thought Leaders (in my personal opinion)

1. Gary Vaynerchuck 

This guy has made some of the craziest, yet very well educated predictions by his own analysis of his niche. He is not afraid to own up to things he was wrong about, but when he’s right… he nails it! Some people love him, some people hate him. He’s real. He’s raw. And he’s not afraid to call anyone out for their bullshit excuses. 

2. Tony Robbins

Without a doubt, this guy knows his shit. He’s taken motivational speaking and coaching to a whole new level and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down or stopping any time soon. Like Gary, you can love him or hate him, but you can’t deny how many millions of lives he has changed. 

3. Cardi B

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but I’m going to say it, because you know it’s true. You either love her or hate her, but she loves you anyway. Cardi predicted her success long before success arrived. There is actual footage of this. If you follow her on Instagram, which I highly recommend even if you aren’t into her music, just for the entertainment value. She hasn’t stopped predicting her future, nor the future of her industry. She’s unapologetically herself and her raw language makes her fans love her even more. And she isn’t afraid to call anyone out for shady behavior, which is an unfortunate struggle in any industry. Can’t have superhero without a villian, amiright?

4. Madonna

She struck a chord with people in the 80’s as Cardi B has done today. She’s quoted as saying, “I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” This powerful woman has achieved an unprecedented level of success and power. 

5. J.K. Rowling

The woman who wasn’t afraid to fail when she was scraping by on government assistance, yet wrote one of the best book series to ever grace this planet. Harry Potter has sold over 400 million copies, making her one of the richest women in the world. This woman actually lost her ‘Billionaire” status on the Forbes list from donating large amounts of money to charity. She says, I think you have a moral responsibility, when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.”

Do Thought Leaders have to be millionaires or billionaires? 

Absolutely not, but if you maintain who you are and what you stand for by living in your truth, you may just become one.

What do they all have in common other than fame and fortune?

Being a Thought Leader isn’t about your status. These people share the commonality of being true to who they are and not caring what others think about them. They don’t fluff things up and make everything unicorns and glitter. Life is real. It’s raw. They give no fucks, but they give generously not only financially, but by sharing their thoughts that shape the world. 

How can you become a Thought Leader?

Just do you. It’s really that simple. I’m not saying it won’t take some mindset work and you’re gonna need to have some major breakthroughs to get there, but if you stay true to who you truly are, your people will label you a Thought Leader. All you need to do is focus on leading the way, like a flashlight. 

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