Owning your eminence digitally – which I call social leadership – is the career powerplay today. But it’s not easy! Having done this with thousands of people, I can tell you one thing for sure – the majority struggle to tap into the voice they want to own.
Knowing that topic or cause you want to be eminent in, is a huge struggle for most to identify. But like anything worthwhile, it’s a process to get there, and it requires a lot of deep reflection and thought.
Defining your voice is the starting point of social leadership, and some do find it ridiculously easy to achieve, but even then, it’s not the end of the journey. Because once you find that place to start and get going, the exercise of being a social leader forces you to continue going deeper.
The evolution of voice
My voice has continued to evolve and go deeper, because every single day, I am asked questions, deal with cynicism, observe behaviours, read new perspectives, and I’m learning, observing and learning some more – every single day.
I find this a complete joy to experience, because the personal growth is immense. That’s why I want others to really understand and embrace it. It’s phenomenal. Imagine if we all did it?
Most who know me, would consider my voice is strong both digitally and physically, and yet, I don’t believe I’ve gotten to the depths of where I will eventually go in defining my own voice.
It’s getting closer, but it’s like a journey I joined a quarter of the way through – bringing all of that life and professional experience with me – and now nearly half way through, I have to keep digging deeper and deeper into my conscious and subconscious to find the message I really want to share.
My goal in my message
A message with the intention to help anyone who wants to hear it, understand the power of social leadership, and collectively, when we step into it, we can all make the world a better place by being tied to our deepest calling – our message for the world.
Does that make sense? Or am I getting too woo woo for you?
I think this blog is a step towards that next evolution. Because this is the cornerstone of social leadership. Getting to the essence of what you want to be known for and then owning it.
But it’s about confidence too
The other critical aspect of becoming a social leader, is the confidence to own it. The vast majority of people I work with struggle here. They have the BEST subject to own – leadership, inspiration, lifestyle, AI, whatever – but they don’t believe anyone will be interested in hearing their unique view on it. Let’s just say I spend a lot of time trying to help people be confident to do just that. I am persistent too.
A small handful have absolutely no issue with this and step into their voice eagerly, but they are not the majority. However, within the ranks of the majority are some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, and I really want them to get this. So, in this blog, I’m speaking to them.
Focus and self confidence
After all these years doing this work, I’ve had a growing epiphany of late, and that is, to be successful, and to live the best life possible for you, based on what you want to achieve, and to fully become the person you want to be, getting out there and owning your digital voice helps you to do it.
Equally, if enterprise companies commit to it across their business with all of their employees, it creates the much deeper benefit of disrupting and transforming the business from within, through the powerful, collective voices of its people.
It’s incredible. Read the case study!
Two examples: focus and confidence
But getting back to the two pillars of succeeding as a social leader – focus and self-confidence. I want to share two examples of great friends.
One needed to find their focus and the other their confidence.
Those two people are Kevin Cottam and Ram Santhanaram Jayaram. I really hope you guys don’t mind me using you as examples ?. I should also point out, I didn’t help these guys achieve this. I’ve just been a witness and friend.
Today, Kevin is the global nomad who travels the world, working with leaders, managers and teams of diverse cultures in government, start-ups and multinational organizations. He’s an inspirational speaker, leadership coach, workshop facilitator and more.
Kevin is also ALWAYS on the move.
But when I met him, Kevin was struggling with his focus. He was dabbling here, there and everywhere, trying to work out how to bring all of his life experiences and lessons together under one banner. A focus he could call his own.
Today his goal is: to inspire others to inspire themselves to live with a global mindset without boundaries.
And he’s doing it. He’s owning it. His voice isn’t fractured anymore. It’s a beautiful flow of travel and leadership lessons, from some of the most incredible places and people on earth. I love his photos and his passion for learning everywhere he goes, and I’m excited to read his forthcoming book: The Nomadic Mindset.
Such a powerful and important message for this time in our world.
I didn’t help Kevin get here, but boy am I enjoying watching him fly. He just needed the focus and he found it. Bravo.
Ram Santhanaram Jayaram
And then we have wonderful Ram. I love Ram. He’s terrific. He’s a laughter coach that helps individuals and organizations achieve greater employee engagement through working together cohesively and making work a happier place. He’s also a comedian. Go and check him out at his next gig.
But Ram needed confidence. I watched him deal with an enormous inner struggle, and as with most people needing confidence, he sought it externally – the validation he was onto something good.
I don’t know what happened. I think it was a collective push from people who matter to Ram, but when I recently saw him, he has gone through a massive transformation. He’s stepped into his voice, and he stopped worrying about external opinions.
Now, you can’t stop him.
Go and check out his beautiful, uplifting, fun and inspiring messages on LinkedIn. I am loving it, because there is nothing better than seeing people you care about finally say, right, this is me. I’m owning this.
Bravo Ram and Kevin. You have a fan here and I’ll be in the front row, cheering you on, because you’re both awesome.
It’s a journey
For myself, for Kevin, for Ram, and for others I’ve had the privilege to work with, as well as my broader community of friends, I see this clarity of voice as the cornerstone to succeeding as a social leader and building our place in the future of work.
But it must come from within. It is deep and it is powerful. When you claim it, you’ll change your stars. However, to succeed you need: clarity in your focus and the confidence to take that leap of faith.
I have observed, that if you’re still looking outward for advice and validation, it’s hard to progress. Of course, do this for as long as you need to – because we all do it, right? – BUT when you’re ready, go within. Find your belief, tap into your power, because that is the place where you will find the courage to leap. Only you can do this.
And you need courage
All of this definitely takes courage. But remember, courage is something we achieve with practise. However, while courage is a critical piece, so is vulnerability.
As Brene Brown says: you can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.
That scary thing, vulnerability…
But you know what, it’s great being vulnerable. It’s part of the personal growth journey I mentioned at the start. Embrace it!
Of course, you might think this is all nonsense, but you can’t please everyone. I’ve learnt that on this journey too ?.
There you go, the growing epiphany I am having, and I know this is the first of many blogs I’ll write on the topic. I’ll write them (and speak about them), because it is the writing of them that really opens up this thought process and takes me deeper.
Equally, if you comment, write or speak to me about this, your reflections, thoughts, objections, and more, will take me deeper again. That’s why I love putting my not-fully formed voice out there in the world. Collectively we grow. Join me!
There are so many other great people doing awesome work (I’ll keep writing about the ones who stand out), and every time I watch people step into their spotlight and own their digital stage – whether through my influence or not – I’ll celebrate them, because it’s incredible to stand witness too.
It’s incredible because they are peaceful, calm, and beautiful to behold. And it doesn’t even matter what the topic is, because there’s an assuredness to it. That’s why it speaks so strongly to its intended audience, even if that audience takes time to build. Be patient on that front and keep believing. It’s too easy to get distracted by it.
What do you think? Am I onto something? Or is it nonsense? Who do you admire on the digital stage?
Want proof social leadership transforms business and attracts customers?
Check out this case study with IBM Asia Pacific. Incredible results.
Want to be a super star online?
Don’t know where to start, check out my e-learning course How to build a rock star personal brand today.
I believe it’s time for all of us to embrace our voice and embrace the future. We do this by working and living out loud with meaning, intention and by being true to ourselves.
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