Do you want to be a thought leader? Do you feel stalemated in the process? Surprisingly, you may be standing in your own way.

In my work with ExpertAuthors™. I’ve discovered five common blocks that keep people from becoming thought leaders. And the sobering fact is each block is completely self-created.

These blocks aren’t just connected to writing, either. They extend into how you present yourself to the world. And, in turn, influence how you impact and are viewed by others. The overriding fact is many potential thought leaders block their own path to success.

Why? Because this sabotage most likely stems from within their own mind. So the blocks can be overcome.  If you want to be a thought leader:

  1. Locate and listen to your hidden mindset – then change it.

Belief is a choice – and negative beliefs hold us back. For example, have you ever been upset with someone because you thought that person had disappointed you? In truth, it could have been your own perception of the situation that upset you, not what was actually going on.

All of us have had the experience of thinking something was true, responding badly to it because it pushed an old button which launched us into a feeling of mistrust or fear. We make snap decisions based on what we’ve experienced in the past. “Oh, I know that hurt,” our brains leap to concluding. “I’m not doing THAT again!”

In truth, it’s probably an inaccurate assumption and just how your brain is “seeing” it.

The same is true with self-doubt. Every criticism you’re received from others or negative comparisons you’ve made to them are recorded deep in your mind. And these can trigger “negative self-speak” when you decide to elevate your mindset to thought leadership.

Here are some ways to change how your brain responds to “negative self-speak.”

  • Reflection – Stop. Breathe. Ask yourself, is this really true? Or is it conjuring up an old memory which might not apply to this situation?
  • Curiosity – Be curious about your reaction. What might be spawning it?
  • Deep internal listening – Ask yourself, how might your mind be getting in your way? Are there times in your past when you had a wonderful idea or goal and it didn’t work out? Or did others convince you weren’t good enough to do it?
  • Write what you hear – Write down every negative thought you have and next to it put a corresponding positive thought. For example, “I’m too busy to write a book.” And next to that, write, “I will make time to write a book. It’s a priority.”

In short, for every negative thought you have about becoming a thought leader, develop a positive one to replace  it.

  1. Clarify your purpose

Determine why you want to be a thought leader. Then internalize how writing a book will increase your credibility and bring you the visibility you’ll need to create a community and achieve the necessary recognition. Once you do, don’t let anyone stand in your way.

  1. Make a plan

Develop a plan which underscores your life. Stick to it with consistent action.

  1. Establish a way to be accountable

Procrastination and weak accountability can sabotage even the best laid plans. Getting support from a writing coach who understands the pitfalls you may face when writing a book is a great way to stay on track. Be truthful with yourself and your writing coach.

  1. Create a marketing plan

Not all of us are flamboyant extroverts. I’m actually an introvert. So getting out in front of people can be a challenge. But not getting out into the limelight can mean invisibility and an empty promotion calendar. So be willing to get uncomfortable and engage in public appearances.  Also, flimsy outreach will most likely mean that even if you do write a fabulous book, no one will know about it. So invest in professional help to get the word out.

In the long run, there’s no substitution for believing in yourself, setting a goal, being accountable, and marketing what you know is your best gift to the world. Getting out of your own way is by far the best path to becoming a thought leader.

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