Rebel Rising Podcast

Lead Your Audience & Your Business with BOLD Thought Leadership

Hey rebels, we're on week three of the BOLD thought leadership framework. Here's a quick recap:

  • B: being the only, claim what you are the best in the world at and then tell the world about it. You can recap the first episode of the framework here.
  • O: being other focused, be there for the audience, speak directly to them, make your work about your audience. Remember to implement the 20/80 rule, which means you're talking about yourself 20% of the time and about other people, 80% of the time, and building self reflection into your business. Be sure to listen to that full episode here.

This week we're diving into L, which is all about leadership, leading your clients, leading your audience, and being a leader in your industry.

There are three fundamental things that must happen for you to become a great leader:

  1. Know your values and lead with them
  2. Don't make your business boring by being scared to share your viewpoints
  3. Lead your clients with a simple, unique framework

Cultivating the leader within you is cornerstone to becoming an authority in your industry, which means it's not the easiest thing to do. Creating your values and leading with those values truly makes you bold, and it's what will make you stand out and create trust with your audience.

It's time to lead with your values, your viewpoints, and your framework.

Listen in or read through the transcript below

Resources mentioned in this episode

Going Bolder with Your Message

Being Bold and Other Focused

Show up and Serve

 Simon Sinek

Hey, hey rebel, it's time to lead with your message and your ideas with all that's happening in the world right now. I think the L part of the BOLD Thought Leadership framework is the most critical component because it's how you lead your audience, your clients, and your industry right now.

In case you're just joining us for the first time, in the month of June we're discussing how to be bolder with your message. BOLD is a framework that I've been working on for some time behind the scenes, which at first I thought was a framework about messaging, then I realized it's a framework about thought leadership. If you're a fan of the pod, you know, that I define thought leadership quite differently, it's not something that is bestowed upon you because you have thousands of fans on Instagram and you've been on the biggest podcasts in the world. What I think thought leadership is you believing that you have thoughts in your head, ideas that can change people, that can change your industry, that can even change the world. You're also willing to advocate for those thoughts and ideas that you're willing to put yourself out there for those thoughts and ideas.

So BOLD, in conjunction with the 3 Word Rebellion, will really allow your business to go from an expert business, whether you're a service based business owner or a coach, to being a thought leader or a thought advocate in your industry. This is the work to stand out, to be seen as that authority, to communicate with clarity and curiosity to those who need your work the most. Each letter of BOLD stands for something:

  • B: being the only, and being the only is not just about positioning, it's about claiming what you are the best in the world at and claiming that for yourself and then telling the world about that. You can recap that episode here.

  • O: being other focused. So being there for the audience, speaking directly to them, making your work about your audience. Last week we talked about the 20/80 rule, which means you're talking about yourself 20% of the time and about other people, 80% of the time, and building self reflection into your business. So creating a space for other people to reflect on themselves in your business. Be sure to listen to that full episode here.

Today's episode is all about leadership, leading your audience, your clients, and even your industry.

Next week, we'll talk about the D which is taking direction, but today I want to focus on leadership because we need leaders now more than ever. In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the protests, we saw a lot of business owners online with huge followings, with multimillion dollar business that fell in a pile of shit of their own making, simply because they were not prepared to lead because of their own silence. They weren't listening to their teams. They weren't listening to their audiences who were crying out for their leadership. Some wanted to over intellectualize what was going on in the world instead of being human and speaking from the heart. Leaders lead, even when it's inconvenient leaders lead, when it's the weekend and leaders lead, even when they're going to mess it up, even when they don't know what they're going to say. Sometimes you lead and say, I don't know exactly what to say.

So if you are striving to be the kind of rebel with a big ass business that leads people or even a smaller business that leads people, there are some fundamental things that you need to have in place to have that type of thought leadership business.

The first fundamental thing is leading your audience with your values.

This is something I learned by going to Trudi LeBron's workshop Show up and Serve. I believe that the workshop is still available. It's still very worthwhile. The first step of doing that is to know your values. When you're first starting out in your business this might not feel like a very important exercise to do, but as you start hiring people, even if you're just hiring your first virtual assistant to help you do some admin work, it's so important to understand what your values are for your business. I did my values work like a long time ago, but the thing I haven't done, where I have failed on this part of leadership, is step two which is being explicit with your audience, with your clients, with those who follow you about what your values are.

The values for Communication Rebel probably won't surprise you, but rebellion is good for the soul. That is something fundamentally that we believe, we're always questioning how things are done. We question normal. We question what we see out there in the world. Even how I do things in my business. 

Our second value is around curiosity. I really believe that curiosity breeds breakthrough. One of the ways we operationalize this and the business is we always approach things with curiosity. So, “say more about that,” is one of my go to questions. It's one of the go to questions I encourage people to ask. So instead of reacting right away, it's like, huh, say more about that. Tell me more.

Number three is integrity always. We try to do what is right for other people, we try to do what is right for the business, for our image. Not that we have employees yet, but that's one of the goals, to have employees.

The fourth value is self reflection is a must. I spend a lot of time as the owner of this business reflecting on what's working and what's not working. I want people who interact with this business reflecting on their messages, the 3 Word Rebellion is all about self-reflection, right? It's all about free writing and understanding what you stand for. Those are the values, be explicit about your values.

The final step is make sure your values are aligned throughout your business because our businesses are growing and changing and evolving all the time. So we always have to be revisiting our values. Are your values present in your sales process? Are your values present in your contracts? Are your values present in your marketing, are your values present in who you're hiring? How are you working with your clients? So your action step here is like, are you clear on your values? Are you explicit? Are they on your website? Do people know what your values are? And are they aligned in your business? And are you making time to make sure they are aligned? So do the reflective work here so that you're leading with your values and this is an ongoing leadership task.

So the second area for leadership is leading your audience and your industry with your viewpoints.

Do not make your business boring by not sharing what you believe in. I think it's as fundamental as that. When you are advocating for your thoughts and your ideas, and you have different thoughts and ideas that can change people and your industry and the world, it is so easy to hold back those strong beliefs, because you don't want to rock the boat. You don't want to be difficult. You don't want to take up too much space, but take up too much space. The 3 Word Rebellion questions are created so that you are sharing your strong viewpoints so that you are expressing what you believe in strongly, what you're rebelling against the change you want to create. What pisses you off, what is possible for the future and the free writing is meant to be shared in your content in your social media. It is part of your thought leadership. So share that, express that in the world and share it over and over again.

Your action step is ask yourself, where are you holding back? Are there any viewpoints that you've expressed in the past that you haven't shared, that you're not sharing that are important for people to know what needs to be said, that you're not saying.

And finally, lead your clients with your frameworks.

I've had so many business owners come to me and say, “oh, Michelle, my work is so custom. Each client is so different that I can't possibly have a structure, a process, a methodology because everything is customized”. I say bullshit to that. You definitely have a framework that you walk your clients through. And that within that framework, it can still be custom to that client.

So for instance, when I work with clients in the 3 Word Rebellion messaging framework, yes, there is a structure. There is a process I'm walking my clients through, but each client is radically different. No client looks the same. The questions I'm asking each session is different and yes, they might get the same writing prompts, but those prompts produce radically different results and that's the customization. So that 3 Word Rebellion is a messaging framework. BOLD is a thought leadership framework.

So your framework can be a process. It can be a structure. It can be phases that you see your clients move through and maybe it's a transformation phase or process you're moving through. It can even be how you're structuring sessions and why this is important to your thought leadership is because if you are in the business of change, which if you are a thought leader, that is your business, changing people, industries, the world, you have to give people structure, structure breeds thought. When you're explaining how you work with clients and you say, “oh, well, I have a structure that I walk you through,” They're able to breathe a sigh of relief and think, “oh man, she's got me. Like she has a structure. I know what sessions are going to look like. Or I know what this process is going to look like.”

If you think about it, that's what thought leaders do like Simon Sinek with Start with Why, he has the golden circle. We have Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. We have frameworks all around us, so you can create your own framework or process or method so that you're creating that level of trust and that intellectual property. Here's the key about these frameworks: keep them super simple, like three to five steps or pillars or phases of your process.

So your action step here is to create your framework, or if you have a framework or the beginnings of a framework, simplify that, make it super simple. Let me leave you with this. Become bolder with your message and your thought leadership lead with your values, lead with your viewpoints, lead with your frameworks. And I'd love for you to find me on Instagram. Let me know what action you took from today's episode, because it's your time to step up and lead with your bold ideas. 

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