From lightbulb to leader: Where to start when you’ve got a great idea

So you’ve got a great idea – awesome!

It might be a model, a framework, a series of principles, or just a new way of doing something that you want to get out there.

You’d like to share it – to lead with your thinking – in the hopes that you can both help more people while also building your reputation as an authority or thought leader in your field.

But right now, that feels really overwhelming. You don’t know where to start – should you just write a LinkedIn post about it? Share it with your database? Sell tickets to an event or turn it into a keynote?

The options are endless – and all that worrying about doing it the right way? It’s added up to precisely… zilch.

You want to get your idea out there and lead with your thinking. Where should you start?

1. Get clear on your thought leadership vision

If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s hard to know what path to take.

And while it can be tempting to just jump straight into action (I know that’s what I like to do!), your ideas will have far greater impact if you first take the time to get clear on the future you’re trying to get to.

What are you trying to achieve through thought leadership? What do you want it to do for you and your business? 

Who are the people you’re trying to help and how could this idea help them? What do you want them to do, think, or feel when they engage with you and this idea? 

Where do they spend their time? How could you best reach them?

Get clear on where you’re going, and then purposefully choose activities that will help you get there. 

2. Define your unique positioning

The other thing that can be tricky when you’re trying to share your ideas is understanding what makes you different from all the other people out there sharing your ideas. This is vital, because understanding that difference not only helps your audience know why they should engage with you – but it also helps you be more confident in your own ideas and positioning.

What do you want to be known for? What won’t you be known for? (We put together a whole blog post on how to create your unique positioning – check that out here.)

3. Think like a scientist – start experimenting!

If you’re anything like the thought leaders we work with, you’re probably worried that your idea isn’t perfect, or won’t connect with your audience well enough. 

That means it’s time for a couple of hard truths:

  1. There’s no such thing as a perfect idea, and
  2. You’ll never know what’s going to work unless you put it out there.

If you’ve got an idea that you think has some merit – even if you don’t think it’s ready yet – the best thing you can do is to start experimenting. Treat it like a science experiment – the idea is simply a hypothesis, and all you’re trying to do is test out if it works.

If it doesn’t, you can make adjustments and test it again. By treating it like a hypothesis, not a thesis, you take away the pressure of needing it to be perfect, and get to discover ways to make it even better (or you might discover it doesn’t work – and that’s okay too!).

Check out this blog for a step-by-step guide to testing out your ideas to make them even better.

4. Leverage what you’ve already created (and keep leveraging!)

When you’re just starting to experiment with thought leadership, it can feel like you have to constantly create new content – but that’s not always the case.

Instead, think about how you can leverage what you’ve already created better. 

Have you done a webinar or speaking gig recently? Use the content from that to create blogs, emails, or social posts. Is there work you do one-on-one that could be turned into an online course to scale your impact further? Perhaps you have done some research that backs up your idea – look at turning that into a report, some blogs, social posts, videos and more.

Instead of giving yourself a laundry list of things to create, focus on creating the high impact pieces – then leveraging those effectively to get your message across in a frictionless way.

5. Focus on habits

Thought leadership is a long-term, strategic move – it’s not something that can be built with just a couple of campaigns. 

While you always want to find projects that keep you excited and engaged, the foundations of thought leadership are built on good habits, like consistently setting aside time for thinking and content creation.

So start small. Rather than thinking about making a massive ‘bang’ with your idea, focus on consistently improving and sharing it. Instilling good habits that enable you to consistently lead with your thinking will help you have far greater impact than just putting in huge upfront effort and burning yourself out.

When you’ve got an idea that you think might be good, and you want to start leading with your thinking, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start – but it doesn’t have to be. Start with your vision, think about what makes you different, start experimenting, leverage what you’ve already got, and focus on habits. Nail those, and you might just find that thought leadership doesn’t just become frictionless – it becomes fun. 

P.S. If you need help with any of the above, reach out – we’d love to chat.