Wondering why you haven’t made it to the C-suite yet? This is it.
I’ve been on two different sides of life. One where I had to claw my way through to almost be able to make a living. The other where I kind of created a system where it felt like everything was handed to me on a silver platter.
The funny thing is that the only real thing that changed between the two situations was perception. Or the influence that I held over others.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The person who I was when I was clawing my way through life to the person I was when I was being invited to speak at different venues and TV shows is almost identical. They are both just me. Plain old Leonard. Yet, one just was perceived to be someone that others needed on their side, while the other… No one really wanted anything to do with.
That’s really the power of influence. It takes you and turns you into this expert that people look up to. And you don’t need to learn any new skills or talents to evolve into that expert. Chances are, if you’ve been working for over a decade, you already have a set of expertise. You just haven’t showcased it to an outside audience.
Now there’s 3 key reasons you aren’t achieving true influence:
- No one outside of your company knows you are an expert
How long have you worked at your position? Was it five years? 10? 20? Sure, you may be taking home a great paycheck, but the real question is how long will that income truly last?
There are many real problems you face when no one outside of your company knows that you are an expert. Let’s say you get laid off one day. What are you going to do then?
The job market is competitive — more so than you have ever imagined — and executives who have years upon years of experience are often seen as too talented for the roles that are available, or too junior for the more advanced roles. Even if you make it past the interview stages, you will end up losing your position to the next candidate who has built up something called social proof.
But you probably aren’t thinking about losing your job. That’s the last of your worries. You probably want to climb the corporate ladder of success. You’re probably looking at your director position and wondering how to break through into a vice president or the C-suite of a company like IBM, Cisco, or whatever it may be.
Internally, people may feel that you are talented at your craft, but that isn’t enough. You need to be seen as an expert — both inside and outside of your company. if you plan to climb the internal ladder of success, you still face huge issues. You can have people advocate for you outside of the company as well. You need to be seen as a leader and be recognized for your expertise, both inside and outside of your company. That means you need to start building your digital presence, because that digital presence is a direct reflection of you and who you are in person.
You can solve this problem by going out there and showcasing your content to the outside world. Get your thought leadership out there so more people recognize that you are the expert that you truly are. And when you do that, you open up the opportunity to more job opportunities, both internally and externally. That opens up more ability for advancement within your career. That allows more people to come to you and seek you out for your expertise. And as you build that out, it could lead to speaking engagements, book deals and more.
- You are trying to relay the perfect image
Perfection. It’s what you strive for. It’s how you want to be seen.
Like a diamond.
From a logical standpoint, it makes sense to want to be seen as a perfect being. It’s hard to admit having flaws afterall. And most of society has told us to bury what we are weak at and focus on our strengths instead.
But why is that bad? Why does it not work when we try to portray ourselves as perfect?
Well, aside from the fact that no one is perfect, it’s because we become unrelatable. Others aren’t able to connect or relate with you.
This is exactly what goes through someone’s mind when they see a person who is portraying someone to be perfect. “Oh, this person is so perfect. I can never become like them. I can’t work with them either. In fact, I can’t relate to them at all because they’re perfect and I’m flawed.”
Instead of building a bond that allows the other person to connect and relate, you push them further away from you. When building out your online presence, this doesn’t help people buy in to you. Instead, it pushes them away.
So to solve this problem, what you have to do is be vulnerable. You have to showcase some of your weaknesses and failures. Have a blunder here and there. That blunder gives you a breath of humanity and makes you more relatable. If you want to truly drive differentiation, create loyalty and build true connections with others, you need to dive into your vulnerabilities and showcase your weaknesses. Because your weaknesses are your true strengths.
- You go searching for clients
When I was 21 years old, I used to do sales. I worked at a Toyota dealership and you know what was the best thing about it? People came to me. They walked into the doors of the dealership wanting a car. All I had to do was get them to drive one then take it home.
Later, when I switched companies, my sales role changed and I had to call people. I had to make calls and send emails trying to convince people not just to listen to me, but to buy the product I was offering as well.
That’s why most people hate sales. Because you have to get people to buy into both you and whatever product you’re offering. No one wants to go and sell two things, or have two things that could be rejected. Both themselves and the product. Plus, talk about the pain of prospecting.
But what if you could flip that situation around? Kind of like how I had it when I worked at the dealership.
To have people come to you instead, looking specifically for what you have to offer.
It changes everything.
Now, how do you go out there and do that?
I’ve been creating content for the last four years. I’ve got over 10 million reads on my content, and people have seen my videos, my talks, and all different stuff in the media, and guess what happens from that?
People start contacting me. What ends up happening is, they go to my site, and when they go there, they’re like, “Hey, you could hire Leonard. Oh, let me click this button.” They fill it out with their information. They put in their budget. They put in what they want to accomplish. They put in all their contact information, so all I have to do is schedule a call with them, and just close it.
And, guess what? People from major companies, Fortune 100 companies, consulting firms, venture capitalists, and all these other people, come to me for my expertise. Just because of all the content that’s out there. I don’t have to go looking for a single client. I haven’t even looked for a single one. I’ve never made a call to anyone saying, “Hey, do you want to work with me?” Instead, they come to me, which is a great thing.
That same thing can happen for you once you create content and get it distributed onto the web. And you will never have to actively look for a new client again either, because they will come to you.
Want to position yourself for a role within the c-suite?
Want others to relate to you?
Want people coming to you for your expertise?
Then you need to stop being selfish and holding onto all your knowledge and insights. It’s time for you to start building out true influence by sharing your expertise to an external audience.
Leonard Kim co-authored Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You for Greater Success and is the managing partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.