Often leaders hire me because they’ve been invited to deliver a talk, presentation or keynote speech that they really want to be their best work yet. Because the outcome is clear, there is a deadline and the motivation is very high, our work together is pretty straightforward.
I’m not saying it’s easy – of course there is the tension around message clarity, goal alignment and gathering and organizing the very best content. Plus, practicing delivering a brilliant experience for the audience is no joke.
That said, maybe even slightly more often, a leader hires me because they want to be clear, consistent and bold as they share their message in all kinds of ways: on social media, in teaching videos, in their books and also on stages. They want to bring their thought leadership to the forefront of their work.
It’s this second scenario that can get a little squiggly… there’s the initial motivation to feel the kind of clarity that evokes excitement to share. Inevitably, though, there are sticking points.
Fear of saying something that will alienate others, resistance to taking a stand for one thing when they have so many things they want to say, and the normal process of our beautiful brains trying to save our lives from being judged and ostracized is enough to have even the most brilliant and confident leaders hiding behind their inbox and other kinds of avoidance.
I’ve realized that there is a process that dramatically increases our ability to show up and share our thought leadership message with more courage and consistency. I want to share that with you, in case you run into the same kind of analysis paralysis or hiding.
Conveniently, the acronym for this process is SHINE! ✨
Here it is for you:
1. Say what you really want out loud.
This might seem straightforward, but this can actually be the hardest part (especially coupled with the second item on this list). In order to do this, you have to look inward and be honest with yourself about what you really (really!) want to say, do and create in your work and life. When I coach clients on this, I usually walk them through a visualization that includes a conversation with their Future Self. (Here’s an article I wrote that can help you with this visualization.) Be willing to say out loud what you really want to be saying in your work, what you think matters most, and then add in the impact you want to make, the business and income you see coming and the life you are living from this place. It’s both fun and exciting when you really let yourself sink into this!
2. Hold on all judgment.
It’s important to state this explicitly because actually, judging what you want is like the number one thing getting in the way of you seeing your future goals and dreams clearly. Whether it’s because of messages from people you care about who don’t understand your goals and dreams or it’s because you keep playing tapes of old stories in your mind about what you are capable of, this judgment automatically shuts down your creativity (and joy!). So, just hold on it for now… tell your brain that you’ll listen later, after you’ve gone through this whole process (it may very well forget along the way!)
3. Imagine the way forward (and iterate).
Here’s the truth: none of us knows what’s going to work. Even things that have worked in the past aren’t guaranteed to work again. So the only thing we’ve got is our incredible ability to imagine the path forward. Based on what you know, consulting with experts, reading books – whatever fits with your goals – create yourself a plan. Then implement it. Take action. Through action, you’ll learn, iterate, let some things go and double down on others. Show up, share your voice, message, ideas, programs – knowing you’ll learn and make shifts along the way. The only way changes you make to the plan become a failure is if you decide you’ve failed and stop iterating.
4. Nourish yourself and your vision with resources.
I mentioned the idea of calling upon experts and other support earlier and I want to reinforce this message now. No one builds their dream work and life alone. Period. This applies to your work, and it’s also essential that you think about and bring in the support you need personally. Take amazing care of yourself, in whatever ways feel most nourishing to you. Sure, a bubble bath is fine if you like them (I’m a fan). I also mean lovely walks in nature, a morning at a sun-drenched cafe reading your favorite trashy novel (I’m also a fan). Gather beautiful soul friends around you and connect with them regularly. All of this richness makes life and work so much more fun – and it helps reinforce your own natural resilience. As much as you possibly can, nurture your vision and your life with support and goodness. It’s so much easier to show up and shine if you are tapped into your natural resilience.
5. Enjoy showing up and shining!
The stories we tell ourselves matter. We know this from experience (remember the last time a friend offered you a totally different perspective on a situation and your whole feeling about it changed?) and research reinforces this truth over and over again. When you tell yourself that sharing your message or your work is scary, your brain goes into protection mode. Suddenly, you’re hiding behind your inbox and To Do list again. When you tell yourself that showing up is where you learn what serves your people the best, you get to enjoy the process of learning. When you notice and reinforce all of the gorgeous comments and gratitude you get from your people when you share something that touches them, you tell your brain that taking this risk is not only safe but feels good. Actively look for ways to make showing up and sharing your message and work delightful, fun and impactful. This is a self-reinforcing process!
It starts with a decision: you are committed to showing up. From there, let the SHINE process support you in staying the course. We need you out there sharing your voice, message and work in our world. So make today Decision Day, will you? Then, please… SHINE!