So, you want to be seen as a leader in your field, an expert in your industry? The first step, of course, is to offer knowledge that others want or need.
This may surprise you, but your life and professional experiences are more valuable than you think in benefitting others. No, you may not be a star or the CEO, but you might, indeed, have already developed a certain expertise.
Now that we’ve dealt with your self-esteem issues, there’s something else that will help others see you as an expert, and it’s this next suggestion that trips up many people:
You should write a book.
Yes, I know it seems like a monumental task, or even unrealistic, for some. Perhaps, you’ve never written a magazine article before, let alone a book with a theme and chapters that people would pay good-earned money to read. Maybe you don’t consider yourself on the same level as them—those seemingly knowledgeable writers with their names emblazoned on book covers.
However, the expansion of the self-publishing industry has opened the doors like never before to business owners, managers, nonprofit specialists, and church leaders to add a rather impressive credential to their biographies: author.
Now, to be clear, writing a book won’t make you an expert any more than making a box cake will make you a good cook. However, a book will help others to recognize the expertise that you’ve developed over time by gaining knowledge and the respect of your peers.
I’ve written three books—one through a traditional publishing house; two through self-publishing—and I still can’t get over the number of people who want to hear what I say simply because they’ve read my book or seen my name on a cover in a bookstore or online. Even when they don’t buy my books, the knowledge that I’ve written one, or two, or three seems to boost my stock in their eyes.
I love to write and have done so since I was a little girl. Yet, the publishing field has expanded far beyond hardcore writers like me. These days, people who never particularly liked English class have books to their credit. Some hire ghostwriters. Others discipline themselves and write in their spare time. Either way, their collection of thoughts, experiences, skills, tips, or research neatly bound between a front and back cover gives them automatic credibility.
It’s one thing to be invited to speak at a conference. (Yay for you!) But the benefits are compounded when you’re able to offer a book that listeners purchase and take with them to meditate on your ideas for weeks or months to come.
Authorship puts you on a level where many simply won’t go. Why? The truth is that most people don’t have the tenacity to organize their thoughts, to write them out, then go through the process of editing and re-editing in order to create a quality book that makes sense. (Note the emphasis on quality, because many books are lacking in that area simply because the writers didn’t take the time to educate themselves.)
When people interact with someone who has shown such tenacity, they’re impressed. They wait in line for you to scribble your signature on the title page. They pose for selfies with you at the book-signing table. They think of you as someone they should listen to, as a leader, an expert worthy of being heard.
If you want to be seen as a leader in your field and be on par with the experts, consider writing a book.
Kim D. Moore
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