Everyone is an expert in something, or so we are taught.

Honestly, the amount of advising today about influencing, thought leadership and expertise is staggering. We are told that in order to succeed in business, make tons of money, take dream vacations several times a year, and live the luxury life of which you’ve always dreamed, you must be an expert in something. Within recent years it has been touted that if you are not an expert at anything you will never be successful.

Sadly, this has resulted in a herd mentality, a stampede. A mad rush to the finish where people trip over themselves and peck at each other for market share, all the while duplicating each other- buying into the ‘follow me’ lie. As people claw each other online to establish their expertise, many persons can find themselves lost, confused, empty, and dejected because they do not quite fit the mould their favourite coach may have set for them. Others struggle to gain success in the way they see others have succeeded, mistakenly thinking that this is the way they too must go. Many others waste time, money, and energy simply pursuing the wrong path because it is the most popular one.

This leads to burnout, bankruptcy, depression, and a general sense of meaninglessness which we are prone to overlook and dismiss as laziness or lack of effort. But this is a common human response, and if we are not careful we will doubt the reality that the situation has not worked out and push ourselves to work even harder. Especially when we believe that there is merely one path to success, the one that most online influencers rave about, and expect that we should have succeeded following it.

If you wrestle with the fact that the way of the beaten path just hasn’t worked for you and wonder if this might be the only way; if you have found that you didn’t receive the guaranteed success that was sold to you despite working twice as hard as your coach and following instructions to the letter; if you don’t enjoy the journey nearly as much as he or she does… then it’s time to quit the ‘follow me’ lie.

The truth is that everything is not for everyone, and certainly not for you. All paths were not created equal. It is time we acknowledge the toll this sort of societal pressure takes on us and employ a sensible approach to solving it. There are different paths to success. I’ve discovered that there are 3 major types of influencers. You may be surprised to learn that all of them are equally as successful. As we go through them, try to determine which you fit into.

The Entrepreneur

These people show up as coaches and consultants online. They influence by teaching others how to achieve their goals in business, life, or a specific area, and earn their income from individual and group coaching programmes, of which they are constantly creating newer ones. They are gifted at connecting to the soul of the pain people feel, motivating them to achieve their goals, and effortlessly building community or tribe. They believe and live “the hustle” and indeed they enjoy it and naturally have tons of energy for it.

They represent the largest group of thought leaders in the market place; and because of the evangelistic charm of the entrepreneur type, many persons are influenced to believe they too must be entrepreneurs when they are not. While you may do some of the things the entrepreneur does, it doesn’t mean you are of the entrepreneur group. Not everyone has the energy to do what the entrepreneurs do. If you’ve hired an online business coach recently, it’s highly likely this person was of the entrepreneur group.

Famous Entrepreneur types include: Lisa Sasevich, Selena Soo, Denise Duffield Thomas, Melissa Hughes, Brendon Burchard, Jen Scalia

The Social Influencer

These are your social-solution driven, highly tech savvy, influencers. They essentially create, design, and innovate systems for greater efficiency. These would have come to fame by creating apps, inventing products, or innovating social systems to solve a human social problems. They earn their income from their inventive genius and their public visibility and leadership. They are gifted at leadership, advocacy, identifying a cause, and springing into action to solve it.

This type is fairly well represented in the population and is a growing class because civil leadership and social entrepreneurship is fostered and rewarded by governments and other major global entities like the United Nations, via numerous initiatives which provide scholarships and funding for young solutions driven influencers and tech start-ups. Social influencers live for “the challenge”. They chase causes and live for the adventure and intellectual challenge of creating solutions.

You know you are a social influencer if you dream of saving the world, have been praised or rewarded for your academic brilliance, are touched with compassion for a particular social issue, and have the capacity to create a solution for it. Social influencers are not keen on creating community around what they do, however, they can be seen heard their voices and speaking up about trending social and political issues.

Famous Social Influencer types include: Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Leila Janah

The Expert

These individuals rise to influence because they bring specific subject matter expertise. They are usually highly qualified specialists who bring new knowledge to the fore and shape modern dialogue on human existence. They earn their income from private practice, consulting, research, writing books, and lecturing. They are gifted at understanding, exploring, and explaining human phenomena.

Thought leaders in the truest sense, they believe in and live for “the truth” and are motivated to research and get to the bottom of things and will spend the rest of their time teaching and sharing what they’ve discovered. They are not motivated to create community or pursue a specific social cause and may find these draining as theirs is a more theoretical and incisive approach to the human experience.

You know you are of this group if you are fascinated with people, love to delve into how and why things work, have been complimented or rewarded for your insight or your writing, and would prefer not to be on social media except for the fact that it provides a way to share your knowledge – and those who may benefit are present there.

Famous Expert types include: Brene Brown, Dario Nardi, Esther Perel, Nadine Burke-Harris, Gary Chapman, Christiane Northrup

Now what

Now that you have identified the type that best fits you, and the unique value from which that type’s influence is derived, then you may want to be intentional about owning your unique influence online. Here are some things you can put into practice now!

  1. Connect with one of the important influencers in your category for mentorship. If you do not readily see any, purposely search for a few and begin following them on social media.
  2. Emulate the steps key players in your group are taking so that you show up like them in your own right. This is an efficient way to achieve your path.
  3. Hire someone from the Entrepreneur group to provide accountability for you now that you have a frame of reference for yourself.
  4. Put most of your energy into ONLY those events and activities that are consistent with where members of your group put their energy. For example, Entrepreneurs put energy toward building an online tribe (you may want to start a Facebook group around a problem you can help people with and begin supporting them). Social Influencers put energy toward advocacy (you may want to identify a worthy cause and lend your voice, volunteer, or begin building an app to solve it). Experts put their energy toward sharing their knowledge (you may want to start a blog, write for publications, start a YouTube channel teaching on topics or begin publishing your knowledge in a self-help ‘how-to’ book).

Lleuella Morris teaches people how to think about things. She explores existential phenomena and brings new perspective on pesky, ‘thorn-in- the-flesh’ life issues. She creates tools, techniques, systems and frameworks to build people’s capacity and teach them how to think about things sensibly and in a way that promotes mental and emotional health and well-being. She blogs over at https://theartofgrowthandofeverything.wordpress.com/

The Feminine Touch

In the boardroom or meetings where ideas and plans are discussed, those with the most impactful displays hold sway over which way the company progresses with its current and future goals. As a female forging her own way in a world still heavily populated with men, this is intimidating. How do you even start to impact those that seem set on fighting your every argument?

Tossing aside those that won’t bend simply because they are stubborn, knowing how to influence others to support your vision is not hard.

Believe in your message

Of the many ways to approach the situation, passion, above all, is the biggest source of power.

Recall great orators and performers. The best have total belief in what they are doing. This, then, radiates outward to the audience, pulling them in and holding sway over how positively or negatively they view something. As an entrepreneur, this is essential, as many of your dreams are untested, requiring complete investment by you before anyone will feel safe enough to join.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

If you have never taken a debate class, do so. Without a doubt, there will be questions and arguments against your presentations and knowing how to defend your plans is half the battle.

While many performers and presenters have a built-in charisma, this is not the reason behind their success.

Through research and preparation, you can build a defense against every question you can think of before it is even asked. This will also allow you to find weaknesses and fix them so that your vision is steadfast in light of all foreseeable outcomes. If you have trouble finding passion, this will leave you with a sense of power that will translate as such.

Know your audience.

As mentioned before, female entrepreneurs generally go up against an almost fully male body of employees. Instead of decrying the injustice of it all, use this to your advantage. Study how the male mind assesses ideas and present to that. Take the time to figure out what information the audience will find most useful and most enticing. Through grabbing their attention and keeping it held with what they deem as useful packets of information, you engage them, making your perspective that much more valued and entertained.

Feeling small because you did not get the job

Some argue that such a thing as influence is impossible to achieve without natural talent, but this is false. While many performers and presenters have a built-in charisma, this is not the reason behind their success.

Knowledge and catering to the audience are huge facets behind success or failure, and for women, this is no different. Taking the rocky path of a female entrepreneur or leader in a company makes it that much more essential to study the art of influencing others to fall in line with your plans. Once this is achieved, there is arguably no dream that cannot be accomplished.

Nicole Dominique Le MaireNicole Dominique Le Maire profile pic Leaders in Heels

Nicole Dominique Le Maire is an HR Expert and co-author of the book The Female Leader, Empowerment, Confidence & Passion available here:http://thefemaleleader.biz