Every industry has them, and whether you like the term thought leader or not, they hold a wealth of power within culture and technology. Thought leaders possess a keen sense of creativity and vision. They’re always a step ahead.

We envy thought leaders, but the reality is that anyone can become one in two essential but very simple steps…

1. Think

It’s amazing to me how little of this we do for ourselves. We’re often content to allow others to do the thinking and creating while we sit and passively consume and pass along the ideas of others.

Being a thought leader requires thinking intentionally about the way things are and seeing the way things could be instead, even if the change is minute. It also requires the ability to get a little abstract and even eccentric. Thought leaders are capable of understanding the story of culture and making judgments about the future based on its flow.

Thinking is a discipline. Sometimes it requires a wealth of informational input, but our consumption must also be balanced with enough silence and solitude to give a certain concreteness to our thoughts.

Don’t just consume… think.

2. Lead

Profound, eh? Thinking is great, but it’s only step one. Acting on an idea and executing it are essential to the whole process of driving the culture and atmosphere around us. History probably knows its fair share of potential inventions and innovations that never came into being because of the reluctance of great thinkers.

Leading is risky. It means stepping out in front and challenging the status quo. Leading requires us to raise our voice and hope that someone listens and embraces our message.

Thought leaders are not only deep thinkers but effective communicators, connectors, and motivators.

3. Rinse and Repeat

I can’t fail to mention that the repetition of these two steps make all the difference between those who rise to the top over time and those who fade into the background. Thought leaders know when to move on to whatever is next.

Well… there are only two steps. Get started!