I really respect Jon's willingness to learn from others, and to seek out folks in his life that can keep him grounded.
So here were the six big points I gave him on the issue of becoming an author and being a thought leader. But these points I think are applicable to any of us as leaders who are already experts or soon to be experts. Here you go:
1. Actively Build a Support Network- including those who can help you on the journey, and those who will be real with you regardless of what you become. Beware of CEO disease, the temptation to surround yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear. Keep honest people in your life so that you can stay grounded in the reality of your experiences.
2. Don't think You've Arrived- Banish the phrase, "I'm done" from your vocabulary. The best leaders never stop learning and see every opportunity, success or failure, as a learning opportunity.
3. Don't take yourself so seriously. You're not a big deal. Seriously. I don't care who you are. Humility is way more attractive than arrogance.
4. Celebrate Your Rivals- Jealously is natural, but how you respond to it is not. When you find yourself tempted to speak ill about a rival or secretly wrestle with jealousy, flip that emotion on its head. Find ways to celebrate your rivals and when you run into a new one, let the first question you ask yourself be, "How can I help this person win?"
5. Be Generous. Both with your time as well as your expertise and experience. Don't forget- you were once a greenhorn who didn't know anything. As soon as you are an expert or a thought leader, it's time to start passing on what you know to others younger or less experienced than you. It's NOT the time to become arrogant and protected and sheltered by an assistant or entourage.
6. Flow between the five stages of creative development. Don't get stuck in one. Taken in concert, these five stages can be healthy, important parts of growing any creative endeavor. Isolated and obsessed on, any one of these stages can cripple your best intentions. Focus on moving between them. The key is to not just hang out in the "caretaker" stage, where you protect and defend everything you've developed, but instead keep returning to the "craft" stage, constantly creating new ideas, projects, organizations and impact.
STAGE #1- Craft – You create something out of passion for the art of it.
STAGE #2- Crowd – An audience discovers you're good at your passion.
STAGE #3- Commission – You earn money for the thing you love to do.
STAGE #4- Career – You turn a passion into your profession.
STAGE #5- Caretaker – You protect and nurture the thing you've created, and do everything you can to "defend" your turf. A dangerous phase.