Getting your ideas out is vital in becoming a successful thought leader. Why is that? First of all, to become a thought leader, you have to share your thoughts. You might think that you have nothing to say. But being a unique individual, you most certainly do have something to share. Individual brainstorming is a good way to get out what you have to say before you even know you had to say it!
Perhaps what you have to say isn't one hundred percent unique, but that's OK! Someone out there may be thinking the same thing as you, but it's not out in writing where anyone can see it. When you write something that people can connect with, that's a very good thing. The more connections you can make through your writing, the better. This is the beginning of becoming a thought leader, by just getting out there and sharing your thoughts, ideas, and opinions on various things.
Brainstorming is About Flow, Not Focus
Of course, the great thing about brainstorming is that you don't have to focus. A brainstorming session can be as simple as sitting down to ramble on in a stream of consciousness every morning. Letting the thoughts flow in brainstorming is key. So, why would you want to do that?
It's actually a great idea to sit down and write (or type) three or so pages worth of whatever comes to mind. It doesn't have to be related to anything. Just share your thoughts. You don't ever have to let anyone else read it.
Brainstorming Sessions Get the Ideas Out of Your Head
So why would these stream of consciousness brainstorming sessions help you to become a thought leader? During these brainstorming sessions, you'll likely stumble across some thoughts that you could expand on. From these bits, you can create some constructive content.
Whatever you do, don't worry about focusing. In fact, don't focus at all on things like spelling, grammar, or even common sense. The freer you allow your mind to be, the more you're going to come up with.
Morning brainstorming sessions not for you? They can be in the evening, too, which can be a useful way to decompress before going to bed. Honestly, these sessions can be whenever you have some free time – but consistency helps you brainstorm more often.
What are Some Alternatives to Brainstorming for Ideas?
Some people don't brainstorm at all. Instead, when they come across something interesting during the day or have an interesting thought, they'll jot it down in a notebook. Alternatively, they may send themselves an email, save it as a memo in their phone, or in some other way of saving notes.
These various methods methods work, certainly. The point is to get ideas to work from when creating content. While I personally recommend individual brainstorming, there are multiple ways to come up with topics for content.
When I say content, I don't necessarily mean a full blown article or blog post. Content can be a simple social media status, such as a question to ask your peers, family, and/or friends. It really can be anything that you share with people. The more ideas you have, the more you have to work from.
Don’t Really Think When You Brainstorm
The idea of brainstorming sessions or jotting things down is not to really think about what you're doing. There should be no self-editing and it never has to be public. The trouble is that many people try to focus too much when they go to create content and can end up burning out after only hammering out a few things. I've seen people write a few brilliant blog posts, then never write anything ever again. I really hate when that happens, because I know that people have a lot more in them than that.
I used to brainstorm a lot. In fact, that's usually where my articles and essays came from in the past. A lot of them were just revised versions of brainstorms. Of course, I cut out plenty of unrelated nonsense. But nonsense is okay to write in order to lead your brain to making the connections it needs to come up with something good. Sure, most of your thoughts are going to be junk. But, the more thoughts that you can put down on paper, the more material you have to work from in the future.
Should I Ever Focus My Brainstorming?
Of course, there are ways to focus your brainstorming sessions if you feel the need. You can have brainstorming sessions focused on a particular problem that you're trying to solve and try to identify solutions. But sometimes, you just need to sit down and get down what's on your mind. I find these to be the most productive brainstorming sessions for me. While they aren't always fruitful, they at least allow me to brain-dump and get a new perspective on my thought process.
Perhaps, reading the results of these sessions could be overwhelming for you. But if nothing useful is popping out to you, that's fine. Sometimes, it's good just to have the exercise. Remember that your brain needs exercise the way that your body does. So, the exercise alone is worth the activity, even if only every so often a useful tidbit comes out of it.
Brainstorming and Thought Leadership
Really, all it takes to create great content that helps you become a thought leader can be a single word or idea. It's how you take that idea and mold it into something that adds value to people's lives. This is what helps you become a thought leader in your field or area of expertise.
It doesn't matter how you get your ideas. It can be through brainstorming, taking photographs of things that pique your interest, jotting notes, or whatever else sparks your creativity. Whatever works in getting your ideas out there is what you should stick with on a regular basis.