How to Be a Leader in Your Industry

A few hours ago I arrived in Stockholm. After an incredible three days of hiking some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world (in the fjords of Norway), it’s now time to check off another destination from my travel bucket list.

Earlier this year I was able to cross off Thailand, and now I can do the same for Sweden. Should be a great weekend.

But while I’m out exploring, you’re going to learn how you can be a leader in your industry, no matter how crowded the marketplace might appear.

Earlier this week we had our last ever BlackSmith Liberty and Entrepreneurship camp in Lithuania. There were over 50 students from around the world (over 35 countries were represented).

It was like the Olympic Games of Future Leadership.

These kids give a grumpy ol’ man like me hope for the future.

At the camp, we had a “Shark Tank”-like investor competition. The kids were split into groups, given a big idea, and told to come up with a plan to pitch us (the investors).

The winner was a bright young man named Davis, an American now living in Hong Kong. His group articulated a brilliant vision for a unique opportunity in the Asian marketplace.

After watching 10 presentations, here are the 3 major points I discovered about leadership:

1) Great leaders know what they are talking about and come across as strong and confident in their interactions with both followers/employees and peers

2) Great leaders take action. They don’t wait. They don’t sit around and hesitate. They are resourceful and PRO-active.

3) Great leaders fail forward (because failing isn’t actually a black mark…instead it’s a sign you’re a leader…after all, most people choose not to act at all…and that’s why they remain followers – at best – and prisoners at worst).

Next, let’s look at some of the wisdom shared by legendary Jim Collins in the June 2012 issue of Inc. magazine.

“The great leaders I’ve studied are all people whose energy and drive are directed outward. It’s not about themselves. It’s about something greater than themselves.”

“Every great leader has the idea of shaping the world around them.”

“Greatness is rare. It’s so rare that, when you come across it, it often feels like it’s new.”

And now, some leadership QnA…

Q: Craig, I’m going to do some videos to help promote my product. I’ve taken your advice to create a mission and a movement in my business, and I really want this program to help out a lot of people.

However, I worry that I won’t be good at it and that viewers won’t give me any credibility. How do I overcome this and create a tribe in my niche? – Jay

Answer: First, you don’t have to do video.

There are many Internet success stories that don’t rely on videos of the expert.

What really matters is the offer you make in your business.

The offer trumps all else.

But if you go the video route, just be brutally honest.

Tell the world this is what you want and believe in…this is what inspired you…this is your life story…this is vision… you are living by example.

Expect to get criticized by anonymous haters, but also expect to attract more people just like you…and if that’s your market, sacrifice yourself for it.

You also need to make sure you are in for the long-haul. Is this the message you want to be doing for the next 10 years?

And when I ask this, I’m not judging the idea, instead I’m just making sure that you know you have the commitment to it because that is what is needed to accomplish everything that you want to accomplish.

If it is, then go all out. Lay it on the line in your videos. Filter out the negativity and focus on the connectivity.

Third, the reality is that most famous “tribe builders” have spent 5-10 years building their loyal fan base.

That’s the commitment you need to have. That’s the intensity you need to develop.

Finally, the great news is that if you truly live this, then going at it with pride and personality is going to make things ‘easier’ and more successful, faster, than ever before.

But no doubt, you are going to take your lumps from the haters.

Make sure that you have a good support system in place for this – either through filtering it before it gets to you, or feeding off it and getting enough positive support from others at the same time.

Not everyone loves those who have the courage to be leaders.

But those people often don’t have any courage at all.

Stay strong. Get stronger.

Be a great leader,

Craig Ballantyne

“To be great, a company has to make a distinctive impact. I define that by a test: If your company disappeared, would it leave a gaping hole that could not be easily filled by any other enterprise on the planet?” – Jim Collins