Guru Status (Part 3 of 3)

This is part 3 of a 3 part series. Part 1. Part 2.

Becoming a Recognized Authority In Your Field in 60 Days or Less!

“Becoming” means identifying the BRAND you want to develop and then becoming and promoting that brand. It isn’t hap-hazard—it’s a deliberate act, or better, it’s a series of actions. But key to this is the idea of becoming. In Lord of the Rings, Gandolf the Grey, that sage of a man-turned-wizard, said: “Now is the time to become all you were created to be.” That’s the approach you need to take if you’re ready to go to the next level of impact and to move off the dime of irrelevance.

Earlier I mentioned that author Robert Bly wrote this book from his years of experience in writing. In the book he mentions several different things a person can do in order to gain the visibility he or she wants. Because I am thinking about the areas of leadership, education, and technology—I’ll add a handful of others. But keep in mind that, whatever your field, you’ll need to identify that things that give you greater street cred.

How To Do It (apply what might work, forget the rest)

  • Develop Then Become Your Brand. Becoming Your Brand means learning the techniques that help distinguish you from others and that pushes you to attaining Guru Status
  • Develop Brand Distinction. What makes “you” you? What is unique to your way of thinking, your way of doing things, your way of producing stuff… Impact is ½ Attitude and ½ Backing It Up. Ensure that your niche and style is out of the box— not the predictable, run of the mill way others do things—take the extra time and effort to do EVERYTHING right (quality and excellence in everything). Good enough no longer is “good enough.”
  • U.P.O.D. Under-Promise but Over-Deliver. Most people do the opposite. Don’t grandstand about what you’ll do or plan to do. Make it happen, and do it up.
  • Make It Look Easy and Fun. Make everything look like a party (and it will ultimately become those very things). People have enough stress. They have enough to do. They have enough dragging them down. Don’t be that guy. Be the person who makes them believe again. Be the person that makes things fun… rather than run of the mill and business as usual.
  • Coin Terms and Invent Vocabulary to Serve Your Ideas. Don’t go over the top in ways that hurt your credibility. Think of good ideas and re-brand the common place with your terms, so you capitalize on your idea. Explain and use your terms and don’t discourage others from using it. Be flattered and honored when they do.
  • Play By Your Own Rules and Think/Write With Novelty and Creativity. Develop your own categories of thinking and your own analyses of fields of thought and the like. Don’t feel obligated to re-inforce others’ categories, ideas, perspectives, or play by their rules. When you reach the tipping point, begin to test the waters with the force of your ideas by pitching out ideas and then referring to them as novel concepts of your own creation, and when you’re sure the coast is clear, brand them with your own slightly-brazen brandology: Examples include coining phrases like: “Clintonian” for Bill Clinton or Apple-esque” for when people do things like Apple/Macintosh or, to have a little fun with it, “Cardoza-like.”
  • Identify and Create Products That Drive Your Ideas. Depending on your field, if you have good ideas or important resources, people who are influenced by those things may want to have some of those things that have led to your impact and success. Think out of the box about possible products: Are there items you can create and share or even sell? The more time, study, and investment it takes you to produce, the more likely you’ll ultimately have to charge for in order to recover your costs. After all, you can’t invest in the items needed for your work and give the farm away. But the more generous you can be, the better. What products (free or otherwise) can you produce that relate to your impact in a given field? Think downloadables (pdfs, mp3s, mp4s, file access) or memberships, survey instruments, curriculum, anything—the more your ideas get into places of potential influence, the more impact your ideas can have.
  • Give a “Free Tutorial Seminar” on Your Subject (Keep in mind, free seminars are easy to promote since they’re free. They can fill the room if done properly because lots of people are looking for something to do that’s interesting and free— and once they come, the speaker has a captive audience). The question is—what would you talk about? Just think of your specializations. Maybe it’s Negotiation. Or interviewing. Or creating a resume/CV. Or setting up a blog. Or photography. Or podcasting. Or investing. Whatever—people are game for great ideas and a fun time.
  1. Have refreshments
  2. Dress well
  3. Make it “feel” BIG” and make it important—brainstorm ‘how’ to make it feel this way.
  4. Have a registration table to get information on attendees for future contact (newsletters, invitations, etc.)
  5. Use colorful, professional, trendy and smart handouts
  6. Have a resource table
    1. Have it manned by a sharp person with good personal skills
    2. If you have products, have for-sale products on hand
    3. Have promotional cards and other handout pieces that highlight your expertise and availability, with contact info and website, etc.
  7. Give things of value away and it creates a buzz, plus it endears people to you.
    1. Give-aways could be freebie Jump Drives, documents, books, blogs, newsletters, e-mails, ezines, subscriptions, pens, other giveaways people use (e.g., mouse pads), etc.
  • Write and Speak In Your Field. Take or make opportunities to influence others thinking through the power of your ideas. Write articles, blogs, newsletters, tweets, posts, and the like. Beyond these, you can also create digital resources through any of the many social platforms that help us college, curate, and share information (e.g., like Pinterest, Digg,, Delicious, etc.). But perhaps more on that later. The key is, when you DO write and speak—be sure to solve problems people are having. Give solutions. Encourage. Inspire. Inform. Then give away reprints or digital copies of what you’ve done.
  • Get On Planes. Whether it is for attending or giving a conference, when you have to travel other places in order to do what you do, people recognize that what you do is gaining traction. It signifies that you are in the right places, having discussions with other key voices, and being seen and heard. That’s what builds influence beyond your own immediate real estate.

Finally, follow the Rule of 7

Produce 7 items in an 18 month period in your field. Bly says that when we produce numerous items in a certain amount of time, we begin to flood the field with our ideas, image, and brand. That alerts people to the fact that there’s a new kid in town and a brand new player who needs playing time. I’m unsure if that’s his magic number, but the point is that one must produce visibility in order to get recognized. He even gives suggested production goals. For launching into guru status, he suggests:

 Suggested Production Goals:

  • Start Up Phase: (to get street cred and status as up and comer): produce 4-6 resources of some visible type in your field in a 3-6 month period.
  • Development Phase: Every other month for the next several months
  • Critical Mass/Tipping Point Production Volume: 1x every 3 months to gain consistent visibility
  • Maintenance Phase: 1-3x a year

So, you have enough to get started. Or, if you’re already well on your way to Guru Status, ramp up your production and become more shrewd to make an impact. If you aren’t playing around with your career or vocation, then do it like you mean it. There’s always room for improvement. All the best as you make the Guru the New You.

Image: Sergio Carbajo

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