They are well articulated. They are very charismatic. They are referred to by others as some of the most generous people they ‘know.’ They churn out blog posts and Medium think pieces and YouTube motivational videos faster than you have time to even consume. They travel the country speaking at event, after event, after event. Most of the time as unpaid speakers because they are – you know – just that generous as to grace us with their time and perceived attention.
They come across as humble and generous and they draw you in. They encourage this kind of thinking – they want to motivate you to want to consume their jargon. Their very success depends on reeling you in.
In the meantime, you connect with this thought leader on the social networks and they sprinkle you with attention, just enough to keep you coming back for more. Because your attention to their jargon will inevitably turn into a cash conversion at some point. You are the first in line to pay for access to their members-only blog / email content, their self-published book, their self-published email course, their self-published video course, their self-published….
Their apparent productivity is daunting and makes you stand in awe of their success. “They’ve worked so hard for it… if only I could work as hard…but how do they have the time?” If you could only get focused and self-publish, you, too, could become as financially sound as they say they are, as they appear to be. You are amazed at what they accomplish with their life, and you hold them in high regard.
But behind the scenes is a different story. A different person. Disagree with them once, in person, and you will see their true colors come out. If you have the intellectual/spiritual/emotional gift of Discernment you will have been watching this person climb to the top of some ladder with a bit of skepticism at the back of your mind.
The good words are too….good. The quick success was too…quick. The overwhelming acceptance by any given community too…overwhelming. Something seems off but you just can’t put your finger on it.
When you have that feeling about someone, trust it.
In time, you will see, your intuition was on point and you will have saved yourself a lot of internal angst, and related unproductivity, by moving that person off to the side and paying little to no attention to what s/he has to say.
The “thought” leaders I tend to gravitate towards and follow are the ones who are overly transparent: James Altucher, Chris Brogan, Michael Hyatt, Cammi Pham, and Katherine Zaleski. The ones I immediately put on my “pay no attention to” list is exhaustive and you’d probably be surprised who is on it. But my intuition about people’s character has yet to fail in the last 10+ years. I was about 28 when I came to understand that I was gifted with Discernment and my ability to immediately see right through people was worth trusting.
In those times when I’ve second guessed that sense – that intuition/discernment – telling me someone was not as they seemed, someone was not trustworthy, not genuine, lacking integrity and honesty…given enough time the person in question shows themselves for who/what they really are.
Thought Leaders. Career Coaches. Business Owners. Business Partners. Bosses. Preachers. Politicians. Friends. You name it & there are people among us who have positioned themselves in such a way that makes us stand in awe. Those are exactly the people to be wary of.
Self-articulation, self-expression, self-promotions, self-publications, self-attained success stories. There’s a reason it’s all self-driven.