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6 Steps To Become a Lean Thought Leader (and craft novel ideas online)

The internet is the biggest idea laboratory in the world. Leverage the feedback to test your thoughts, develop world-changing ideas, and build an audience around your mission and values.

I paced back and forth in the bathroom in my sister’s house in Canada.

I gave myself a pep talk.

“Stop being a little punk, Nifemi. If you’re going to do it, just do it.”

I looked at myself in the mirror. 

My arms were weak. My palms were sweaty. Luckily there was no vomit on my sweater. Confidence shredded like confetti.

I was not about to give a Ted Talk. Oh no. I was not about to get on stage to perform stand-up for a few minutes.

No. This was more serious.

I was about to write and publish my first post on LinkedIn.

You see, in 2019, I was writing my first book.

My writing coach said: “you want accountability, tell people online that you are going to be writing a book.”

Three years before that I had disappeared online. After my phone decided to stop working one fateful morning, I got off Facebook, Instagram, and even Whatsapp.

For 3 years, I’d lived a peaceful offline life. 

However, I did keep my LinkedIn, but just to run my company page.

Never posted anything personal. Ever.

So when my writing coach said, go post on social media. At that moment LinkedIn was the only thing I had.

I finally came out of that bathroom. Typed something on my phone and posted. Threw the phone to the side for the day.

I was surprised at the response. Far from what I thought. It was quite delightful.

I realized I lacked the confidence to put my thoughts out to the world.

And confidence online comes from feedback.

Now I post every single day on LinkedIn and X.

If you’re interested in building a brand or presence online, ​get my new 5-day email course here​.

Nothin’ New

The internet unleashed publishing.

It was supposed to take the scientific method to the next level. Where you develop insights, get data, share your insights and keep developing. That was the early vibe of the internet.

It was an open source library to facilitate thought development. Until it got co-opted by the corporate networks. The big tech bros, sissies, and their cronies.

They developed algorithms that tap into the weakest human emotions of fear and outrage, creating an echo chamber of thoughtless parrots. 

Mimicking one another.
Patting themselves on the back.
Taking selfies with forced fake smiles.

Someone turn this Truman show off.

AI is only taking it to the next level.

Prompting GPT and posting.

Don’t you realize everyone is doing the same. 

No movement forward. 

All saying the same thing.

Your brain is an incubator.

Paper is a mirror to reflect your thoughts. You actually have to process information for yourself to understand it. When you process alone you are limited by your physical network (the people you can reach).

That’s the amazing power of the internet.

But the internet without thoughtful processors becomes an echo chamber.

So what happens when you are thoughtful and you share your thoughts online?

You sharpen them faster.

Your processing + internet = insights gets to a larger network beyond your physical boundaries, allowing you to grow faster.

Thought leadership is not about clout and personal branding, it’s about developing novel ideas that can change the world.

And doing it intentionally in the world’s biggest laboratory – online.

Become a Lean Thought Leader

Treat yourself like a startup. 

Get lean with your thought process, development, and distribution.

Put your thoughts online, get back, and keep developing. When you develop thought leadership you improve your thinking. You get to articulate ideas in more effective ways. You can use this to build a brand, drive traffic to a business or a cause, and impact people in a positive direction.

Here are 6 steps to start your thought leadership journey.

1) Overcoming resistance

Look up in the sky, it’s distraction, it’s overthinking, it’s procrastination.

No, it’s resistance.

You’ve been submerged in something your entire life. You learned it at home. In your social groups. From your friends, parents, things you watch on TV. It’s so pervasive that you don’t even know it’s there.

Resistance is the veil that separates the life you’re living from the “unlived” life within.

It doesn’t want you to win. 

It shows up in statements like “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “nobody is going to like this” It stops you from your true calling. It has agents all over the place, conspiring to stop your greatness. It’s an equal opportunity employer. It gets everyone.

There’s no way to get rid of this resistance. You have to learn how to recognize it and dance with it.

When next you’re scared. Do it anyway.

Overcoming resistance is the first step to walking the path.

2) Decentralized writing

Write bottom-up.

The gurus always tell you to choose a niche. It’s solid advice but it’s standard. It’s the type of advice that makes so-called gurus sound smart. A lot of times it’s not actionable.

Because finding a niche leads to one of the biggest problems: analysis paralysis.

“Maybe I should write about this?” “Perhaps I should focus on that?” “You know what I should just stop?”

In this era of abundance, having focus is very important but we are all multifaceted: interested in different things.

That’s why decentralized writing helps: Follow your interests and just write about them. Perhaps you don’t share them to start with.

Just write to start getting a sense of what you’re really interested in. The more you take notes, the more you notice what ideas you like coming back to.

Eventually your niche will emerge.

It will be a personal niche that only you can incubate.

3) Taking Atomic notes

Writing is taking notes.

The biggest problem with writing is the time between “when you have an idea” and “when you write it down.”

To solve that: always have a pen handy. 

In my case, always have a note app ready on your phone

Most of the letters I’ve written to you have started as notes on my phone.

I have a template. Whenever I read a few pages of a book, I spend 5 minutes summarizing what I read and why it’s important to me. I learned this system from Niklas Luhman, a German sociologist who published 70 books and 400+ scholarly articles.

Now I have 1000+ notes on my drive.

Note-taking does a few things. It:

1) helps you understand what you just consumed, forcing you to be intentional about what you consume.

2) instills a habit that you can come back to.

3) allows you to practice your writing without any pressure.

4) gives a sense of progress. Instead of asking “did I work on my manuscript today?”, you can say “have I written one note today?”

5) incubates ideas that can be connected. When you have multiple notes, new ideas emerge from connecting them.

6) reduces the pressure of starting from scratch when you want to write long-form.

7) improve your critical thinking.

8) boosts your memory.

9) allows you to be observant.

10) becomes a creative and dialogue partner that you can always reference and interface with.

I can keep going about the power of note-taking but I’ll stop there.

Develop the atomic habit of notes.

4) Choosing a feedback loop (output)

Most people want some grand reveal of their thoughts when what they need is feedback to develop a style.

It’s not just what you say, it’s you how you say it.

I write in my journal. I’ve been doing it for 10 years. I have those books sitting around. No one reads them. 

They serve a purpose. They are for reflection and planning.

When I share my insights online, I want to connect with people, an audience, or community but underneath that I want feedback and validation. This feedback in the form of data allows me to refine my interests and understand what resonates with people.

It helps me connect with them better.

Without feedback, you’ll be lost. 

Constantly in your head, guessing what will resonate with your audience. The internet is the biggest laboratory. You can run endless experiments.

Write a tweet. Write a LinkedIn Post Share a substack post.

The likes, engagement, comments, replies, reposts.

That’s all feedback.

Choose a place online to output your thoughts and be consistent.

One LinkedIn post a week. One Tweet a day. One Newsletter every two weeks.

Do this for 12 months.

The first goal of a digital thought leader is to get data.

5) Sharing your work 

Make your work digestible.

Most people write like they just woke up and decided to run the tap. Just let the words flow. When they output their words it’s just one big block of text. Audiences online see that and run away.

Never start your writing with a long paragraph.

Start with a short sentence.

Most readers are looking at your writing, deciding whether they should pay any more attention to it. They skim your work before making a full commitment.

Writing online has to be visually appealing.

You can achieve this with spacing and rhythm. Allow the space to make your writing skimmable and digestible. Add some rhythm by varying the lengths of your paragraphs.

Some short.

Others long. Just like this one. Remember this rule: people do not read your writing just because you wrote it. They read it because it’s beneficial to them. Don’t hide the benefits in a long block of texts.

Space things out and make it easy to digest.

6) Staying in touch

The goal is to build community.

LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, X. I guess they are all cool but none of us own anything on these platforms. Even your profile can be “disappeared” with a single button. Better not say anything about Elon and his fan boys on X. Your profile might get Xed.

Real community means real connection.

This means you can always interact with them whenever you want. Like a family member, you don’t need to go to LinkedIn to reach out. The goal is to stay in contact.

– Email – Phone numbers – Home Addresses – Wallet Addresses (for my Blockchain enthusiasts)

Find your way of building a real community.

Leading Thoughts…

Thought leadership is one thing.

Building communities requires frequent touchpoints without the need for a huge corporation between.

Crafting novel ideas and building out a library of unique content is something that the internet has expedited.

It allows you to attract people to your business, build a brand, develop a powerful network, share World-Changing ideas, positively influence people, and facilitate your self-growth.

Lead yourself. Start your thought leadership journey online.

You’re truly, Nifemi

P.S. If you made it this far, claim this exclusive guide (+ a 5-day email course) that I put together to jumpstart your thought leadership journey online.

Who is Nifemi?

Hey I’m Nifemi of NapoRepublic

I help busy people fit in a creative practice to bring to bring order to their reality and help them live a more meaningful life through writing and reflection.

Sculpt your story

Know thyself, build a second brain, and unleash your creativity with writing. All in one journaling, note-taking, and dots-connection method that fits into your busy life.