Play it safe and become a thought leader

Just heard a sobering story about some people we know. Friends of friends. The husband and wife both lost their jobs recently, and they are expecting their second baby any day now. I’m travelling in Europe at the moment and I heard on the BBC that the unemployment rate for young people in Spain is 50%. There are all these well-educated, highly motivated, intelligent Spaniards migrating North to take any job they can get.

Turns out playing it safe, being diligent, doing your homework, going to university, getting a degree, working hard, applying yourself to your job – all the things we are meant to do – isn’t that safe after all.


I read a great line from Seth Godin in his latest book The Icarus Deception – Art is the new safety zone. He doesn’t mean art like painting or sculpting, he talks about art as “creating ideas that spread”.

Which is a big part of what thought leaders do. If you are a knowledge worker, you can either be using other peoples ideas, or creating your own.

And while it feels scary to put your ideas out in the world, to build on the thinking in your field, turns out that’s actually safer. Who would have thought.

Love to hear your thoughts – what do you think about developing yourself as a thought leader as the safest option in the long run? You can leave your thoughts below.