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Kathy Caprino is an expert at helping people find their career bliss. She guides people to find their way efficiently in thought leadership. She also has the sensitivity in her heart and the care for her audience that will make you want to work with her. Kathy is also famous in the content marketing world with her articles published in forbes.com and they have reached millions of people. Her recent Tedx Talk “Time to Brave Up” is a must watch!

In this webcast interview, we discuss Kathy’s 10 questions to tell if you are ready to be a thought leader. We also dive into a variety of related topics, the do’s and don’ts and some side discussions related to thought leadership.

The 10 Questions to Tell If You Are Ready to Be a Thought Leader

  1. Have I developed a clear model for change and a well articulated teachable point of view that I’m able to take people through step by step for their success and their benefit?
  2. Is this model proven, tested and researched and do I know it’s effective?
  3. Have I done the inner work on myself to understand my true motives for wanting to be a thought leader?
  4. Am I undergoing a process of stretching myself as far as I can, understanding where I’m afraid and insecure of being out there?
  5. Do I care about moving the needle on the topic I’m compassionate about or am I just going for the money and fame?
  6. Do I incorporate and build on other people’s thought leadership? Do I think I know everything there is?
  7. Am I addressing my emotional fears and challenges around being seen, critiqued and challenged?
  8. Am I willing to be of service a hundred different ways and a hundred times longer than expected before I ever receive an eye of recognition that I think I deserve?
  9. Do I regularly ask for feedback, critique, help and constructive criticism so I’m expanding?
  10. Is there any evidence that my work and ideas have a positive lasting impact?


Jam: We are live at Peaceful Media, the full experience.

Kathy: Oh my goodness.

Jam: I am Jam at Peaceful Media. We are really, really excited today because Kathy is one of the premier thought leaders in helping women, men; it doesn’t matter. You can be in between, you can be a dog cat, it doesn’t really matter. She will help you find the career bliss that you want and she is a freaking dialed in thought leader. She is not a fake it till you make it type of girl. In fact, some of her forbes.com posts are famous in the content marketing world with over 7 million, 7 million hits on some of them.

So she is doing her thing and helping a lot of people find their way, their lane, their efficiency and power strip, if you will in the thought leadership and just whatever that next is in life and one of the things that attracts me to Kathy is her heart and her sensitivity and care for her audience. I got the pleasure of meeting her.

In fact, Kathy you will remember this. I was brought in by one of our clients to discuss what we would do for our website platform for their podcast. Mo Fall who is one of our clients but they were doing a podcast together and so I got an opportunity to say, “Here is what we would do; put together a proposal”.

They all totally said, “No, we’ve got this other person we’re going to go with but we love your proposal”.

And so then, she comes back and (what was it, Kathy?). Like a year ago.

Kathy: Yeah, well. September will be a year.

Jam: Yeah, yeah, she comes back…

Kathy: 43 episodes ago.

Jam: Let’s do, “I’ve got a huge Forbes following. Let’s do an article together, hell yeah let’s do that.” So, we had a wonderful time collaborating on a Forbes articles that’s going to go live in a couple of days hopefully.

Kathy: Absolutely.

Jam: And so, we will post about that but I was also like, “God, this is so fun working with someone who is on the top of their game. Can I host you for our audience and help thought leaders we work with and attract to find their way up to the top of the mountain?”

Kathy: Ah Jason, thank you for having me. Right back at you. We all know so many people in this world, in this thought leadership, online marketing world and so many have huge hearts and huge minds and some don’t and so when we connect with…I’m really talking about the spirit and the heart part first.

Jam: Absolutely.

Kathy: Now, when you meet someone like you Jason, I know I got a, I know it’s a good thing and I can’t get enough so thank you so much for having me.

Jam: Thank you for connecting me to all these amazing people that you’re working with and the thing that I like. Hey Kathy, can you come up with something we can talk about on our webcast for our audience and there was this vein in our or this sort of thread in our article that we collaborated on for Forbes that really spoke to, what are the intangibles that aren’t being taught to the thought leader?

Now, just to be clear, the thought leader is the person who is trying to get basically create a whole career around sharing their expertise, telling a story and monetizing courses, online products etc. Masterminds, retreats, it’s really a cottage industry that is quickly growing big girl and big boy out there as you see some of our clients, as you see the folks like Kathy out there crushing it, making way more money and having way more fun than they did in corporate and I mean, that’s an assumption Kathy. I’m not in your life every day but it sounds like you’re having a freaking great time every day, working with people you love every day.

Kathy: That’s it, I am. I don’t have to say it. I mean not every; let’s not wax poetic about everything. Running a business, it’s got its strains, it’s got its issues, but if you do like to manage where you’re going and be the boss in terms of who you can say yes to and who you can say no to. I mean, when I look at my corporate life, the things that made me crazy were, I couldn’t suffer fools.

I’d be in meetings and I’d be like, “I don’t get it. Why aren’t we just saying, we’re losing our shirts here, we need to…” and if I’d say it, I would be like, “You’re not a team player.” I’d be like, “Oh.”
So, it would be things like that, suffering fools and going to the same office every day just stuff that made no sense to me but when you’re in that environment, you feel crazy if you’re not drinking the cool aid as we sometimes say.

Jam: Yeah, yeah.

Kathy: So, I’m having a ball. But it’s not for the faint of heart.

Jam: Well and that’s the whole spirit of this is helping people identify before they make a big leap. If you’re like, you see those the Brendon Burchards in our world, you see the Jeff Walkers, you see these people having so much fun and “Making so much impact and money online”, You’re like, “Gosh, I got an expertise. I got something I could share with the world. I’m going to do that thing. I’m going to go online” and that’s when they reach out to Peaceful Media, that’s when they reach out to you Kathy for guidance on that path of transitioning to a different way of being in their careers.
And I got to tell you, Kathy, you and I were talking about this earlier, there are some people who are not equipped. They may have the best of intentions, they might have even some funding to make it happen and put together some saving and they really are ready to invest and then, they come to this door and they go to open it and they’re like, “Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, nobody told me it was going to take this”.

And so, this webinar is all about asking yourselves 10 questions, maybe more but we will talk about 10 today that will help you identify if you have what it takes to make it, to truly make it and have fun in the thought leadership industry and there is nobody, nobody better to take us through those 10 than Kathy. So, I’m very excited.

Kathy: Thank you.

Jam: So you started in corporate and talk to us about how, there’s some key steps to finding the career bliss and that next; whatever that next is, what are some of the questions that you wish you would’ve asked when you were making that transition?

Kathy: Yeah and do you mind if I do this? We have ten questions about how to really rock it as a thought leader but I just want to share two minutes of what happened to me so everyone can see it. It’s not like this. It’s like bumps.

So and there is one thing I’m going to share that when it happened to me, I thought no one can ever know this because this is the worst thing in the world and now I tell it in every class. So quickly, I had an 18 year corporate career and it was bumpy the whole way but after spending so many years, I didn’t, I couldn’t understand, how do I leverage what I’ve done and not start over.

I’m forty, I have young kids, they’re 19 and 22 now but I couldn’t figure it out. So, quickly after a huge brutal layoff after 9/11, I was in my therapist’s office crying and he said, this looks like the worst crisis you’ve ever faced but from where I sit, it’s the first moment you can choose who you want to be. Now, who do you want to be?

Jason, that was the single most life changing question that I guess, no one had ever asked and I hadn’t asked myself and I said, I don’t want to hurt anymore; I want to be you. And he laughed and said, “What does that mean to you?” And I said, “I want to help people.”

And from that conversation I became a therapist so this is what I want to say to everyone. I thought I was going to run away from corporate life and that therapy would save me. So, thing number one here is there are so many thought leaders who are actually wounded healers, wounded people and they’re kind of running away. And so, I do a lot of work with people about, okay, we’re not running away anymore. We’re going to deal with what your challenges are right now, address them and then you can right.

But I went to the world of therapy thinking, wohoo all my challenges will be gone and then six years into it rape, incest, pedophilia, drug addiction, suicide; some of the same challenges I had in the corporate world reappeared and I thought, “Oh brother, this didn’t work.”

And I found coaching and I loved coaching for a lot of reasons but then I want to tell you I did what a lot of emerging thought leader do. I’m smart. I had some corporate experience that rocked. I’m going to make a hundred grand like now and I thought how could I not? And what happened was I had a one-on-one model that is sustainable. It isn’t sustainable.

And how are you going to fill that pipeline? How are you going to get 40 clients a week?
So, the thing that I want to tell you is, I was in such denial that six years ago, I almost lost my house. I mean, the Marshall came to the door with (look at me, I still get choked up). With (I still have like post traumatic stress when the door bell rings, not kidding). “Here’s the papers, you’re going to lose your house.”

So you know how you and I spoke earlier about, I think that when you’ve had trauma around being who you want to be or delivering your thought leadership and it doesn’t go the way you want or being a therapist and it doesn’t. You feel so deeply the wish to help other people, it’s not, “Let me heal myself” it’s, “Let me help people not go through what I went through.”

So I think, I just share that with anyone who is in your world, who wants to be Brendon Burchard or whoever it is but struggles, struggle is part of it. Struggle is a necessary part of it. Nobody comes out of the shoot where Brendon is or my fav Shawn Achor or Brene Brown. Look at what they’ve used of themselves. So, I wanted to tell that story to set the stage.

Jam: Beautifully said. Beautifully said. So much I could riff on there but I’m going to let you guide.

Kathy: I want to hear what you have to say, always.

Jam: I see people, I see with people with a number one priority of as I come out of corporate or they come out of a previous success in their career with the number one priority to replace that income and I think what you’re highlighting here is, no, what needs to happen as a first priority is loving and serving and taking care of people so that they don’t have to go through what you’ve gone through.
How you gained your expertise, how you sharpened your sword is what people want and need and that needs to be number one. It’s so obvious when someone comes in and the first thing they want to do launch a course because why? Because they’re number one priority is to make a bunch of money. And on one level I get it. There’s a practicality of, if you have mouths to feed, a mortgage to pay, lives to keep on then you’re going to need, you’re going to need some money.

But, but and that’s fine. I mean, we all; this is business; you need to be able to sustain yourself and pay yourself in order to stay in business, right. So, I get that and if that becomes one, two and three or people feel that it’s maybe one and one and a half, you are going to struggle. You’re really are. You wouldn’t work with us but you’re going to struggle because people will feel that. History is a transparent game. It’s your image, it’s your personal name.

If A experiences one thing of you on this webinar and then go over here, because you have a different host, you’re acting like a freaking fool or the jerk that you really are when you don’t have your best face on guess what? Tribe gone.

Kathy: You’re so right and there’s an even deeper thing here. When you are driven by fear around money, you make decisions that don’t support your growth. I’m a coach and I love it and I remember someone said, make more money as an executive coach where the company pays you and I’m like, “Okay let me do that.”

I personally, usually, have a very hard time with that because there’s a conflict of interest. The company is paying me usually fix her when in fact, guess what needs to be fixed? So but sometimes we will just do the thing that we think makes money. So you’re talking about passive income. Now, everyone knows as a coach, “Okay, I can’t have a sustainable practice one on one, passive income. So what can I teach?” But they really haven’t done the work to teach. Right?

Jam: They don’t have the body of work. I think you’re going to come up with a question here.

Kathy: Yes, so let’s hit the ten questions to ask yourself if you’re really ready. Number one: Have I developed a clear model for change and a well articulated teachable point of view that I’m able to take people through step by step for their success and their benefit?

So let me just talk about that for one second. I did not know what a teachable point of view is or a model for change. Even though I’ve studied in therapy and it’s all a model for change. There’s a systemic model. There’s a structural model.

But when I started writing my first book, break down break through, I thought I knew everything there needed to be said about professional crisis and a really top editorial consultant who works with Elizabeth Marshall, one of our favorite people said, “You, this is not your big idea. This is like a little workbook. You need to research”.

And I thought, “What do I need to research for? I know everything.”

Narcissist. So I did for a year and so I started writing this book with Barry Coller and the editor said, “What is your model for change? Where is your model for change?”

And I kept saying, “What are you talking? I don’t know what you mean.”

What she meant was: You need to have a process by which you will bring every single person through. Man, woman, child, whatever your clients are that has predictable outcomes. You’re not just flying by the sea to your pants here and you’re not just giving advice. A lot of people say, “I want to be a coach because I want to give advice”.

I’m a consultant as well. So, I give advice but I put that hat on and say, “I’m being very directive now and I want you to push back”.

It’s not about sitting there, giving advice. It’s about having a process that’s been vetted and tested and that you have taken your hard earned knowledge and wisdom and you’ve broken it down into a teachable point of view and that’s just doesn’t come flying out, right Jason?

Jason: Yeah. “I will just do some damn videos and put out some of my thoughts from every morning. That will make me a six figure business. I know because I have seen my guru doing that.”
Now so, I think we should make a distinction here Kathy. So, are these questions that one needs to ask before they ever step foot into this because I could also push back on this question in the sense that this could create a whole wild world of perfectionist.

Kathy: Oh no, I can’t do it.

Jam: “Oh I don’t have that yet. I can’t get into that.” Whereas it sounds like, in your experience, you had stepped into it. You were already deep into an editorial process as a thought leader writing a book. Nothing like more tangible than a book and then the editor is like, “Hey, where is your teachable moment?”

And I think that, if I’m never stepping foot, I’m never creating a blog post or a video without my teachable moment, my signature system and my process for change all dialed and got a spiffy label and all of that stuff done then I will never get started.

Kathy: Good question. So, I think what I’m differentiating here, a lot of people will say, “I’m ready to be a thought leader like Jason.” And they want to go from point A to point Z in about 30 seconds and what I’m saying here is that’s not possible but if you engage in asking yourselves these questions. Like if you asked yourself, “Do I have a model for change?”

Most of us say, “No!”

So, what did I do? I really love this suggestion. I started looking at half of my mind split. When I was on the phone with a client, I would attend to them but the other half would watch where am I going with what they say. What do I attend to?

And what I started to realize is I look for people’s power gaps. Other people look at strengths. I have a belief that when you’re clear and confident, that’s when you fly. It’s when you’re not clear and you’re not confident, you break down. So I’m on the lookout constantly for language and thought and beliefs and non-verbals that show me where you are broken down, where you don’t like yourself, where you don’t.

I started seeing, “That’s what I look at.” And I started watching what my process is once I see that you have a power gap. So I’m asking everyone, it’s not that you can’t start putting yourself out there today . You need to. But I’m asking you to do it a little deeper than you are.

Jam: Yeah, good point. So this question is really for the person who is looking at this and needs to become aware of it or is already doing this and not having the success that they’ve been told they can have very quickly. This may be the catalyst question that helps you understand why there’s a gap in your success and your guru’s success.

Kathy: Yes, I think so. Yeah. Awesome. So, the second one, shall we go there?

Jam: Absolutely.

Kathy: Is this model proven, tested and researched and do I know it’s effective? So, I have a little bit of a pet peeve because I train coaches now and a certain level of coaches with a certain commitment, I see a lot of people saying, they’re running from their corporate job and they say, “I’m a coach now”. And number one: They’re zero training. Number two: They weren’t put to the fire.

I mean, the single hardest thing I ever went through was the first day I had to do therapy in front of a wall, a double sided mirror with a team evaluating me. I swear to you, I thought either I’m going to have a heart attack right here and I’m not going to have to do it or I’m going to throw up and I’m not going to have to do it.

I mean, to sit one on one with someone and be critiqued and I just want to share this; why this is so important. The supervisor, I came out, “How did I do?”

And this how the supervisor said. “Okay you got a problem. She was crying and you got up and gave her a tissue.”

And I said, “That’s my problem? That’s my biggest problem as a therapist?”

She said, “Stop making light of it. You are not comfortable with people’s emotions. You were stopping her from feeling because you’re not comfortable with it.”

Wow. Oh, I know where we were. About coaches that say, “Let me just hang my shingle.”

Jam: …one of the process of getting peer-reviewed, educated, trained.

Kathy: Oh yeah, and then, wanting to barf. Okay. You ready for this?

Jam: Yeah.

Kathy: Alright, sorry. I disappeared there for a minute. So what I’m really trying to get at here is, it’s really not enough I feel that, “Hey I’ve got a great idea.” I mean, share it, write it, absolutely. Write it on LinkedIn, write it on your blog post but when we’re talking about true thought leadership. I mean, think about the people that really inspire us. The TED talks that we love. It’s because they’ve done the work of vetting it. It’s not just, “I have a fun idea.” They’ve really done some research with it and it works. What do you think about that?

Jam: I totally agree.  I get a little weary about the people who are making that hard break between their previous careers and just online marketing business, online business where they’ve never worked with a client one-on-one or at least workshop format of vetting that content and finding out what resonates, looking in people’s eyes and saying, “Okay that landed”. Getting that feedback from someone, “Yeah, that mattered to me or that landed for me. That’s going to change my life.”

Something along those lines in the one-to-one, offline business development we talked about in the article. Those people who have a body of real work with clients and customers whether you’re paying, getting paid 2 dollars per session or 2 thousand dollars per session tells me okay there is something here that can be shared in an online format now that we know what that is.

Kathy: You know, you bring up another quick point and I don’t want us to go three hours here but the first time I ever gave a webinar, quite a few years ago with five hundred people on it. I was scared out of my mind and do you know what happened? Speaking of what just happened, I fell off the call but didn’t know it and my PA is emailing me, you’re not on the call.

So I come back 10 minutes later, hysterical. My hair is standing up like this. And so, I was in my true self. I wasn’t my highest self. I should have cancelled it and done it again and a woman wrote to me, “Wow, that did not resonate with me at all. You were kind of preaching to us.”

And I feel, I hope it was because I was so rushed and so stressed and 10 minutes at falling out of my webinar timeslot. So feedback is so important. You mentioned it in our article. You’ve got to get it. You’ve got to ask, “How is it working for you? What is not working?” You’ve got not to be afraid, right?

Jam: Yes.

Kathy: All right. Where were we? Where are we now?

Jam: I think it’s three.

Kathy: Have you done the inner work on yourself to understand your true motives for wanting to be a thought leader?

Every other word, my family says is that I say, narcissist because I’m working with adult children, I’m narcissistic and I don’t mean this in any flip way but a lot of us have a touch of narcissism. What we have to be careful of is that it’s not all about, “Finally I will be validated. Finally I will be heard.”
A lot of people go into it. They really are doing it to get back and I think you’ve mentioned in our article so beautifully that won’t work for you. Here we go. Is that right?

Jam: No, it’s so right and unfortunately there’s a lot of cats up on big stages right now that you go behind the scenes of the business and they’re just, “We crushed it.” It gets obnoxious in the internet marketing world sometimes not all the times. I’m sitting in Brendon’s big, okay let’s reformulate our strategy for the next five years sessions and he starts. He not only starts, he ends, he keeps coming back to this. “What helps us love our customers? What helps us love our students?” Whether they us or not, “What helps us love?”

It just kept coming back to this loving your audience and it just and that’s the reason why there is so much integrity and resonance in the market with him and why he has risen so quickly compared to a lot of legends who’ve tried to take their message online. It’s like they aren’t there to make a million bucks. They’re there to love people.

Kathy: Wow. You know there is a flip to that. There is a question and I don’t know who to attribute it to. I have it printed out. I will try to email that to you and we can include it. It’s something like, “How can I as rapidly as possible expand the quality and quantity of what I do for people?”
And I think, the love question you’re talking about with Brendon, I think, that also helps you focus on, “Who do I want to serve and who don’t I?” There’s another thing we don’t have in here. Serve the people you adore, who you’d want to have over dinner and that’s not everybody. So I love it. I love it.
But I think also, “How do I scale transformation? How do I do what I love to do with the people I love to do it with in the biggest best way possible?” Yeah.

Jam: Great question. You find the answer to that one…

Kathy: I know, I’m feeling it. All right, number four: Am I undergoing a process of stretching myself as far as I can, understanding where I’m afraid and insecure of being out there?
I had a client just two hours ago. She’s so ready to be a thought leader and move and shake and change her industry but here’s what comes out of her mouth. “I don’t know how to do it. I don’t think I can do it. I’m afraid to do it.”

“Yeah. Yep. Of course”.

So I said to her (I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing), “I don’t ever want to hear that again. I don’t want to hear it again.”

When you don’t know how to do something, what’s another way to say it Jason? I’m going to make you be a coach. If I said, “Jay I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be a Forbes writer or whatever.” What would you say to me?

Jam: What’s going to help you learn how to do it?

Kathy: Yeah. Like I know you don’t know how to do it. How about reframe it to, whenever you think, “Oh, I don’t have what it takes to do it.” Think interesting. How can I learn how to do it?

Jam: Exactly.

Kathy: That’s it. You’re not going to know how to do it, you’re going to be scared less.

Jam: Do the whole journalistic thing. What, who, like who can you reach out to that might have some insights, what do you need to go, what questions do you need to ask in Google, that thing that tells us all that answers, in Google to get answers. I bet you there is freaking one hundred thousand different article on how you can become the best forbes.com article writer in the world.
What is this whole like stalling for and asking a coach, “How do I…I don’t know how to do it. How do I do it?”

Go do the work.

Kathy: Do it and then you will figure out how to do it. I know we’re being flip and I know you and we both have said, “Oh my god, I don’t know how to do this”. Though we’re not trying to put anyone down, we’re just trying to say, “You got to push through that”.

Number five: Do I care about moving the needle on the topic I’m compassionate about or am I just going for the money and fame?

You know what? If you don’t have skin in this, if you, if this thing is something you cannot not do, don’t do it. Stay in your corporate job.

Jam: Yeah.

Kathy: That’s a big rough.

Jam: It comes out in different; this one comes out in different ways where the people say, “Well, I want to do this. I just don’t know whether I’m going to be a thought leader about.” Okay sorry, I have to put my compassion hat on sometimes.

Kathy: Yes, let’s do that.

Jam: Okay, well so what is unique about your story, your life, what do you have people asking you for expertise around? “Well, I don’t know I just want to do that online business thing”.
Do you want to go and resell some Amazon widgets or something? I mean, that’s an online business that’s not based on an expertise or thought leadership. There’s lots of ways you can go and do an online business. If you don’t have experience that’s going to resonate with people and help people understand how to get what you’ve created in your life then don’t get into the thought leadership market.

Kathy: You know what? I’ve got a build on that Jason. I work with people that “All right build it and they will come”. I work with so many people who are so talented and I can see it because I have them fill out an eleven page career path assessment. Every job you’ve ever had, what you loved, what you hated. What?

Jam: I took your assessment. It’s amazing. Everyone go do Kathy’s self-assessment.

Kathy: But the reality is so many millions of people do not see that they have talents because if it comes naturally, you are a natural speaker, you’re funny as heck, you make beautiful characters, you don’t know that that’s an amazing gift. You think everyone can do it. So, to be honest, most of us don’t know what we’re gifted at. That’s why you’ve got to dig deeper. Don’t come to Jason who runs a huge marketing agency for thought leaders and say, “I don’t really know what I want to be thought leader.”

Figure it out. Take my career path assessment. Understand the amazingness of you.

Jam: Kathy. All right so you may notice, we’ve been having some technical difficulties. This too is useful for thought leaders who are going online or otherwise, shit happens.

Kathy: Happens. I want to give a two second thing about this. I’ve been scared to death of technology. I’m admitting, I’m being very vulnerable. I was scared of Skype. My European clients would say, “Can I Skype?”

I’d be like, “No, I just do it on the phone. I’m scared. I’m scared.” I got over it. And then my amazing career project course, it was all audio until my wonderful marketing friend who helps me, David said, “Let’s do some video testimonials” and once I saw my clients I’m like, “How can I possibly not run this course on a platform where I see people?”

But I was scared to death. I did it the first time. It crashed. I fell off. I live in the woods. We have storms. There we go. I’m off. I don’t have no power. So, what I want to tell you is, it’s going to happen. Don’t be a perfectionist, one of your critters, don’t worry. I will start shaking like we are now. Like, “Oh my gosh, here is Jason trying to interview me and I’m making him crazy”. It’s what it is today.
Jam: What did you do, just like a tactical tangent here, what did you do? What are some things that you did to build out those reserves of patience and resilience to handle these things, Kathy?

Kathy: You know what comes to mind? Shawn Achor and I were talking a while ago and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing this. I said, “Now that you’ve reached the level that you’ve reached, how does that impact things?”

And what he shared, I think everyone should hear, he no longer worries about, “Do I have anything to say?” He no longer worries about validation. He just is concerned with how do I best say what I want to say. So, I think when we’re very scared about the technology and all that, it’s what we’re afraid of is that we look foolish. That we’re going to be considered a hack and I think the more you can get over that fear, work through that fear that people are still going to love you, they’re still going to be on the call, they come to you to have a seamless technological experience. They came to listen and learn and talk. And so, I think the more you can just not let your ego get hysterical.

Jam: That’s a tweetable right there. Don’t let your ego get hysterical.

Kathy: What do you think?

Jam: I say the same thing. I love watching Brendon in the stressful moments because he truly just, he’s a master at just staying grounded. You know, it’s going to blend into a spiritual conversation of, if we don’t watch out, I’m good to go there but just finding whether it’s meditation, yoga, breathing techniques; finding that way to get to a place of calm and I think logically understanding that you’re right people are there to experience you authentically and in fact, they may get their best lesson from the entire thing no matter what you’re talking about from watching you react to when shit hits the fan and it will.

Kathy: I love it.

Jam: They may come there for business and walk away and like get the most business, the most amazing business strategies ever and then, forget all that in 10 seconds and only remember that time when the lights went out at the front of the stage and you had to do 15 minutes of it in a less than ideal scenario which happened at Brendon’s; last time I was at one of his events. It was an amazing experience to watch a dude roll on that rollercoaster, seamlessly, patiently and if nobody thought any different from it.

Kathy: They really were admiring of it. I get a little teary eyed, I had forgotten this. What that reminds me of is, I give a lot of talks and every once in a while, someone will really rip me another one in the talk. Yeah, yeah and I will never forget. It was 200 people and it was a guy and there were mostly women and he said, “This is a bunch of bullshit”. Excuse me, can I swear?

Jam: Yeah.

Kathy: And everyone stopped and everyone looked at me. And you know, it’s not easy in public to be told you’re a dummy. But I think the therapy training helped and I just calmed, took three deep breaths down to my toes and I said, “I totally hear you and I understand that you would feel that way. Let me share my thoughts.”

And that was the moment that they all remembered that I didn’t get, that I didn’t rip him another one, that I said I welcome your critic because it helps me articulate myself in another way. So you’re right. It’s the snafus that are very memorable because that’s the real you coming out, right?

Jam: Yes, it’s not that. “I got mine PowerPoint file perfectly. It’s going to be perfect.” No, it’s right here. It’s right here. It’s right here. Alright, so I think we were on like question 4 or 5 or in between 4 and 5 or in between 5 and 6. Can you take us back?

Kathy: I think we were on 5. How do you move the needle about what you’re passionate about when you were talking about? If you don’t know then you can’t be a thought leader. You got to figure out what your heart is connected to.

Jam: Yes, don’t come to the get coaching from Kathy if you just haven’t got that clarity yeah, you’re going to be wasting your dollars.

Kathy: Well, actually that’s my sweet spot. I help people do that.

Jam: Oh sister. I just teed you up.

Kathy: Come to me the lost and the confused.

Jam: Go to Kathy and then when you got all that clarity about what you’re doing with your digital marketing and brand, who you are then come to peaceful.

Kathy: That’s it. That’s it. All right, number six: Do I incorporate and build on other people’s thought leadership? Do I think I know everything there is?

I have a little bugaboo because that was me when I wrote my first book. My second is on Grave Up: The 10 Ways to Rise Up, Speak Up and Stand Up boldly and change your life.

But the first book, I was like, “I know everything there needs to be said about professional crisis. I don’t need to look at anything or read anything.”

How wrong, how sad, how isolated, how in a vacuum. Yup there we go. So, I don’t think you’re going to be a thought leader if you haven’t read a book about the topic that you’re teaching. I don’t. So here’s my tip: Read the body work that came before and start to say, “Where do I not agree? Where do I not see it like that but where are they right on?”

And then, the where you don’t agree is where you should go.

Jam: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s brilliant like standing on the shoulders of the legends and the people that went before you and then on the flipside of that, we talked about this earlier where people don’t have their own way of saying what can sound like the same thing. They don’t have a naming convention or framework that’s uniquely theirs and so, it just sounds like, “Well, all I got to do is quote Tony Robbins and I got a book about success, boom”.

Kathy: Can I give a really actionable tip about that?

Jam: Yeah.

Kathy: Gretchen Ruben, I went to hear her speak. I admire her work. Bestselling author on happiness. I watched her at our library. Five hundred people were there and she was talking about her book better than before about habits and why is it that we can’t even sustain habits that make us happy? What’s the problem?

And the thing that everyone remembered was her framework on how we experience expectation and there are four ways: Uphold or oblige or challenge or skeptic and rebel. That was it. The whole audience was gone. So excited. Wait, I’m a rebel and that’s why I don’t get along with my husband who is a blah, blah, blah and I watch, I came back and I said, “Oh my goodness, that’s what we mean when we’re needing to come up with something new to be an author.”

He had a deal, a book deal today and have a great book be promoted and sold unless you want to publish it yourself which is. You do need to say something that no one has said before, no one. No small thing but I came home and I thought, “Well, what would be my thing and outpoured my 6 dominant action styles” and you took it. You, you’re a seeker.

Jam: Yes. Yeah. Very, very cool.

Kathy: You know, think of it in a way no one else on the planet has said it. I know it’s not easy but this what will be your hook, what will make you hand out. All right. Number seven: Am I addressing my emotional fears and challenges around being seen, critiqued and challenged?
Twitter on that one. You have …

Jam: That’s the groundhog. He/she halfway up out of the hole going like this; it’s a very sad little critter. The groundhog is just publicly shy, not willing to be vulnerable, not willing to get a little backlash.

Kathy: Okay. What’s our tip?

Jam: Just don’t be that. That’d be way too easy. Just don’t be the groundhog. Oh man, we’re going to dive into like that hole, the whole spiritual realm again. Spiritual, self-acceptance, that radical as Max was talking about earlier Tara Brach’s Radical Self Acceptance work of building up that resilience and fortitude. Honestly, I don’t know how to instill a packet of self-belief and confidence.

Kath: And how do you put in the water to grow, keep the flowers. Here’s a tip. You can’t be a thought leader if nobody hates what you have to say. I mean, we’ve heard this 52 ways but the first time a post of mine got on the front page of Yahoo, I said, “Oh I made it, gone viral.” I got 152 comments in 15 minutes and a 150 of them were hateful.

“You don’t know what you are talking about. Oh yeah, sure. Here’s how to succeed. Bend over.” Hateful.

Jam: It’s the most amazing comment ever.

Kathy: I know and I just was crying like what did I want to be viral for? And you know, there are certain mass media that have trolls and haters. Let’s face it, that’s all they’re doing and Forbes is not like that but the reality is you’re really not saying anything tremendously new if everyone’s agreeing with you. People are going to say, “Wait a minute, that makes me mad that you said that.” Take a look at my Forbes comments. They’re all not a love fest.

Jam: Yeah.

Kathy: So, understand that that’s part of the territory. That’s a really good insight.

Jam: I don’t think I was truly, truly ready for that either when I started stepping out and marketing Peaceful on a broader level. When we were doing our event, our Elevate Your Brand event with Brendon Burchard and he was promoting us with massive influx of audience and so, I shot this video, I will never forget. I shot this video inviting people to this event and I promoted in on Facebook and all that stuff and I was on top of a water tower somewhere in Portland and my dog was, we’re on a walk and the dog is like barking at me and saying, “Let’s play fetch here.”

So, I’m throwing a stick and talking to the camera and I promoted it and this dude, I will never forget. He says, “No, the fool trying to fool fool. Go walk your dog.” That was like, you know that’s the best comment ever. Oh my goodness. Like, where are you coming from dude like. “The fool trying to fool fool”.

And I thought I was being all loving and fun. So it was like, little bit of like, “Woah, what am I not seeing that this dude sees.”

But watching folks who are on those big stages like Brendon reach, he really does have fun with it. He shares it with his friend and his team and says, “Man, look at this amazing comment” and they are horrible. They are horribly bruising. They can be anyways and yeah, knowing that that’s a sign that you’re, you’ve made it somewhere.

Kathy: This is spiritual and therapeutic but listen. What you get from someone else is so much more than about them. You just have to remember that. It’s there, their anger. Yeah, all right. We could do an hour on each one of these.

All right, number eight: Am I willing to be of service a hundred different ways and a hundred times longer than expected?

I know and I should finish this sentence here before I ever receive an eye of recognition that I think I deserve.

You really do have to do it a hundred different ways I think. I mean, Brendon, I adore him and his work. I’m sure it didn’t happen overnight. Jason, right? Right? He did it and he did it again and he wrote his book and then he (who knows) sold it from the back of his car. I don’t know his story actually but you do have to be of service a hundred times more than you think.

Jam: Yeah when I heard the story like Neale Donald Walsch, he wrote the Conversations with God trilogy and when I read how that became, it just completely dominated bestseller lists specially in the spiritual bookshelf and when I read how that started, that he self-published and he literally as driving around in a minivan, in a broken down minivan across America just giving free talks, as many talks as he could at churches just and offering his book until the publishers noticed, “Oh wow, you’ve already sold 15 thousand copies on your own.” I don’t remember the exact number but the point is, he was just, “I have a message. It came from somewhere and I need to share with as many people as possible and I will just trust”.

And that really, it’s so true, I mean, even with a platform, it’s not a massive platform but Peaceful Media has a name in the industry and we’ve really gotten serious about thought leadership in the last few months and I got to admit like posting stuff on everywhere I can and sometimes it doesn’t have that numbers that I would except and I just have to remind myself, “It’s about a body of work. I have to create a body of work. We as an agency have to create a body of work because some day someone’s going to come and go, “Wow, they’ve been doing this for years and finding value in the backlog of the work.”

It’s when they come in and go, “Well this is Yahoo. He’s got like two things on YouTube. He’s got two things on his blog. Whatever, he’s just a noobie.”

Kathy: …was it life changing for me? I’m glad you brought it up. Go and read book number one if that’s all you can read. And number two, yes, my book was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal and I want to tell you, this is what every author thinks, I’m going to be rich now and I’m going to sell 30 thousand copies.

Jam: Yup.

Kathy: You know, I sold 3 copies from that day. So yeah, just because we’re affiliated with something major doesn’t mean, “Wohoo! I made it.”

Jam: For our first book, we were on The Today’s Show twice and we were instantly going back to the hotel and watching our Amazon rankings and I think we got close to 100. This was like, here’s a network TV show that 6 million plus people tune into every single morning and that’s as high as it goes but then at the day, you had to step back and look at the big picture, be grateful.

Kathy: All right number nine: Do I regularly ask for feedback, critique, help and constructive criticism so I’m expanding?

Ask for it, ask for it, ask the people you respect. I should ask you for, how do you think my website looks. I will do that later. I should ask everybody I respect. We should do this. What do you think? What do you think about that webinar? How could I have done it better? Or this message or this post. Don’t be afraid.

Jam: Yep. Yep and guess what? You don’t have anything to critique until you do it. See I think you’re working with people who may have inflated egos a lot where they think their stuff is better. I feel like I’m getting more thought leaders who are coming to us scared to death that their stuff won’t be good enough. So, it’s interesting we come from a couple of different angels.

Kathy: I wonder why that is. I think I do hear from a ton of corporate people who’ve had a lot of success there or some people who are broken down in the corporate world and want to leave but a lot of them have had great success and want to leverage that and they want the quick path. The quick easy path.

Jam: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kathy: Interesting and finally: Is there any evidence that my work and ideas have a positive lasting impact?

I’m so about this. There are people that are snarky out there that tear things down and we know who they are, who with on the global stage who that’s what their platform is but I think what lasts in the world is not what tears down. It’s what builds up. So, what is your message? What’s the meat of your message that will last more than you delivering it?

Jam: Yeah, yep, yep yep. Yeah, I don’t think there’s a whole lot better demonstration then our recent political conventions. The blips of hate don’t last very long.

Kathy: And this is a spiritual concept but I really believe that any hate that you put out in your words, in your energy actually bubbles up somewhere else. It’s not just contained in your fear. So, I really do think you use your words so carefully. Use them not as a weapon. Use them to build people up and I think you will catapult yourself quicker to someone people want to be with and learn from.

Jam: Yeah, it’s kind of like Dale Carnegie 101.

Kathy: I guess so, huh?

Jam: No, it’s basic but it’s. People forget it. They think, they really do think, I think that I’ve got this shield or a barrier because I’m not talking, I’m recording a video here and it’s just a freaking device and it’s just going to go up on YouTube. So I’ve got a veil here that people won’t be able to see into my heart or my soul. That’s so not true. It’s the exact opposite. It’s so, sorry, it really is a lot of inner work in order to have success in this. Period.

Kathy: Period exclamation point.

Jam: Yep, yep.

Kathy: That’s it. Well I think we covered a lot of ground, right?

Jam: Absolutely. So, Kathy what is the best way… This has been super insightful. I’m typically getting into more nuts and bolts strategies for thought leaders, online marketing techniques. This area of success teaching in the thought leader world needs to be exposed more and so, I highly, highly invite and cajole people to jump into your world as much as possible and so I took your career path self assessment. Is that the best place for people to start to feel your work?

Kathy: I don’t know what you got. Go to KathyCaprino.com. There’s so much free stuff. There’s free videos. There’s the dominant quiz, dominant actions style, there’s the career path assessment and I would also send people to the amazing career project and I’ve done it now in two ways. It’s an online course two times a year, 50 people only and it’s 16 weeks of video, 16 weeks of homework and a Facebook group and weekly calls with me. If that’s too much, not overwhelmed, there’s the video training that you can just do on your own self-paced at a much low grade and it’s really affordable.
So, check out KathyCaprino.com and the AmazingCareerProject.com and connect with me. I love LinkedIn, I love Twitter, I love Facebook, let me hear from you. Ask your questions. Challenge us. Anything you didn’t like, anything that you went, “No, I don’t like it.” Let’s hear from you. Let’s hear from people, please.

Jam: I just want to hear from the guy who told me that I’m a fool and needs to go back and walk his dog. I love that dude.

Kathy: What did he say? Don’t be a fool.

Jam: Who’s this fool trying to fool fool. Man go walk your dog.

Kathy: On that note…

Jam: One last thing on that. We have a great client friend, Dr. Neha who wrote a book about Talk RX and it was about how communication can cure most of the things, the ills that’s coming from a medical doctor’s perspective.

Kathy: I know Neha. She is on our podcast. KathyAndMo.com. Check it out. All right.

Jam: Yeah, she has a statement that I always remember, “Get curious not furious”. And so, when instead of going, and responding with that energy (I thought it was funny) and then I was like, “I’m really curious like where’s this guy, what’s his life like?” I went and explored his photo albums on Facebook. It’s all on Facebook and I was like, “Gosh wow, interesting life. It looks like you’re kind of mad in most of these pictures. I just hope to understand like…” It just solidified, it wasn’t about me.

Kathy: And you know I have one I’d love to share. I have a big list 65,000 people and I have an unsubscribe button right there but no you get the, “Please stop emailing me”. Like I’m, “Okay buddy, all right.” And every time I want to write, when they write it madly like that, I want to write, “Happy too but there is an unsubscribe button.” But of course I stop myself because it’s not about that. He’s mad at the message and I look at what email made him.
And this one was on 6 positive traits of inspiring people. “Stop emailing me”. “Okay man”.

Jam: All caps with 50 exclamation points.

Kathy: So, take a breath. Breathe and get curious. And then, come from your highest self. Otherwise, you just waste a lot of time.

Jam: Okay Kathy wonderful. We worked through the tech problems and we appreciate you for making to the end here. You’ve worked through the tech problems with us and we hope that these 10 questions are part of your awareness now that you’re taking these and taking them seriously and starting down your journey of doing the inner work that’s necessary to create massive success in this industry. Kathy we’re blessed to have your presence here and your insights from all your work in the world and we look forward to the next webcast with.

Kathy: Thank you for having me and everyone stay tuned to Forbes where Jason is getting featured on the five biggest mistakes thought leaders and online marketers make. [EDITOR’S NOTE: this Forbes article with JAM & Kathy is now live and fabulous!]

Jam: Until I see you next time, I’m Jam at Peaceful Media. Remember to love more, play more, do more good people. Peace.

Want More Kathy & JAM?

Check out our popular “interview style” article on Kathy’s Forbes.com blog titled, “The 5 Biggest Blunders Thought Leaders & Online Marketers Make Everyday.”

If you’re seeking deep advice about your career track (or really need to shake things up and get aligned with your passions), we’d also highly recommend you check out Kathy’s co-produced podcast with one of our favorite clients ever, the amazing Mo Faul: KathyAndMo.com.

What answers do you get when you ask yourself these 10 Questions? Please post your comments and feedback below!

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Jodi Piros says:

    Thank you Jason and Kathy! Some of the things you guys said in this video hit me so hard right in the gut. Ouch! I really needed to hear this! We all need a little tough love sometimes!

    • Oh My! I hope it’s the best possible gut kick you’ve ever received, @jodipiros:disqus! Not trying to hurt anyone over here in the Peaceful Media world. 🙂 Seriously though… I feel your pain. I highlighted Question #9 as my “gut kicker” but I know there are 4-5 more if I get honest with myself. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

      • Jodi Piros says:

        This was a good kick! If I’m being honest, Questions #4 and #7 are my current pain points. I’m at the edge of my comfort zone as we speak. I will be taking my leap of faith on Friday. That’s when my website will go live, thanks to you and Launch 31!

        • Please come back to this thread and post your URL as soon as it’s launched, @jodipiros:disqus. I’m excited to see all of these new expert marketing websites going live each week!