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Becoming an Integrative Health Thought Leader Part 7: Putting it all Together

Guest post courtesy content partner Glenn Sabin of FON Consulting


This is the final installment of a 7-part series.
Read the entire series: 


Can you recognize the majority of these integrative health luminaries by their last name only?
leadership-913043_1280Abrams, Alschuler, Amen, Barnard, Benson, Berman, Bland, Block, Blumenthal, Borysenko, Bradley, Brogan, Campbell, Cass, Cates, Chappell, Chopra, Cohen, Cunningham, Dossey, Esselstyn, Evans, Fuhrman, Gaby, Gahles, Gaudet, George, Gladd, Goertz, Goldblatt, Gordon, Gottfried, Guarneri, Haas, Hanaway, Haramati, Houston, Hudson, Hyman, Jaffe, Ji, Jonas, Kabat-Zinn, Kahn, Kaptchuk, Katz, Kligler, Knutsen, Kreitzer, Lee, Lipman, Low Dog, Mack, Maizes, Maskell, Menard, Mercola, Merrill, Meyers, Northrup, Ornish, Osbourne, Oz, Pelletier, Perlmutter, Perlman, Pizzorno, Riley, Roizen, Rountree, Rosen, Samueli, Seely, Shah, Shannon, Snider, Sierpina, Standish, Tenpenny, Trowbridge, Ullman, Wallace, Weeks, Weil, Westreich, Willet, Whitaker, Wisneski, Yance, Zacharias.

Condensed for this exercise; hundreds more distinguished individuals are worthy of inclusion on this list.

My point is that these esteemed people—opinion leaders in the field—share a common trait: they’ve each done the requisite heavy lifting over time, to become discernible thought leaders.

Many have developed, on their own or with the guidance of others, a level of personal brand identity and ‘declared ownership’ of a unique niche. They have created a solid platform, created copious amounts of original content—articles, research papers, books, talks, and programming—and have become adept at leveraging earned media.

No organization or individual grants you permission to be a bona fide integrative health thought leader; YOU must do the hard work and announce your arrival.

Putting It All Together

The integrative health industry may be young, but it is vibrant and growing. Relatively small, it is increasingly becoming a contested space. Developing your personal brand, on the road to establishing thought leadership, is necessary to ensure realization of the full potential of your career—all based on the unique goals you set.

One Step (and Phase) at a Time

Developing thought leadership is not a sprint; it’s a marathon that can take years—or even decades—to achieve notable recognition by colleagues, peers, and/or media. As overwhelming as ‘Project You’ may seem, it is a necessary adjunct to the investment you’ve made in your career so far. At some point a future ‘thought leader’ must take that first step, so:

Start somewhere.

The areas covered in this 7-part series comprise a fairly comprehensive actionable guide to put you on the path to creating thought leadership. However, it is not meant to be an all-encompassing roadmap. The most appropriate strategy for you should be personalized to your unique mission, goals, and resources.

The bulk of the work, when creating one’s brand and setting the stage for true thought leadership to emerge, relies on your ability to consistently do good work. This ethic must include creating meaningful content through which to authentically engage and influence others. This is the hard part. It takes considerable time and perseverance. There are no shortcuts worth taking.

Invest Upfront and Amortize

It’s vital to invest, up front, in charting a smart strategy specific to your goals, and in service to others. This means undertaking an honest personal assessment of where you currently are in the context of where you would like to be.

And it is imperative to identify high quality coaches, vendors, and others who will develop the creative services pieces that comprise your brand, message, platform, and content strategy.

Measure your personal time and fiscal investment by spreading it over five years, not one.

It’s tempting for some people to attempt this work on the cheap. I’ve come across plenty of clinicians who have taken on the DIY approach to brand creation, including logos, messaging, copywriting, website design, and photo sessions. In practically every case ‘the bargain basement approach’ has resulted in subpar work.

You are a physician, investigator, or other type of integrative health professional. You must differentiate yourself from others in order to become a bona fide thought leader. You are most probably not a high-end WordPress designer, programmer, or expert copywriter that understands tight messaging or content strategy.

If your personal brand and platform do not accurately and powerfully reflect your CV or resume in terms of experience, expertise, and credentials, you are wasting time, energy, and resources.

Moving from Education to Action

The return on your investment—taking considerable time to read this entire thought leadership series—can only be actualized by shifting gears from learning to implementation. Take the next steps here:

• Highlight areas in the series that require further definition, apply to your situation, or interest you.

• Next: push yourself to answer the 10 core personal branding questions.

• From there, decide what your unique niche could look like, and, importantly, determine how this clinical, scientific, educational, or business direction will best serve others.

Then, and only then, pull together a top team of creative and marketing talent to help you construct the most appropriate, high quality personal brand and platform through which to achieve your integrative health thought leadership goals.

Thought leadership is within your reach. With the conclusion of this series in hand, you now have all the information you need to get started and announce your arrival.

About FON

FON creates thought leadership and personal branding strategy for those aspiring to differentiate and hone their message, and propagate their integrative health mission. Contact us today to schedule a call or Skype to learn how FON can help you achieve your professional goals.

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