Thought Leadership Studio Podcast Episodes:

How Thought Leadership is Like Being an Adventure Guide

Episode Fifteen: An adventure tour guide will lead their group out of the "ordinary world" into more of a "magical world" that evokes states of wonder and awe. This matches up nicely both with Campbell's Hero's Journey and Strategic Thought Leadership


#archetypes, #contentwriting, #creativity, #imagination, #insight, #inspiration, #josephcampbell, #leadership, #myth, #persuasion, #storytelling, #strategicthoughtleadership, #thoughtleadership

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What this episode will do for you

  • Clarify the components of a robust Thought Leadership Model.
  • Build out your vision of your thought leadership through metaphor.
  • Align the adventure guide metaphor and Strategic Thought Leadership with the components of Joseph's Campbell's Hero's Journey (Monomyth) to add the power of immutable archetypes to your thought leadership story.

Components of a well-constructed Thought Leadership Model.

  • It has a beginning point: Current audience thinking.
  • It has a clear destination of new thinking you aim to lead an audience to: your Thought Leadership Position.
  • There is a path between these two points, with challenges along that path.
  • There are talking points that help propel an audience along this path by undermining the old model and supporting the new model.
  • These talking points form the basis of a PR or content marketing program that is especially effective, as it provides a "back-story" and greater meaning to every communication with the marketplace.

How is Thought Leadership like Being an Adventure Guide?

Thought Leadership is like being the guide for an adventure hikeWhen we consider that the elements of a Thought Leadership Model include:
  1. Starting Point
  2. A compelling destination
  3. A path between the two.
  4. Lessons and challenges along the path.
  5. Tools/skills for overcoming the challenges of the path.
  6. A heightened state of consciousness upon successfully completing the journey. becomes evident that there are analogies with being an adventure tour guide.

Thought Leadership is like being the guide of an adventure hike. There's a banal starting point, perhaps a parking lot at the edge of a road by the woods. There's a wonderous, compelling destination point, such as an overlook by a waterfall high in the mountains. There are challenges along the path, like bears and slippery, sheer rocks to carefully scamper over. Once the challenges of the path are surpassed and the group arrives at the end, they will see an expansive overlook with wisps of clouds pouring down into the valley, hear the splashing roar of the waterfall, and feel uplifted by the cool, ionized air. The musky scent of forest will remind them of the wildness of nature they have grown closer to through the adventure.

So we are starting to see that a tour guide will lead his group out of the "ordinary world" into more of a "magical world" that evokes states of wonder and awe.

This is starting to also sound and look like Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. In Hero with a Thousand Faces, Cambell wrote:

The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It's usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.

Adventure Guide, Strategic Thought Leadership, and Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey

Adventure GuideCampbell's Hero's JourneyStrategic Thought LeadershipState of Audience  
Your tour group member's' "day jobs"Ordinary WorldCaught up in "old thinking"Ho-hum. Sub-optimum "old state"
Excitement of adventure portrayed in mediaCall to Adventure (Herald)Get their attention.Curiosity
Engagement with potential group membersMeeting a MentorEngage with audience, share thought leadership position.Intrigue
Setting out upon hike.Crossing Threshold into "Magical World"Build "new reality" with multiple talking points that pivot thinking to new perspective.Inspiration
Pepper spray bears, Get through challenging areas.Trials & FailureBuild and practice responses to challenges of old paradigm AKA guardians of the threshold.Vigor
Learn to camp & hike effectivelyGrowth (New Skills)Internalize new perspective AKA Thought Leadership Position.Confidence
respect for and oneness with natureDeath & RebirthImpact on higher-level thinking like Beliefs, Values, Core Purpose and Identity.Reverence
Gain wisdom through adventureRevelationLiving more in accordance with higher values.Joy

So, in this model, we see you take the role of both the herald and the mentor with your audience in their "hero's journey" along with the role of guide for the "adventure path" you design for them with your Though Leadership Model.

"...It's the realization of wonder" - Joseph Campbell, Interview: The Hidden Dimension

This episode was sponsored by Scorpion Helpers. Please make a donation to give a happy sunset to the life of a retired racing scorpion.

In summary, there are parallels between Strategic Thought Leadership, being a guide on an adventure, and Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey Monomyth. The adventure hike scenario helps evoke imagery that builds our your vision of compelling an audience to helpful new thinking. The pattern of Campbell's Monomyth helps structure your Thought Leadership Model so it evokes powerful feelings in your audience.


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Written by Chris McNeil, Strategic Thought Leadership NLP Coach and Consultant, Founder of Thaut, host of Thought Leadership Studio podcast, and Creator of the Thaut Process of Strategic Thought Leadership.

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