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Morgan Sheets of Living Well Enterprises: “Show up”

Being a thought leader certainly brings professional advantages, but for me the power it gives is to show up, talk about, represent, and give awareness and power to subjects, solutions, and problems that I find important. This is where I personally receive the greatest return on my investment of my time. As part of our series […]

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Being a thought leader certainly brings professional advantages, but for me the power it gives is to show up, talk about, represent, and give awareness and power to subjects, solutions, and problems that I find important. This is where I personally receive the greatest return on my investment of my time.


As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Morgan Sheets.

Morgan Sheets is a Master Wellness Coach and Media Consultant that teaches women entrepreneurs in health, wellness, and fitness that have zero media experience a systemized DIY approach to land media coverage in 60-days or less.

Through her course, Get Your Message In The Media, she walks users through a step-by-step process on how to land media coverage, so they can increase their impact, leverage their exposure to attract their ideal clients, and establish themselves as an authority and leader in their industry.

Morgan has landed media placements for health and wellness entrepreneurs in Woman’s World, MindBodyGreen, Well + Good, Oprah.com, MSN.com, Prevention, Women’s Health Australia, First For Women, Bustle, The Zoe Report, Thrive Global, Martha Stewart Weddings, and more.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/7dcfa67dc6d6da680cf893ca63c728ec


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

My story really started with being a lover of books and magazines. I was quite the bookworm growing up and my favorite places to be were the library and the bookstore. I grew up between three different countries which created a fascination in me for trying to understand how cultures are created and why people are the way they are in different places around the world. I knew there was no “one way” to live and be, and I was fascinated by trying to understand people.

Since I also have a love for writing, I thought I’d turn my love for reading into a career and started college as a journalism major. I wrote articles for the University’s print and online newspaper. One of my highlights was covering the Iraq war protest in DC as a photojournalist. After a year in journalism, I felt a calling to focus on a more visually creative path, and transferred to what was called at that time the Telecommunications Department. I shifted my focus to Electronic Media Production, with concentrations in business and sociology. Fortunately for me, my time at college aligned with a lot of growth in the department and I was able to take drawing classes and graphic and web design classes to round out my experience.

During this time, I also became an agency represented model and actress, and began to learn about media, marketing, and branding through a talent perspective as well.

After I graduated, my mom asked me to put the skills I’d learned in marketing, messaging, media, and creating brands and building brand awareness to use by joining her in her new business venture. We spent a decade working together and took her company from zero, to selling to celebrities and big brands, as well as having our products in the top industry-related magazines for our space. Eventually, though, we sold the business so that we could pursue other passions.

Before exiting, I began a part-time massage therapy business. Over time, I began to realize that I was doing my marketing and brand positioning differently than my peers, and was seeing the results in my bank account.

Unfortunately, I live with multiple chronic illnesses and decided to pivot my business into wellness coaching, so that it would serve me more sustainably in the long-term. As I built my wellness coaching business, I started getting a lot of messages and questions from other wellness coaches, asking me about my own marketing and media strategies, and how they could improve their own methods of client attraction and conversion rates.

As a result, I took on a few of these people as clients and the results that they achieved inspired me to shift my focus to what I do today, coursework in landing media coverage, brand positioning, storytelling, and visibility. Over the years, I’ve created my own methodology that has landed many aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals, placement in top-tier media outlets throughout the world.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?

I prefer to think of myself as a voice and a contributor on how to share your message in the world. For my own wellbeing, I prefer to operate from a place of perpetual growth, focusing on continuously moving towards the goal of mastery, instead of claiming to have arrived.

One of my favorite quotes about being an authority is by Money Mindset Mentor, Denise Duffield- Thomas. She says, “You don’t have to be a guru, you can be a contributor. If you really care about a topic, be a contributor. You don’t have to know everything.”

I believe that my life experience has given me the opportunity to discover what it means to be an authority, build a reputable brand, and be a thought leader from multiple perspectives. And I have a desire to make a contribution to the world in the entrepreneurial space through using my multi-passionate background and unique perspective on messaging, marketing, branding and media.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I don’t know about the most interesting, but the most surprising story to me is the career itself that I’ve had!

I’m what I consider an “extreme introvert”, and I’m also highly sensitive and empathic. The fact that I now teach how to land media exposure and have done such visible work as modeling and acting, still blows my mind. If I didn’t feel such a strong calling to share my work with the women who are out to do good in the world and help them build a prosperous life, then I’d spend my days wandering around cities and beautiful environments, snuggling with cats, and reading books.

People say to pursue what you love as a child, but if that is the case, I would have been a veterinarian or a horse trainer.

My path to entrepreneurship has been something that has unfolded for me and I’ve felt strongly guided and nudged by life to pursue the steps I’ve taken. I didn’t initially have a goal or dream to build a business or have a career around wellness, marketing, messaging, and media exposure.

Even while I was studying media in college, I saw myself as creative and working behind the scenes and on the production side of things doing things like operating cameras, producing radio or TV shows, directing, or graphic design.

I have such a passion and drive, though, to empower female entrepreneurs with world-changing services, products, and messages, to be seen and heard, and that’s what has driven me to do the work that I do.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of my personal funniest blunders is from one of my first guest appearances on a radio show as a wellness coach. I was trying to walk people through a grounding exercise and instruct them on how to reconnect with their body, and instead of telling them to “take off their shoes”, I told them to, “take off their feet”. I started laughing so hard and it was really challenging to compose myself again and resume the interview. I’m one of those people that can’t stop giggling or laughing once I get going. I will always remember that moment fondly, though, and wonder how many other people I made laugh with my language mistake.

The beautiful thing about making harmless mistakes — especially very public ones — is that you learn that nothing bad really happens. I’ve learned to understand that making mistakes, having first drafts, and facing challenges or having things not work out, is just part of the process. I simply cannot prevent any of those things from happening no matter how much I practice, prepare, or otherwise try and create a certain outcome. And learning how to live from that place helped me to relax more, live more freely, and take more action.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?

I define a thought leader as someone who is interested in changing the paradigm of what is and tries to get people to see a new or different way that could be instead.

In my opinion, there are two different types of leaders. A type of leadership that I find negative and toxic, is that type of person that attempts to lead by commanding people and wielding authority like a parent punishing a child. These types of leaders are in the “you are for us or against us camp”, they lead by coercion and omission of details, and influence by making broad and sweeping statements that are not backed up by fact. When you attempt to contradict their version of reality, which is merely an imaginative story they’ve made up that has no merit, they often resort to the classical parent’s words of, “do it because I said so.” This is not thought leadership, it’s being an authoritarian.

I believe a positive form of leadership, is someone who leads by example. They make decisions based on facts, intuition, and life experiences. They are emotionally flexible, and not rigid in their thinking or point of view, but able to listen to varying viewpoints. When contradicted, they can intelligently back up their claims with reason and logic as to why they see them to be true or factual. They do not attempt to lord over others, but instead present their viewpoint from a place of mutual respect for common humanity and recognition that each individual has the right to make their own choices. A true leader is a person who can help each individual discern and decide the highest course of action to achieve the desired outcome or results on an individual or organizational level.

I do believe that a thought leader has more visibility and recognition than just a leader, and that the level of exposure and influence they can create through their visibility, is what brings them into “thought leader” status.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader. Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?

I see thought leadership as a civic responsibility for those of us who want to make a difference and create positive changes in the world. When we can share information, strategies, products, or services with the world and teach others how they can use them to make a difference in their own lives, and that of their families, and their communities, then we are able to create ripples of change that have far reaching effects that we may never know the extent of, just by showing up as a thought leader.

Despite being an extremely introverted, private, and minimally social person, throughout my working life I’ve understood and used the power of visibility and used it to bring light to topics that I find to be important.

From a young age, I recognized that representation matters and somehow innately understood that if I wanted something to be seen, visible, and if I believed it of importance, that it was my job to show up and talk about it.

Being a thought leader certainly brings professional advantages, but for me the power it gives is to show up, talk about, represent, and give awareness and power to subjects, solutions, and problems that I find important. This is where I personally receive the greatest return on my investment of my time.

Instead of looking out at the world and being angry about what I do not see being done or discussed, instead I prefer to focus on how I can show up to facilitate the conversation, talk about the solutions, and help provide resources and tools to solve the problem at hand.

It may sound trite, but honestly for me the greatest benefit of positioning myself as a thought leader is that it gives me inner peace. I can sleep well at night knowing that in my own small way as an individual, that I am focused on creating the greatest impact that I can to help bring light to matters of great importance to me.

Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?

Focusing on positioning yourself as a thought leader, definitely helps create lucrative opportunities. As people, we have an ingrained bias to trust those who we see being praised or featured by trusted media outlets, accrediting organizations, or educational institutions.

I believe that both as individuals and owners or decision makers in companies, we inherently want to work with and hire people who we believe are the best. We want quality, we want successful outcomes, we want to hire people that we feel are so dedicated to their craft that they constantly focus on improving, excelling, and becoming masters in their field. Mastery, however, is not a place we arrive, but a perpetual journey of evolution and growth. To me when I see someone who positions themselves as a thought leader, my perception of them is that they are that kind of person and embody those qualities.

Being a thought leader, especially a specialist, allows you to command higher rates than those who don’t focus on positioning themselves in the same way. And by positioning yourself as a thought leader and delivering the level of work that goes along with the title, you attract higher quality opportunities, which can lead to substantially further gains.

Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.

To become a successful thought leader, you have to be strategic and specific. You need to take the time to look at what matters to you, why it matters, and also what is not being said on that topic that needs to be brought to light.

Once you’ve taken that step, then you have to look for opportunities and outlets to share your message in a credible way.

I’ll use myself as an example here.

At 30, I made a big career shift and decided to step into the space of being a wellness coach.

I have lived with multiple chronic illnesses, and because I did not get any help or answers through the avenue of traditional medicine, I wound up having to act as my own researcher and figure out my own solutions. I have spent more of my life than I would have liked researching online, studying, and devouring books to try and understand and fix the issues I’ve experienced in my mental, physical, and emotional health.

As I focused on building and growing my business, I reached out to local and national media outlets to share my story and advice, because it was the primary method that I knew to reach a lot of people with solutions and strategies that I felt passionate about for myself.

Did those actions benefit my business? Definitely. I attracted both individual and corporate clients, because I showed up to share my message with the world through the media. Positioning myself as a thought leader also branded me as a trusted authority that people felt more comfortable hiring to help them resolve their own problems.

I do believe that with great power comes great responsibility, so for me it’s important that I feel I can stand behind anything that I share with my whole heart. I think another important step is to be crystal clear on your personal values, integrity, and boundaries.

Now that I’ve shared a little bit of my story, let’s distill those down into the 5 clear steps.

Step 1: Take the time to clarify into keywords, details, specific terms, and categories what matters to you, why it matters, and what is not being said around those topics that need to be brought to light. Look into your own education, experience, and personal history and decide what topics you specifically are uniquely designed to represent or discuss in the world.

Step 2: Get clear on what your personal and professional values are, what integrity means to you, and what are your own lines and standards. Also, this is a chance to define your own personal boundaries. You can be vulnerable and have boundaries. You can share your experiences and life story, and not divulge details like people’s identities or other specific details. Decide where your public and private boundaries begin and end, and what you are and are not willing to share.

Step 3: Come up with specific goals and outcomes that you are trying to achieve. Being strategic has a bad reputation at times, because people see it as manipulative…but it’s not. There is nothing underhanded or wrong about creating specific goals, and then developing a strategy with specific aligned action steps that you believe will help you reach those goals.

Step 4: Start your research and look out into the world and see where and how you can add the most value through sharing your message. Focus on finding outlets that already have a reputation and credibility you seek. It’s very important that you only align your message with organizations and media that fit your personal or brand standards.

Step 5: Show up. Until you reach out and pitch yourself, ask for a meeting, or take any actionable steps in landing a speaking engagement, book deal, or media interview for a larger stage, everything is just a dream and theory! Put yourself in the rooms, show up, and represent your topic.

In your opinion, who is an example of someone that has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach?

Brene Brown has had a huge impact on who I’ve become as a business owner and her work has given me the tactical guidance I’ve needed to develop and grow my leadership skills.

Through her work, I have learned how to relate to the concepts of leadership, vulnerability, authenticity, and boundaries. In her own sharing of her stories through her work, I found a model of “being” that resonated with me and also the actionable guidance and steps on how to create my own version of that through her book, Dare to Lead. When I found myself in a position of leadership and visibility, I sought out her book, because I didn’t have great reference models to follow and I was really frustrated by the bad advice I was being consistently given. I was craving and searching for a model and method of leadership that resonated and felt good to me. I applied the advice she gave in the book to my own life, business, and approach to leadership, and it transformed the way I showed up in the world.

When I entered the world of online business and coaching, there was a huge emphasis on sharing your story and being authentic and vulnerable. I’m for those things as a general concept, but what didn’t feel right as I started sharing was the emphasis on drama style storytelling. This approach wanted to take my most vulnerable parts and open them to people who hadn’t earned the right to know those sacred parts of me yet, making it all feel too intimate to divulge. I was asking and seeking guidance on authenticity and connection with boundaries, and kept running into people giving me terrible advice.

When I read these two quotes by Brene Brown, I finally could breathe a sigh of relief and found the words I needed to unlock a new way for me to show up, share, and feel great about having boundaries.

“Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It’s not oversharing, it’s not purging, it’s not indiscriminate disclosure, and it’s not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process.”

“I only share when I have no unmet needs that I’m trying to fill. I firmly believe that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not to the expectations I might have for the response I get.”

Like Brene, I’m introverted and my interest in sharing my work lies in the impact I’m trying to make and create through the work that I do. I don’t personally crave or love attention, but I am willing to put myself out there to achieve my greater goal. I find her humorous accounts of her own struggles and path to stepping into her role as a thought leader refreshing, relatable, and inspiring.

I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?

I would say context is important, anytime we make choices around the words and phrases we choose to use.

Having said that, I don’t feel that way about the term “thought leader”, but I also imagine that’s because of my own perception of what the word means and my association with it.

What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

As a woman that is highly sensitive, introverted, ambitious, and also lives with an incurable chronic illness, I’ve had to evolve my business model and processes many times over to honor my personal limits. It’s very important that we look at what we have the individual capacity to show up for and acknowledge our limitations. Only then can we create efficient and leveraged strategies to achieve our outcome goals without the personal opportunity cost of burn out, sacrificing personal relationships, or any facet of our personal well-being.

I’ve used earned media coverage to help grow multiple businesses, because of the power it gives me to reach many people with a small energy expenditure on my part. I don’t have the personal capacity to have coffee chats, multiple one-to-one conversations, attend networking events and meetings, and still connect meaningfully with the same number of people that I can through media channels.

I like to say that it’s important to be firm in your “what” and be flexible in your “how”. In order to avoid burnout, you have to become clear and focused on what your highest priorities are and what is most meaningful to you and your well-being. You then figure out how you can show up and create your desired vision for bringing these priorities to life in a way that works for you as an individual.

And you have to say “no” to everything that doesn’t align with your priorities and protect your own life energy like the precious asset that it is.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m living my movement now. I’m on a mission to “Live Well + Be Well = Do Good” and to empower other women entrepreneurs to do the same.

I am focused on creating holistic success stories, through living my life and business in alignment with who I am, while sharing my unique talents and gifts with the world in a way that benefits others. My philosophy is that the only “right way” is the way that works for you, and supports you to experience freedom, prosperity, joy, alignment, purpose, inner peace, fulfillment, and passion.

The vehicle through which I share this message and teach other women continues to evolve and grow, but the foundational teachings remain the same.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I’m a quote lover, so my list of favorites is quite long. I’m such a quote nerd, that I can remember checking out a massive book of quotes from my middle school library and looking up my favorite things and reading the quotes on each subject.

For this piece though, I think that this particular quote by Rumi speaks to the message I’m trying to convey around what it means to be a thought leader and how you can have flexibility in living out that aspiration.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” ― Rumi

This Rumi quote has given me great peace, as I’ve walked my journey to take my multi-passionate personality and mold it into a singular purpose. What I personally took away from this quote is that living on purpose can be brought to life in a thousand ways.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Yes! I’m not a huge lover of meeting strangers for meals as I feel super awkward trying to eat and have a conversation at the same time, but I would love to sit down with Brene Brown, Oprah, Michelle or Barack Obama, Marie Forleo, or Richard Branson.

How can our readers follow you online?

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/morgansheets/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/livebedogood/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/livebedogood

My Get Your Message In The Media Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/819217992266218

Or they can reach out to me via my website at www.morgansheets.com.

Thank you so much for your insights. This was very insightful and meaningful.

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