Inside Influence: One On One With Dr. Caroline Leaf

I spoke to neuroscientist and social media influencer Dr. Caroline Leaf about her best advice

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Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to go behind the brand. First things first, though, what is something about you that the many people who follow you don’t know?

Caroline: I love watching the Good Doctor in the sauna to relax and rest! Rest is so important for our mental wellbeing and ability to think clearly, and I tend to work so much because I love what I do, that I often forget to take a break. I am working on this and learning to rest in my “busyness” by listening to my brain and body’s “I am tired” signals.

Adam: How did you become an “influencer”? What is the inside story?

Caroline: It definitely wasn’t something that happened overnight. It was a process and it took me about 10 years to get where I am now. I initially just had a private practice in South Africa and occasionally spoke at conferences. I started getting more and more invites and I was eventually invited to come talk in the U.S. After that one visit, so many new opportunities came up and we (my family and I) moved to Texas. Every year now I am invited to speak at hundreds of different events, ranging from churches to schools to medical conferences and more. I also write books, have a podcast, and Youtube channel. I think telling people that they are more than equipped mentally for life is a really encouraging message that speaks to people of all ages, abilities, races and genders. It is very relatable, because we all battle with life and how to improve our mental wellbeing in a stressful society – it’s the human condition and we need to know we have the ability to cope when we know how. I think the “inside story” is just doing something you love (And I absolutely love my work), and doing it because you love. I want people to live up to their potential and love when they learn that they can succeed in every area of your life. I think if you have that passion and desire to give back into your community, people will just be attracted to that.

Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in working with influencers? How do you do decide who to work with?

Caroline: Look out for people that are authentic and original. I think often people feel like they have to be like so and so to succeed in life, but we are all different—we all think differently. It is important to work with people that are confident enough to be themselves, aren’t envious of others and appreciate people who are different.

Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in becoming influencers?

Caroline: Like I said above, do what you love. People are attracted to authentic passion and dedication that comes from loving where you are and what you are doing. It also a lot easier to dedicate yourself to something and work hard to make it work when you love doing it. And be patient! It will take time and a lot of effort but if you are doing something you love it is worth it! Lastly, find that one thing that makes you unique and pursue that. It will not only help make you stand out but will also help with your personal brand.

Adam: What is the biggest misconception about the influencer world and life as an influencer?

Caroline: That we live a glamorous lives and travel all the time and that this is always fun. But it is hard work and we are constantly “on the go”—even though I travel a lot, it is for work and there are many times when I just miss my own bed. It is a very tiring job.

Adam What has being an influencer taught you about branding and marketing?

Caroline: It is very important to develop a brand that is authentic, consistent, unique, and tells a story. I always think in terms of “What is the problem people face” and “How can I help them/what is the solution.” I also think it is extremely important to be real, honest, and creative with marketing. People nowadays are very quick at picking up shady marketing tactics.

Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?

Caroline: I love reading, which helps when I constantly need to keep abreast of all the latest mind-brain research that informs my research and work, so that I can help people understand the mind-brain connection and how it is so important in every area of our lives.

Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and how do you pay it forward?

Caroline: My family and closest friends and certain amazing scientists whose work I passionately follow. They support and love me, but are always honest with me, and continually encourage me to improve myself and learn. This is exactly how I help others – both with my patients when I ran my clinical practice for 25 years, and now as I reach millions around the world with a message of love and hope through every possible medium. Paying it forward is the most natural part of operating in the wired for love design of our mind and brain. 

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