Be An Idealist. This is about carrying a vision that only you can see, that’s why it hasn’t been done already. You see it as complete in it’s most ideal state, you see the world or your industry in their most ideal state, this is what inspires others. Anyone can follow a vision, but there are few people who can see the ideal scene and inspire a movement around it.
As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Luna Grace Isbell-Love.
Luna is a Transformational Alignment & Leadership Mentor, with a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology. Her mission is to offer spaces for self-initiation to service-oriented CEOs and entrepreneurs who hear the call to step more fully into aligned leadership through their unique expression and maintenance of their values, so they can run legacy leaving lives, families, communities, and organizations.
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?
I was an only child raised in New York by a single mother who really enstilled a quality of limitless thinking. She was one of those people who without a lot of money could find a way to get creative and make anything happen. She died when I was just 13. After a decade of avoiding the feelings from her death through partying and pretending I stopped to take a life inventory. From the outside I checked all the boxes, but on the inside there was something missing. It was me, I was missing. From then on I went on a journey of self-discovery quitting my job as a Fashion Designer, moving to the woods and travelling the world studying Healing Arts. I did the work, I continue to everyday. Healing is an unfolding journey and from there who you become can support others, this is what happened for me, I became what I needed to feel whole and then I was able to serve others. I worked as a counselor in a leading holistic in-patient addiction recovery center for over 8 years and began a successful online business coaching and offering programs to support folks step into their purpose and innate leadership.
Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?
I believe everyone’s a leader, it’s our birthright and responsibility to lead our lives forward and make a contribution. I’m no more of an authority than anyone else, I’ve simply chosen to take on the responsibility of seeing how the way I lead my life makes an impact in the world around me, and make the best impact I can.
My work as a Leadership Mentor is about helping people clarify their core message, to stand out in a saturated crowd, align their actions with their values and make the impact they were born to make.
I believe to be a thought leader you have to be an idealist, one has to see the ideal vision of what an industry, community, company, humanity can become and paint that picture again and again to show the potential available to us and inspire action.
My work helps people connect with their mission in a felt way, where they’re not only birthing this ideal vision out into the world, but they are so intimate with it, that their vision shapes them as well.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
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?
The thing that pops up was leading a women’s group initiation in Crete, Greece. The other facilitaors and I had planned to bring the group to this particular cave. We had explored other caves on the island previously, but hadn’t visited this particular one before the trip began. The group arrived for our adventure and we couldn’t find it. All of a sudden, along the mountainside my eye spotted a black hole. So as a group we decided to make the trek. It was hot, we were ill prepared, out-of-shape, and when we got to the top there was mountain goat poop lining the floor we had intended to sit on. But we forged on. The whole day brought up so much emotion in the group dynamic, doubt in us as trustworthy facilitators and a separation from the luxury of the Cretian coastline that once held the participants brought up discomforts. It was not ideal, but it was exactly what was needed… an initiation, for all of us. A beautiful ceremony was had, people shifted, lives changed. We handled it all with grace and looking back it was the threshold that asked each person there to leave something behind in order to find the path of grace forward, some did that, some didn’t, but the opportunity was provided.
Lesson: scout your locations thoroughly beforehand.
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?
A thought leader is someone whose thinking makes an impactful positive change in the world. The original concepts they share on society, industry, and culture changes the way a large group of people not only think, but shifts their actions to align with this new way of thinking. Changing people’s minds and opening them up to possibility isn’t enough, we must evoke congruent actions.
I want to clarify that there is a thin line in consciously or unconsciously using positive concepts to manipulate a group of people to align with an agenda or narrative and bringing forward concepts that empower people to think for themselves. To me a thought leader is someone who is modeling an expanded way of thinking and being that mirrors to others an expanded version of themselves.
Thought leaders are not just followed, they are recognized and respected as authorites in their arena, the work they share is impactful in a way that makes them sought out.
I define and differentiate influencers, leaders, and thought leaders by the following:
I see influencers as people who grow and use their leverage within their enthusiastic following to affect trends and sway purchase direction.
Leaders see a direction, have the magnitism to gather a like-minded group, and pave the way for that group to step into aligned action to create an aligned outcome.
Thought leaders bring us to the razor’s edge of inspiration, seeing what’s possible and where we can go as a culture to create a positive change. They don’t just paint the picture for us, they live and breathe their ideal vision that it becomes a reality others can step into.
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 think it’s a calling some have and some don’t. Some have that cal but can’t hear it. If you feel it, it’s about honoring or dishonoring the call. Forget about any benefits to becoming a thought leader, if it’s your purpose then honoring it will bring the meaning and fulfillment you (we all) seek.
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?
The most successful businesses (success based on more than profits and market share) must authentically empathize and connect with their audience in a way that makes their customer feel seen, feel like they belong. When that is felt brand loyalty is built any service-oriented mission grows beyond the brand, and can become a shared global mission.
Anyone can evolve their industry, but few people will revolutionize their industry and this is what today’s thought leaders are here to do. An impassioned thought leader will magnetize aligned allies and the original mission’s resources are now exponentiated. The most important key here attracting collaborators based on resonance of not just the outcomes, but the approach to creating those outcomes and the company’s values being upheld through aligned actions.
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.
- Be An Idealist. This is about carrying a vision that only you can see, that’s why it hasn’t been done already. You see it as complete in it’s most ideal state, you see the world or your industry in their most ideal state, this is what inspires others. Anyone can follow a vision, but there are few people who can see the ideal scene and inspire a movement around it.
- Walk Your Talk. Having congruency between your words and your actions is key. As you’ve heard me say here, it’s not enough for a thought leader to think revolutionary, but to back their concepts up with aligned action, because your actions and choices will be the only thing that makes your vision a reality.
- Explore Nuance. Truth is often more complex than it seems. We can see things through a very specific lens that is influenced by our personal beliefs and history. This requires us to curiously and neutrally explore the spectrum of truth in which things live.
- Know Your Why. Be so intimately connected to why you show up and do what you do each day. Know undoubtedly why you are moved to share the message you are sharing. When in doubt, reconnect to your why.
- Be Unattached to the Outcome. Just serve, just give, just keep going. If you have an agenda to achieve you may lead with tunnel vision that doesn’t allow you to see what other greater possibilities could be waiting for you. Just keep serving generously, you will be reciprocated.
In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has 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.
I really value the insight and leadership of Stephen Jenkinson. He’s a storyteller, teacher, culture activist, ceremonialst, and author of Come of Age and Die Wise amongst others. His adeptness with choosing language that evokes a deep remembrance is profound, where one can feel or sense a calling back to our roots.
He’s playing the game of current culture and marketing while staying true to himself as a creative and visionary. He’s simply brilliant, I’ve heard him speak live multiple times and each time I leave reborn with an inspired motivation for better living, dying, loving, and leading.
The lessons I learn from his embodiment as a thought leader specifically (over the content he teaches) is to find your own way in an industry that tells you this is the way it should look and to not be afraid to say the thing that may make people uncomfortable, because most often they’re subconsciously longing for someone to set them free from their bubbles of comfort.
I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?
It’s not words that are powerful or shallow, it’s the meaning we give them that make them so.
When we create clear understanding around meaning through shared definitions we can choose the words we attribute to things more. Everything is a buzzword these days, industries create jargon, it’s what they do to market. But one can also have an animist relationship with language that illicts a deeper understanding, so it becomes not about using or not using a word, but about defining for your audience what you mean by the words you choose. When you do this well you invite an audience in to a felt experience of a word that can moves them into a new way of being. This is different than using a word to market or manipulate one’s psyche towards purchase. We can use “though leader” tritely, and we can also choose to use it in a way that evokes a deep sense of trust, authority, respect and connection.
What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
Know what resources and depletes you and choose accordingly. Know that you reside in the power to choose which things you welcome in your life, and/or how you respond to the non-negotiables.
Stop choosing things that deplete you, start choosing things that nourish and resource you.
You are a person of 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. 🙂
The movement I am inspiring is one of making the conscious choice to grow up. I hope to inspire a culture change where maturity is sexy and liberating, not something to be avoided. I am here to awaken us from Peter Pan dreams of Neverneverland where we can avoid the responsibilities of our life that shape our path of purpose and contribution, and give us meaning. I am devoting myself to a movement where we cease grasping for youth where we separate ourselves from our age-stage with words like “adulting” to describe buying cars and paying bills and step into our birthright as leaders and changemakers in service to a thriving planet and people. In this cultural initiation we all have our part: preparing and being prepared so we find our own way by cultivating emotional intelligence, presence, and a focus on being relational.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
This quote attributed often to Viktor Frankl, but amidst debate was more likely taken from the work of Rollo May and made popular paraphrased by Stephen Covey. Whoever said it… it’s become my North Star, so thank you.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
I believe that how we fill that space is the foundation of our leadership.
This quote reminds me that each moment is an opportunity to claim responsibility for my choices and their outcomes. In a culture that has conditioned us to deflect, blame, and compete with each other at all costs to get to the top, and to rush our choices for the sake of productivity, I appreciate the reminder that there is space to choose our response to life.
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 a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Russell Brand is currently on my wishlist to write the forward for my upcoming book, The Alignment Code, so putting it out there for miracles in my favor.
How can our readers follow you online?
The best places to find me are:
Thank you so much for your insights. This was very insightful and meaningful.
Thank you for including me in this conversation.