The one thing you MUST do to build your expert platform

Updated to Business on May 3, 2023.

I was in a car the other day with a radiologist and a neurosurgeon talking about hypertension. 

This conversation is actually not as unusual as it might sound. I volunteer for a local society that does trail clearing in a popular hiking and mountain bike park and many of the volunteers happen to be recently retired doctors. 

Back in the car, one of the doctors happened to mention that recently his medical partner, who is in his early 60’s, had a mild stroke. As we wound our way further up the dirt road to our work site my education continued. 

I learned that strokes are the second biggest cause of mortality worldwide and the third most common cause of disability. The scary statistics get worse. As you age your chance of a stroke doubles every 10 years after 55

There’s a checklist of health conditions that make you more susceptible to a stroke, like obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes. But the biggest culprit – six times out of ten – is hypertension or high blood pressure. In my books, that’s worth paying attention to.

What’s interesting is that stress, in itself, is not the direct cause of high blood pressure. It’s what we do when under stress that leads to nasty results. We eat too much, drink too much, and move too little. Basically, we deal with stress by making unhealthy choices.

For me, stress starts with worry.

Ngoc Son Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

I’ve had a lot of worries

There is a world of problems you can worry about – take your pick. You can worry that Ukraine will be pummeled into a tiny province of rubble, or that we’ve passed the tipping point with global warming, or the tiny spot on your chin is cancer. 

Or not.

“I’ve had a lot of worries,” quipped Mark Twain “most of which never happened.” Our mind loves a good worry. Like a dog chewing a bone, we want to turn our worry around, looking from all angles, poking and prodding until it swells up into something bigger than it really is.

I used to worry incessantly before every keynote speech. I’d worry I’d miss my flight or wasn’t prepared enough, or I would be greeted by the “audience from hell.” Trust me, when you have 60 minutes to educate, entertain, inspire, motivate, and get laughs from an audience you’ve never met before, any sane person would invent a long list of worries.

It was at one of those events when a fellow speaker opened an exit door for my worries. He suggested that audiences don’t want you to fail – in fact, they want you to succeed. “They want to see you having fun—enjoying yourself. That way,” he explained, “they can enjoy the ride with you.”

When I accepted the long list of what I could never control – my flights, the audience, the speaker before me going overtime – I was free to focus on what I could control.

Enjoying the moment. 

What your life will have been

In her book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön tells the story of delighting in the preciousness of every single moment.

A woman is running from lions. She runs and she runs, and the lions are getting closer. She comes to the edge of a cliff. She sees a vine there, so she climbs down and holds onto it. Then she looks down and sees that there are lions below her as well. At the same time, she notices a little mouse gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries emerging from a nearby clump of grass. She looks up, she looks down, and she looks a the mouse. Then she picks a strawberry, pops it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Learning what to focus on, and what to ignore, seems to be the ultimate secret to living a healthy, stress-free life. “Whatever compelled your attention from moment to moment,” writes Oliver Burkeman in Four Thousand Weeks (a must-read for anyone over 50), “is simply what your life will have been.”

So, what are you focussing on?

What to focus on

You can learn a lot when you’re the dumbest one in a car full of doctors. I learned that strokes are a silent pandemic. And that hypertension is the leading cause of that pandemic. And I learned the leading cause of hypertension is stress. 

I was also reminded that stress is a choice.

We all have lions and tigers in our life. Maybe even a mouse or two gnawing away at something we value. Meanwhile, we have the moment.

Choosing what to focus on (and what not to) might just be the healthiest choice you can make.

Got this far? You might also like these posts:

Photo of eggs by Nik on Unsplash
Photo of Ngoc Son Temple by author
Photo of tigers by author

Advice is like air – there’s lots of it out there.

You’ve been told to start a blog, spend one hour a day on LinkedIn sourcing prospects, write a book, upload dazzling videos to YouTube, and build your tribe.

Okay, there goes the next ten years of your life.

The truth is that there is only one thing you MUST do to build your expert platform (your space as an authority that people know, like, and trust). And that is to write.

You need to do lots of writing. And you need to do it every day. Here’s why


Not only have did we slide irreversibly into a world of content marketing (I read your stuff and I’m more likely to buy), but we have more options for distributing content.

And all of that comes down to you creating that content.

Sure you can hire a ghost writer for a book, and maybe someone to help get tweets out on a regular basis. But, that won’t replace you creating original content that current, relevant, and valuable to your tribe.


My first stab at writing was for my blog and I struggled with it. After the excitement of the new blog being birth waned (think: one week) I was in the purgatory of writer’s hell trying to cobble together coherent thoughts on a weekly schedule. It was frustrating, laborious, and down-right painful.

Pretty soon my once-every-week-come-hell-or-high-water schedule became every weeks and then once in a while, and finally infrequent at best. Not good.


The solution I am going to share with you allows me to produce two blogs: and and the Experts Enterprise podcast every week. Plus, I crank out email invitations to webinars I’m hosting, proposals for clients, seminar outlines for conferences I’m speaking at, landing page text for campaigns we are running, and the occasional grocery list.

In short, I write a lot and I enjoy it.

The process I’m sharing here is available in different forms on this site. Probably the easiest to start with is my video in Resources (top menu) “How to write better.”


I am stunned when people tell me they have nothing to write about. Really? Unless you just got out of some deprivation chamber (even that is interesting), you have lots to talk about. The trick is to not wait for cataclysmic, and instead notice the interesting. The other day I bought a woman I don’t know a muffin and coffee. No big deal, but I could write volumes about first impressions, her reaction, what motivated me, the wonderful conversation that ensued,and  lessons learned. Watch for what happened in your life in the last 48 hours and think like a journalist. Record these little life moments (anther great use for Evernote) and then build them into your next piece of writing.


Before I write anything I get everything I know about that topic out of my head and onto paper (I combine creating a mind map with this step). There is always a temptation to find that great statistic or reference article on-line – don’t. This stage is all about momentum. Looking up factoids on-line is a distraction you can leave to the end.


I won’t write anything bigger than a grocery list without a mind map. Good structure can help save any writing, plus a mind map makes the process faster and I get clues to where I am lacking content. I am a big fan of Mind Meister: it’s fast, you don’t have to remember to hit “save” and it’s in the cloud accessible from anywhere I want to work.


I teach a certain template to experts that can be their saving grace for a blog, article, video script, and even new speech. This short list won’t do it justice, but the template I ALWAYS follow starts with this:

  • The Problem – an example or facts that describe what you know they are experiencing (get their attention)
  • My Story – your experience, report on someone else’s, or share research (build trust)
  • The Solution – offer a (high level) promise/solution. Let them know that you have discovered what they need to know (offer hope)
  • The Solution – details on what they need to do (process, points, model, details, examples, stories)
  • Do’s and Don’ts – how to get started, what to avoid
  • Next Steps – motivation to get started.lamont-bird-by-bird


I learned this one from Anne Lamott in her must-read for aspiring writers, Bird by Bird. Don’t worryabout how excellent your first draft is. It’s going to be a “shitty first draft” regardless. The trick is to get it done. That alone will move you forward and develop your writing discipline.


This is the secret to all great writing (IMHO), don’t push it. You subconscious mind will do the editing while you rest. In the morning the glitches in grammar, stumbles in structure, and foibles in format will be obvious and easily cured.


Now get to work and finish it as efficiently as possible. Try to avoid chasing any white rabbits that no one will care about. I find that most of my writing does not improve with more statistics, quotations, or facts. It takes me longer to get that content and eyes glaze over when it is read.

Have fun with this. Becoming a writer (which I still aspire to become one day) is a noble and damn profitable goal.