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Grab your tickets for the TFD Spring Refresh:

& Career Day at TFD:

In this episode, one woman reveals what it's really like to work for a "thinkfluencer," and why she's glad to no longer be in that situation.

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Based on an article by Bree Rody:

Video by Grace Lee

The Financial Diet site:

- Hey, guys.

This is Chelsea jumping in to preempt myself and to remind you guys that, if you have not already, do not forget your tickets to our amazing upcoming spring events. We have a Spring Refresh in April where we're refreshing and rebooting every element of our lifestyles with a ton of experts.

We're doing an all-day conference for Career Day in May that is all about anywhere you're at professionally, making sure you can get to where you want to go. We're also doing several big upcoming classes on things like investing, branding, budgeting, everything you want to learn about. And do not forget that, as always, if you join our membership program, The Society at TFD, you get 50% off of every single event, workshop, class, conference, everything we do, forever.

See you there. - There are all sorts of people who could be toxic to our mental and financial health in sneaky ways. One increasingly common one is the thinkfluencer. They are predominantly, but not always, male.

They are pseudo life coaches, aspiring TED Talkers, forever dispensing advice on how to hustle and hashtag, be bold. What they do and what they're selling isn't always clear. Worse off, because of their charm and borderline toxic positivity, it's easy to fall for them as a friend, boss, or partner.

And financially, it can get messy. My experience with a digital media thinkfluencer was working for one who was in the early stages of his journey. When I started working for him, he was just starting out with attempting to become a thought leader.

He first tried blogging. Then he started going to Tony Robbins seminars which cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $5,000 and which some have called dubious in their methods. He turned the company Instagram into a collection of his own motivational quotes which offered little actionable advice or made that much sense if you read them closely, started a podcast with a fellow amateur thought leader, then started another podcast.

He's talked about wanting to write an e-book and become a speaker. But when I thought he was getting annoying enough to unfollow, I noticed a bunch of my guy friends from college falling down similar rabbit holes. In a lot of cases, it's because they fell for a thinkfluencer themselves.

Here's why you need to worry about those charming, motivated, what's up guys, guys. Number 1, they often use people. If you ever reconnect with a friend over coffee or have a nice discussion on FaceTime, but then they turn around and start talking on platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram about the amazing, inspiring conversation they had with a friend, it could cross a line between compliments and using.

If you feel like pouring your heart out or sharing your experiences with someone might result in them simply turning it into learning experiences for them, or worse, turning it into content instead of simply being empathetic or listening, you might be dealing with someone who is more focused on themselves than others. Number 2, they're never satisfied. What makes these types so appealing is their ambitiousness.

But they're so inspired by big achievers, entrepreneurs who built million-dollar businesses, and speakers who draw five-figure crowds. This can quickly go from a good quality to problematic behavior. With my boss, I never felt like I achieved anything because, no matter how many milestones we hit, he always wanted me to dream bigger, or rather hashtag, dream bigger.

If your friends or colleagues with someone who doesn't allow you to celebrate small wins or can't break out of a hustle mindset to just have a conversation, that's not a sustainable relationship. Number 3, they put a lot of money, time, and resources into looking like they have a lot of money, time, and resources. The biggest difference between an ambitious person and a wannabe thinkfluencer is that the latter are very image conscious.

They always make a point of showing how active they are, how much time they take for prayer, meditation, self-reflection, how much networking they do, and how they dress for success, or even how early they get up to workout. But when you're on the other side, you see how much goes into this image. Most of my boss's networking sessions were things like mastermind sessions.

Whether or not you think they're a scam, objectively speaking, most of them require payment. And meetings with a business coach who was also well compensated. All of these things are choices people are perfectly entitled to, but if they start encouraging you to do similar things, make sure you're not getting into a toxic cycle.

That brings us to number 4 they're selling something that might not pay off. This is the part you had to be the most suspicious of because a lot of them start literally selling things like e-books and online courses. Or they encourage you to buy those things from other thinkfluencers.

They must be successful because they wrote a book, right? The thing is, a lot of these guys don't have the qualifications to dispense all this advice. I'm not talking about education.

Some of them just plain don't have the experience to tell you how to build something of your own even if they make it seem like they do. For example, my old boss talked a lot about wanting to become a public speaker or write a book. But I don't know what he could possibly teach people.

His company is not terribly successful and is not particularly innovative. They've even downsized since I left. That's not to say that it's a bad company or doesn't deserve success, but should he be teaching others how to be successful?

Even look at how the big guys, like Tony Robbins, who charge hundreds or thousands for seminars to improve one's life, have legions of fans who keep coming back again and again. If such coaching is really effective, should someone need to continuously go back to it? With a lot of the thought leadership industry, the endless cycle of promising something big only to keep you in a loop of seminars, books, and podcasts feels a lot like an MLM.

People wave their success around in your face promising that you can have a taste, and it never comes. There's nothing wrong with wanting inspiration in your life, and being surrounded by ambitious people can be good for you. But people who try make a brand out of that ambition might be a more toxic influence than you think.

If you have a person like this in your life, you don't necessarily have to cut them off. But make sure you're vigilant about not getting too taken in. Let their passions be their passions.

Be mindful of your time and money and make connections with real people who just enjoy talking to you, not coaching you.