Leonard Kim is the author of Ditch the Act, a book that empowers readers to unapologetically reveal your whole self to the world to achieve greater success. By being his whole self, Leonard was able to reshape his entire life from showering in the dark to being served with an eviction notice and almost ending his life, Leonard was able to reshape his entire life by being his whole self. Today, he’s a respected marketer and personal branding expert who receives much recognition, and speaks across the world to help people embrace their truest selves. Plus, he married the love of his life, Angie.
In Ditch the Act, Leonard shares his personal stories that got him to where he is today, showcases others who have ditched the act, and also backs it with research from real world examples. He teaches readers a controversial, yet highly effective method to grow a resounding personal brand. He does this by walking readers through how to identify the five levels of exposure, work through an exposure resume and ultimately follow an eight-step expose yourself process that is sure to help anyone fast track their career or business trajectory at a breakneck pace.
Read BookTrib’s review of Leonard’s book, Ditch the Act.
Your biggest literary influencers (authors):
Malcolm Gladwell, Don Miguel Ruiz and Brene Brown
Last book read: Limitless:
How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life by Laura Gassner Otting
The book that changed your life:
When I used to be given a project to work on, my goal would be to complete it as quickly as possible. It wasn’t until I read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz that my philosophy about how I did everything in life changed. The book shared a story about someone who went through life and made four agreements with themselves.
After reading the book, I knew I needed to adopt these philosophies into my life. So now I strive to always being impeccable with my word, not make assumptions, not take things personally (for the most part) and to always do my best. For anyone who hasn’t put their best foot forward and has seen what the results of it has been on their lives, this is a great book to ground yourself and give yourself the ability to really move the needle in life.
Your favorite literary character:
In recent literature, the most inspiring character I’ve seen is Arya Stark from A Game of Thrones. Her journey starts with vengeance and revenge, yet as time progresses, she evolves to rid herself of worldly emotions and to live in the shadows. She trains until she perfects her arts and becomes assassin like.
As her storyline develops, she reconnects with her family, yet is still set on avenging her family. When the time arises for her to take on The Mountain, she is told to give up on the anger that has fueled her for so long or she would be left with nothing. Reluctantly, she subsides.
While many may have thought her decision to let go of all her anger was a bad choice, it gave her the opportunity to be there for the people who mattered the most to her and ultimately, kill the White Walker King, saving Westeros from doom.
Currently working on:
I’m currently working on a few different things. I’m delivering course material to those eager to learn the full extent of what I’ve learned over my professional career (mostly personal branding and upwards mobility). I’m expanding my marketing agency which has helped NYT bestselling authors, Fortune 500 executives and people in the investment world build compelling personal brands. Plus on top of that, I’m rolling out a suite of products and services with ZeU that will be bringing privacy back to the people who are sick and tired of having companies using their data in any and every way imaginable. As presidential candidate Andrew Yang says, “Our data should be a property right.”
Outside of work, I’m doing everything I can to shower my beautiful wife Angie and our lovely chihuahua Roo with as much of my love as physically possible. Keep an eye out for these updates by following me at @mrleonardkim on Twitter.
Words to live by:
When you live life as an experience, you have no limitations.
No one is absolutely useless, you can always serve as a bad example.
In order to create deep connections with others, you need to share the good, the bad and your version of the ugly.
Advice for aspiring authors:
Most publishing houses buy books from aspiring authors who already have a successful platform. That could be a speaking career, a highly visited blog, a podcast that is downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, or a heavily engaged social media network. However, having these things just get you in the door to start the conversation.
If you want to get your book in with a large publishing house, you need to really think of what separates you apart from other authors out there. And that is usually found within your set level of expertise. You need to really figure out what you know that no one else does, or hasn’t been published before, then put a compelling spin onto it.
It rarely is a straight line for authors to get their work picked up, however if you are truly revealing all of yourself, you are bound to grow a platform. You just need to really refine down your expertise and figure out what value you can deliver to your audience. Sometimes, that may require consulting with others who have done it before, or even hiring help to really flesh out your ideas. Either way, if all I did was fail at everything in the first 2/3rd of my professional career and never finished up my degree, yet I was able to get a publishing deal with the largest textbook publisher in the world, then you’re bound to be able to do it too.
“In Ditch the Act, Kim and Foland teach readers how to turn their biggest weaknesses into their greatest strengths. They show you how transparency and vulnerability can make you stronger, not weaker, and how you can go from fearful to fearless. They provide an easy-to-implement guide that includes highly effective exercises that help you cut through the nonsense and noise and establish a bold and honest brand.”
—Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist, performance coach, and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.
“Failure isn’t finale, it’s fulcrum. In Ditch the Act, Ryan Foland and Leonard Kim go into great detail from their own personal experience and professional work to teach you, step-by-step, how to turn your stories of failure into compelling connections with other people to foster relationships that stick. If you need to sell anything — including yourself — this is the book for you.”
—Laura Gassner Otting, Washington Post Bestselling Author of Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life.
“As a psychotherapist for over 40 years, I encouraged my clients to acknowledge failures, be authentic, and speak the truth. Ditch the Act demonstrates that when you adopt these principles, you can be highly successful in business. What a refreshing concept! If you want to overcome your fears, create a compelling success story, AND be your unique imperfect self, read this book!”
—Leonard Szymczak, MSW, LCSW, bestselling author of The Roadmap Home: Your GPS to Inner Peace