The power or right to control; an expert in a particular field.
Think of the word authority. Now look at the what the first six letters spell: author. Noticing that connection the other day got me thinking.
The word authority is from latin auctoritas, with auctor meaning author, leader, master. When we write something (and if what we write is correct or inspirational) we become a go-to person on that topic. When we are authors, we become leaders. Or at least we have that potential.
Over the years, the word authority has evolved to have a negative connotation, too. Take a look at any dictionary. The first listed definition of the word refers to power and control - not authorship or expertise. Somewhere along the way, authors took liberties with their influence. They took control...in the halls of government, justice, religion and even business. Rather than acting as a source of insight, they began to dictate ideas. Perhaps the words they wrote helped accomplish those ends. Many for good. Others not so much.
What could the concept of authority mean to you, or me? Perhaps a lot, especially if we think about those first six letters of the word and how to use them constructively. I've noticed that most people have an area of passionate interest (or even mild interest) that places them far ahead of most everyone else in understanding that aspect of the world. We're experts in classical music, woodworking, snowboarding, trees, statistical analysis and geneology. The list is endless. As we get older, we gain more understanding and perspective, but not necessarily more confidence. Most people don't know....how much they know.
What I'm suggesting is that you can be an authority on something. You probably are already. Why not write about what interests you and share that knowledge? In business, this could be a guide to creating a marketing plan or the process manual for a chemical lab. Outside of work, it could be about a hobby or your family. Nothing is stopping you from becoming an author.
In a broader sense, our companies have the potential to become "the authority" in a given field...via research, innovation, service and branding. Being considered an authority - rather than simply one of the pack - creates an engine for success, allowing better pricing, margins, sales leads and recruiting. And how does a company gain that position? Of course, superior products are critical. But so is thought leadership. Writing. The company as an author. We can write our own stories.
When we seek power for power itself, we often fail - in marketing and in life. But, when we communicate authentically...we become viewed as leaders...as companies and as individuals. Find the author first; authority just may follow.
And don't worry, your first piece doesn't have to be the Declaration of Independence. But thanks to that document, you're free to write just about anything you want.