Everywhere I turn recently, I am reading blogs, articles, and my daily devotional on the topic of influence. One of these sources states, “Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime.”1 Wow! That is a lot of people. It has me thinking, how do we use our influence? How should we? Are we doing it in the right way? Think of how many people we could influence if we did it purposefully.
Is influence too powerful a word for you? What if you look up synonyms like inspiration, impact, encouragement, guidance? Have you done anything along these lines of late?
The scenario that comes to my mind is as a mother on an impressionable three-and-a-half year old. I catch some of my good, and even the more unpleasant nuances of my personality, or my husbands, being picked up by him and repeated. I think it is a good reality check. One I appreciate having as it makes me reflect and make a necessary change in myself.
Outside of my home, I influence people as a manager. I encourage them to expand their skillset and awarding them additional responsibilities; I guide them through problems or processes and influence their point-of-view; I’m even growing my influence by posting my thoughts to this blog! I love to challenge people to think differently about things. And I appreciate when people challenge me to do the same! I’ve been blessed to have a few special ladies in my career that have mentored me and afford me a listening ear while challenging me to think beyond the confines of my current thoughts. This has defined me more than I can ever thank them for!
What does influence mean to you? What great things have you done with your influence? If you have not any – now is the time to change that! Thinking about things from a different perspective is how we improve our world.
Take a few steps toward growing your influence today:
1. Pay attention to the people around you.
2. Ask more questions than you answer.
3. Don’t decide! Talk people through a solution, don’t provide one for them.
4. Be open to other ideas, thoughts, and arguments. Someone may just influence you! You can create influence by being influence-able.
5. Have a mentor, be a mentor!
6. Expand your understanding by reading books like How to Win Friends and Influence People, Fierce Conversations, and Leadership and Self-Deception.
1 EQUIP Leadership, Observe Your Influence email 8/10/2014