“Influence” is something that is experienced by everyone on a daily basis. Not only are we influenced by different people and things, but we too have the power to influence those around us.
In today’s culture, the role of “Influencer” is highly praised. It has become a popular marketing strategy. People with large followings on social media will be paid to promote different products and services. It’s pretty genius. When your favorite actor starts telling you about a new shampoo that gave them the softest hair they’ve ever had and how they could never go back after experiencing it, naturally, a seed will be planted in your mind that “if so and so uses it, then it MUST be good! Surely I need it too.” It’s amazing to watch the way people can be so easily influenced by someone they admire.
I remember when I was younger and still living with my parents. My mom was very particular about the kind of music we listened to growing up. As a rebellious 17-year-old, I would roll my eyes as my mom would talk to my sister and I about how what we listened to would have an effect on how we spoke and acted. Time and time again I would present my argument for why I needed to be allowed to listen to that secular song that just happened to be quite vulgar. “But Mommm! I don’t even listen to the words!! I just like the beat!” What I didn’t realize when I was 17 was that the way I spend my time (ie. The people I’m with, the books I read, the shows I watch, the music I listen to) will slowly shape me.
There is a quote that goes, “The person you will be in 5 years depends largely on the information you feed your mind today. Be picky about the books you read, the people you spend time with, and the conversations you engage in.” -Ruben Chavez.
Not to my mother’s surprise, when I would rebel and listen to that inappropriate music, I always seemed to develop more of an attitude with my parents and an “I can do what I want” mindset. What I was feeding my mind with was having a bigger influence on my life than I realized. It’s so important to identify the people and things in your life that you are assigning the most value to- because those are the people and things to whom you are giving the authority of influence of your life. In the same way, there are people around you who are watching you day in and day out. Your family, your closest friends, your co-workers or employees - who are you influencing? Are you taking advantage of the opportunity you have to positively and purposefully influence the people looking up to you?
Mike Davidson is passionate about leadership and the way it so closely ties together with the concept of influence. If you have subscribed to our daily Moments with Mike emails, you may have already read the description Mike gave of leadership and influence. He said,
“The more you want to climb as a leader, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact that you want to make in other people’s lives, the greater your influence needs to be. Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. If you don’t have influence, you’ll never be able to lead others. True leadership cannot be awarded, assigned, or bought; it comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated; it must be earned. This is what we term in Leadershift as Permissional Leadership. It’s when others give you permission to lead them. When that happens, you know you have influence. You’ve become a leader.”
What would it look like for you to start practicing intentional, influential leadership? What if your influence over others became something people sought out? A leader can’t lead if they haven’t been first been led. First, pay attention to what you are allowing to influence yourself. Then, pay attention to those you are influencing. How is the way you lead, the way you spend your time, the way you run your business, etc. setting a precedent? During this week’s Leadershift call, Mike asked us, “Who is someone who has a big influence on you, and who do you wish you had influence on?
As I think back on that question, I contemplate how many times I’ve had an opportunity to have influence on someone but chose to live passively instead. What a missed opportunity. When we live with an awareness that our words and actions deeply affect more than just ourselves, we begin to sit up a little taller, pay a little more attention, and practice being a little more intentional with our daily interactions.
So here’s to growth. Our growth.