Influence Is NOT An Absolute

I realize it is a “Duh” statement, but this concept of ‘Influence’ is not an absolute. In other words, you don’t simply have influence because you exist. After more than 20 years of gaining increasing amounts of influence in others’ lives and behaviors, I have come to realize that most who want to increase their influence, don’t because of a few simple and misunderstood reasons.

Influence is based on relationship. Whether real or perceived, the person or persons willing to be influenced have a relational hook on which to hang their hat. For some it is only because they have read your writing or heard your podcast, but they still feel like they know you and have an emotional or relational investment. This “investment” is what keeps people coming back. Many do not want to take the time and expend the energy it takes to build that investment. But, if you want to build influence, the investment is necessary. Think about what you most enjoy and in what you may have built considerable skill. For instance, if you are an operational whiz and enjoy systems and placing organizations on a strategic path with vision and passion, AND you have a developed skill in writing, perhaps you should consider a weekly blog on practical steps in leading organizations well. I regularly read blogs by Dan Reiland and Kevin Stone because they are guys that know their stuff and can communicate it effectively. I do not know either one of these men, but have a sense of relationship because of a shared interest in operational leadership and a shared faith in the local church. Think about it. Why do you follow whom you do?

If you won't do something consistently, you won't do it well. Click To Tweet

Influence is a sticky business. I may be making this statement up as I go, but “If you won’t do something consistently, you won’t do it well.” Stickiness simply is the effort put forward by you to do something consistently and with excellence so that others can take the time necessary to learn to trust you. It is not birthed, nurtured, and harvested overnight. Although everyone now understands what you mean when you mention the name John Maxwell, it wasn’t always the case. But John has taken a systematic approach over the course of more than 30 years to become someone trustworthy in areas of personal leadership. His name is his brand. We started the Association of Christian Nonprofits nearly three years ago. It has been, at times, a seemingly endless road of clawing to find space to get out our message. Those three years of no call backs and relentless messaging only now is beginning to bear some life-giving fruit. But, a personal love for the ministry space is a driver to keep motoring. It may not happen quickly, but it does happen. Take your time. Stay at it. Refine your message. Make it sticky.

Influence reveals your character. You are not only what you say, but what you do, and how you do it. The wise old principle is true, people pay attention more to what you do than what you say. You may work really hard at messaging your brand, but do you back it up in your personal and professional life? If not, you are stunting any desired influence you want to gain. Others may like what you say and put out through your professional network, but a badly timed or deeply emotional tweet can torpedo months of influence. You must allow your newly found influence to assist in developing a deeper sense of mature character. If you do not, any influence you may have garnered with others can easily be lost on the slippery, black diamond slopes of social media. Regardless of how deeply you may feel something, once you make a public statement, it is public, forever. In the Bible, the book of Proverbs is known as the book of wisdom for a reason. Chapter 21, verse 23 is most apt here, “Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.”

Take your time. Stay at it. Refine your message. Make it sticky Click To Tweet

Influence is not withheld only for the most educated or well connected. It is withheld, however, for those that understand in the long course of our personal and professional lives, influence is developed by seeking to serve others before ourselves.

Now, go out there and get sticky!

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