My Twitter feed is full of leadership coaches, authors, pastors, and business leaders who take time to share their knowledge and opinions with the masses (little people like me). A popular topic among these leaders is the topic of influence and how to positively influence others. On one level, these articles are interesting and informative. They are well written, concise, and offer useful information. But on a different level, I have trouble personally connecting with them. Why? Because I don’t see myself as a person who wields a lot of influence.
I’m not the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I’m not a leadership coach with a gaudy list of impressive clients. I’m not the pastor of a large church who preaches to thousands of people each weekend and has written a best-selling book. Why should I be interested in the topic of influencing other people? I’m just a regular guy. Maybe you feel the same way.
Here’s why both you and I should be interested in the topic of influence: because whether we realize it or not, we really are people of influence. No, we might not influence thousands of people around the world, but we influence the people who we live with, work with, and interact with on a daily basis. And most of those people are the ones we love most.
Let me briefly give you some ways that you can positively influence the people in your life. You influence people by…
How you view the world.
Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but as you interact with those around you, you are revealing to them how you interpret the world and your place in it. Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Is your glass half full or half empty? I know a couple of people who are extremely talented in the area of finding fault in any and every situation. You exert influence on people by the way you view the world.
How you order your life.
I have a friend who is late to every appointment he has. He’s a nice guy, but his chronic lateness speaks volumes about his ability to manage his life. It’s hard to be a positive influence on someone else when our own life is out of control. Be on time. Keep your word. Watch your language. Keep up your personal appearance. Those are nonverbal but potent indications of the kind of person you are, and they are influential factors to others.
How you deal with adversity.
Have you ever met someone who refuses to own their own shortcomings and mistakes? Everything is someone else’s fault. Or maybe you know someone who wilts under the least little challenge of life. Their favorite words seem to be “I can’t.” And perhaps you’ve noticed that when they say that, they’re right. We all face adversity in life, and how you deal with your adversity can be a tremendous influence on those who are watching how you live. When you face difficulty with grace, patience, and courage, you’ve become an example worthy of a following.
How you treat other people.
I have deep admiration for people who work in the Customer Service field. Those people deal with dissatisfied customers, and people can be unbelievably cruel and hateful. How we speak to others, and how we treat others, is a powerful influence on other people. When we berate others, when we fail to extend grace and understanding, or when we talk about others outside their presence, we’re exerting influence on people who are watching or listening.
Whether you realize it or not, you are a daily influence on someone. Even though you might not have written a book, or you don’t have a counseling practice, or you don’t manage a business with hundreds of employees, you still influence people every day of your life.
So what kind of influence are you to others? I believe that’s a question worth thinking about.
Pastor George Gasperson is the current Senior Pastor at Christ Community Church.
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