WE NEED MORE INFLUENCERS
When I was in High School, my parents were in the middle of a stressful divorce during the holiday season. No tree, no gifts, no family. At sixteen, I was devastated.
During that time, my English teacher asked us to write a paper that shared what Christmas meant to us. Naturally, I had nothing positive to say and resented the assignment for making me contemplate my dark holiday season.
A bright-red F was the last thing I needed. I wrote the paper and summarized that Christmas made the lonely, lonelier. It made the poor poorer, and it had no redeeming value for the hurting or distraught.
My teacher graded the papers, but before she returned them to us, she got up, with the stack in her hand, and walked in front of her desk.
She leaned back and rested against the edge of her desk. She said something to this effect. "Everyone did well, but there was one paper that stood out. I want to read it to you."
My face felt hot as I recognized the words. It was my paper.
My teacher explained how writing communicates a message, a thought, or perspective that helps others understand people and the world a little better.
She continued to say that the student had writing talent. The paper communicated a different perspective with emotion and clarity. She forever influenced my life. As a remedial English student, she considered me a talented writer.
WHO'S A TRUE INFLUENCER?
If you Google "influencer," you'll find a lot of information connected to influential marketing. What a disappointment. Yes, as marketers, we inspire or guide people into action, but it's so much more.
Some view influence as competence or sought-after leadership skill. A persuasive leader is an asset to any company—especially if they are in sales. Others care about the power of influence. Take, for example,
- News and Social Media
- Movies and Entertainment
I can honestly say some of these haven't influenced me in a life-changing way.
But people, ordinary people throughout my years, have added value to my life.
Consider parents, teachers, or mentors. What about pastors, volunteers, nurses, and missionaries. Even an office janitor cheering on the late-night overachiever is an influencer.
Does their influence hold less value than the high-profile influencers? No.
Perhaps these unsung heroes hold higher honor because they serve without accolades or press.
Like my English teacher, they give to humanity because it's the right thing to do.
Ordinary people who encourage others are unsung heroes of influence because they serve without accolades or press.
DO YOU BELIEVE YOU'RE AN INFLUENCER?
Everyone is an influencer. Yes, that includes you.
Let's consider a few life scenarios.
- A young man kneels on one knee with a little box, a prepared speech, and a tiny shiny ring. Is he trying to influence or persuade?
- One young executive comes to an interview prepared to list why the company should hire them. Is that person trying to influence or persuade?
- Wives may not want to admit it, but they are great at persuading their husbands to do something --even if they're watching football.
- A child knows what to do and how to ask grandma or grandpa for a cookie. Looking upon their little faces could be persuasive enough.
- Puppies persuade and influence their Mr. or Mrs. Human. All they need to do is wag their tail by the back door, and humans jump to open the door.
We all influence and persuade. The question is, do we influence for our gain or someone else's? Is it positive or negative?
What should we say?
"…Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them," Ephesians 4:29 New Living Translation.
Influence isn't manipulation; I believe it's an opportunity to bring encouragement.
HOW TO RELEASE YOUR INFLUENTIAL POWER
There's never been a better time to release your influence and bring a positive perspective to the world.
The Internet is a tool that allows ordinary people like you and me to have a voice and contribute to others' well-being.
Here are five simple ways to influence others.
1. Have an abundance mindset and give freely.
2. Counteract any negative comments with a positive comment.
3. Show gratitude to those around you.
4. Keep your word when you commit.
5. Don't gossip and believe the best of all people.
PLANT SEEDS AND LET YOUR INFLUENCE CREATE CHANGE
It took over 30 years to begin my writing journey, but my teacher planted those writing seeds.
I lost so much that Christmas, but I received one gift when she called me a talented writer. She believed in a broken teenager.
Who could you influence this week?
It could be as easy as saying, "I believe in you."
Your influential power is needed to encourage and inspire those who can't do it for themselves. It a matter of cultivating Resilience Today for a Better Tomorrow.
Digital Strategist and Certified Copywriter