INFLUENCE: 7 LIFE-CHANGING THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
The idea of influence is intriguing to me. I’m on a bit of a quest at the minute to explore what it means in culture today; to break open the word and dig out all the flesh that we have put around it and try to find out what is at its core – the real juicy stuff.
And I’m getting somewhere. Somewhere surprising. And it’s exciting to lift the layers and see what’s underneath all the trappings of influence that we have created for ourselves. (sidenote: what we have created - not wonderful)
You see, for the majority of my career I have been involved in activism work. Working with charities, running charity projects, advocating, lobbying, creating movements for change. I’ve met people along the way that have shaped my idea of influence. I’ve witnessed a hunger for influence in the social justice sphere and been fascinated at how the power dynamics work when working for systemic change. I’ve seen what it takes for shifts to happen in the policy room or the campaign planning session; how influence is used – in healthy and unhealthy ways. Yes. The non-profit sector is not always healthy. Activism is not always healthy. Crazy, right?
In the last few years I’ve also been building my own business, one that largely operates online. I believe that my business has the same values as my non-profit work – empowering, advocating and opening conversations about systemic issues that have held women and girls back and creating connections so they can flourish – but this time my medium for this work has changed. I’ve been immersed in the world of social media, working to have my message heard there, connecting with others who are doing the same. To have influence in this sphere has certain trappings associated it and what is held up as influential has sometimes left a lot to desire. For me, anyway.
Both of these worlds have been fascinating to be part of and what influence looks like and what it takes to acquire it are very contrasting from one to the other. Not better. Not more effective. Just different.
In one world, influence is largely about who you know at the top.
In the other world, influence is largely about how many people are looking.
In one world, influence is about needing to be an expert in your field.
In the other world, influence can be gained by staging expertise or by learning as you go.
In one world, influence is mastered by having firm boundaries.
In the other world, influence is largely gained by blurred personal/private lines.
There are so many contrasts to it all and so my interest has piqued over time.
How does influence work so differently in one area to another?
Are there common threads that run through both?
And then, just to make things super interesting - last week I asked my friends on Instagram to think about who has truly been influential in their lives. I wanted to know what the top qualities of that person were that made them so significantly influential to them.
The answers to this came in thick and fast and it would seem that the people who have been incredible influences on our lives are quite close to our minds, easy to recount.
I paid close attention to the responses and what fascinated me was that there were some reoccurring themes. Themes that I’ve been sorting through to make sense of.
What occurred to me in sifting through this all, these personal lived experiences of being influenced by someone else is that influence isn’t actually about what happens on the outside.
Influence is an inside job.
Being a person of influence isn’t something that you can cajole or project - it’s an inner work that makes it’s way out.
As I work through all the data and the interviews and research, I wanted to share with you seven LIFE-CHANGING things that are emerging in my findings about the inside out idea of influence. I’ll be unpacking these more over the coming weeks but for now, just read them and absorb. Be challenged and hopeful. Find your own
Influence isn’t actually about outer platforms – it’s about an inner posture.
Influence isn’t about momentary notoriety – it’s about long-term dedication.
Influence isn’t about power – it’s about contribution.
Influence isn’t about reach, it’s about depth.
Influence isn’t about accumulation, it’s about generosity.
Influence isn’t about perfecting who we are, it’s about becoming who we are.
Influence isn’t about striving, it’s about ease.
These are life-changing truths because they tip our cultures idea of influence on it’s head.
Influence is getting rebranded, my friend and it’s happening here.
We don’t have to wait for numbers and figures to have an impact. We don’t have to show up perfectly or expertly or loudly. We get to have an impact. We get to do the inner work that brings integrity back into a world that so badly needs some. Are you with me? Isn’t that an enormous relief to hear?
I’m going to be sharing lots more about influence over the next number of weeks because I think it’s a conversation worth having. I’m going to be hosting an online workshop in October that will fully lay out all of my findings and give a bit of a new blueprint for influence that I think will be really inspiring and hopefully create lots of discussion and opportunity for learning.
If you’d like to be kept in the loop about that – stick your email address in in the box below so you’ll be the first to know about it all!