“Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.”
Have you ever really thought about what makes someone influential? Admittedly, I have had an antiquated definition of “influence.” Let me start at the beginning. Growing up, I was never the cool kid. I was, and still am, a people-watcher; happier to observe than to take center stage. As a kid, I mentally filed the other kids into groups: the popular girls with too much lip gloss, the jocks who loved to tease, the alternative kids with sullen attitudes, and the geeks with Dilbert comics taped to their calculators. I didn’t realize it then, but I organized the playground into a kiddie caste system! If I looked closer, there was probably a popularity barometer that measured the social pressure at every grade school dance.
Even as an adult, my shy childhood experiences have caused me, at times, to confuse the definition of popularity and influence. After reading The Go-Giver, I took an inventory of the professionals around me whom I consider “influential.” As it turns out, their influence was connected to what they do rather than who they are. They’re not trying to see what they can “get” from everyone around them; they’re focused on how much they can “give” to their network.
Stated another way, influence is popularity with purpose. Influential people know how to make things happen. And making something positive happen for you is the measure on their personal barometer for success. Can you make something happen for someone else? Who will you influence today?