Once you’ve done that, think about all the negative people you met. Note the effect they have on you, from annoyance to major disturbance. Maybe your boss presented your work as his or her own, and it really got under your skin. Or perhaps a friend you were supposed to meet for dinner cancelled on you at the last minute and you got upset.
Finally, contemplate these instances from the opposite perspective. Take all those times of influence and imagine how, when the tables are turned, YOU have had the same positive (and sometimes) negative influence on others.
The point of this exercise isn’t therapeutic. Rather, it’s to demonstrate how great a capacity every single one of us has to influence those around us. It’s not that we don’t have influence: all of us do, and plenty of it. The problem is that many of us fail to recognize our power to influence. As a result, we don’t harness it for the good of ourselves and others.
Influence is not all-powerful, of course. But if we want to be effective advocates for our ideas, it pays to be aware of our ability to influence the outcome of different situations.
Think about times when you want someone to make a big decision in your favor. If the choice isn’t obvious, then what makes that person decide will be based on the influence that you exercised. If it’s a job interview and you were punctual, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the position, how do you think that will influence the person doing the hiring? If you were none of those things, how do you think that will influence their decision?
If you treat the people who work for you poorly, how do you think that will affect the way they do their work? Likewise, if you make an effort to be open, honest, fair, direct, generous with praise for work well done and constructively criticize when it is not, how do you think that will affect them?
The more aware you become of the influence you have, the quicker you will realize that you influence everyone you come into contact with in some way. And, with the rise of social media, the number of people you come into contact with has grown exponentially, further increasing your chance to influence those who surround you.
Don’t sell yourself – or your creative endeavors – short. Start today by recognizing the potential you have to influence others, and exercising it mindfully.
What Do You Think?