Practical ways to Increase your Influence (Pt. 3)

Influence

In the first part of this series I wrote about inspiring and serving those around you. In the second part I wrote about sharing what you are learning and lending your power or authority. In this series concluding post you will read that you can increase your influence by choosing to add value, maintaining a positive attitude, and starting something that brings value.

Chose to add value

Your influence will increase when you add value to those around you. Adding value is about serving, encouraging, and helping the people around you. When you encounter someone you have the choice to add value or subtract value from them. Chose to daily add value to those in your areas of influence, to humbly focus on the other persons wants or needs above your own.

Do this by adapting an added step to the classical version of the golden rule. The Matthew 7:12 version of the golden rules says, “So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them.” While this rule is foundationally true, I’d like to take it one step further. You should do unto others what they want you to do for or to them.

Everyone is different with a variety of desires, dreams, and wants. What one person wants will probably not be what the other person wants. Be intentional about learning about the wants or needs of the other person then do what you can to provide the solution for them. Do not do what you want for them but what they want. This lifts them to a new level of hope and leaves them better off than before you interacted with them.

Maintain a positive attitude

Your attitude can significantly impacts the people around you. Formal Baseball player Wade Boggs said, “A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” A positive attitude can increase your influence while a negative attitude will decrease your influence. To win friends and influence people requires maintaining a positive attitude. Alongside a positive attitude you should be deliberate about being kind and nice.

The truth is that you will have bad days when you will not feel like maintaining a positive or optimistic attitude, days when everything seems to be going wrong and against you. It can be tempting to allow your emotions or situation to dictate the attitude you will have. When these times happen you should acknowledge your feelings and accept what is happening around you, take time to adapt nourishment centers into your life, and do your best to at least have a good attitude.

Start doing something that brings value

When I first discovered my life purpose, passions, and areas of strengths I wanted to start doing something that would allow me to help people (That were connected to those 3 areas). At first I wanted to write leadership books through a traditional publisher. For several years I waited for someone else to find me and give me permission to start writing. I was naive and thought my passion was enough to get me a book contract and overlooked the skill and experience that would be required. Then I heard about blogging so I stopped waiting and started writing. Since that choice, I’ve been able to gain and increase my level of influence because I chose to start blogging.

In the comment section of the second part of this series blogger and author TC Avey said this about how she is impacting others and at the same time increasing her level of influence,

“One thing I do is use my blog to share with people what God is revealing to me about my own Spiritual walk and/or the world around us. As for growing my sphere of influence…well, I’m trying to be faithful with what God has given me and trusting Him for the increase in HIS timing and will.”

She is like so many other people that have started writing to share the message they have and increased their level of influence as a result. You should consider starting or building something that would bring value to other whether it’s a blog or something else. When you do you will begin to see your level of influence increase.

 Questions: Can you add to the list of ways to increase your influence? Which of these methods do you practice and maintain?

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  • I think a lot of times we tend to think of influence as a formal thing, such as leading a team at work. But expanding that definition opens up a lot of possibilities to increase our influence, such as what you’ve mentioned here. Having a positive attitude and seeking to add value wherever we are are great ways to earn influence in all spheres of life – not just coworkers, but friends, neighbors, and people across the world.

    • Hello Loren,

      Great point, we should try to have and increase our influence with everyone around us. It does not need to be a formal area. Thank you for adding to post.

  • I agree with Loren. We tend to think of influence as formal, like someone coming to us and saying, “I am so grateful for what you did/said/whatever.” A face-to-face word. However, I have found many times the greatest influence is when it is least expected. People watch. Hear. Sense.

    • I totally agree, Bill. I’ve found the people who have impacted and influenced me are ones who have not intentionally tried to, they where just leading and the result was that I was positively impacted/wanted to follow them. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Simply adding value to others lives is huge. It’s also a big change in thinking that we often need to make. Naturally we want to add value to ourselves but when the focus is not only yourself it’s guaranteed to fail sooner or later.

    • I believe small or simile acts of kindness/adding value really is significant, those small things really impact those we encounter. Thank you for adding to the topic.

  • Excellent series Dan! Value giving (and multiplying toward other people) is a “coin” worth pursuing! But you also need to have a unique perspective in order to magnify the offering (what’s marketing referred to as unique value proposition)!

    This proposition, many times is our unique voice or the ways we do things! As leaders we show and expect people to follow! You do and expect [!!!] others to follow your lead. But this is not the case! Sometimes even random acts of faith or courage can mobilize (inspire???) many people. Is not always black and white!

    • Thank you Takis:)

      Great and true thoughts here! I think being authentic is essential when it comes to really influencing others, people want to see your a real person who really cares about them. Thank you for adding your thoughts here.

  • I was reading your post and was pleasantly surprised to read my name and comment mentioned- thank you :)

    Like you, I thought my passion would be enough to get me a book deal and I thought I needed a traditional publisher to make me a “real author”. What I was doing was waiting for someone to give me permission to do what God had placed in my heart to do.
    I didn’t need anyone’s approval or permission- I had God’s!

    I love blogging. I love writing. And I love that I’m getting to do what God has placed in my heart to do without having to answer to a publisher or agent. I’m free to follow God however He directs.
    Mark 12:30-31 are the verses I try to live by. Loving God and loving others. I’m not perfect, but having my focus outside myself really frees me up to live out my passions without being hindered by worldly “success” or worrying about what other people think of me.

    You mentioned the golden rule- treating others as I want to be treated- and that really ties in with loving God and loving others. When that’s my main priority, it becomes easier to build sincere relationships where not only does my own influence increase, but others influence does as well. It becomes mutually beneficial and respectful.

    • I’m glad to mention you and how you are positively impacting people for God’s Kingdom.

      Amen, about getting God’s approval to take action. I feel the same way, my purpose and passions are to help become better leaders. I’m able to do this through my writing (both through my blog and books) and even though I’m not able to focus a lot of my time/energy on that because of work and family I make small progress toward helping people in the area of leadership. The golden rule always bring value.

      Thank you for adding your thoughts here.

      • I love that God blesses our limited time/energy. We must never neglect family…family is a gift as well as a ministry.

  • Dan Erickson

    Nice shout out to TC, Dan! I am really focusing on adding value at my hipdiggs.com blog. I want to teach others how to live more simply so that they can be more happy and productive.

    • Your doing a great job, Dan! I love your new vision and blog focus. Keep up the great work my friend.

  • You nailed it I think when you mentioned “humbly”. If we have no humility then we have zero chance of being selfless. I don’t push to hard to gain influence, although some has come naturally in life and especially business with age. I think if you’re doing and being the person you described above, the results take care of themselves.

    • Humility is crucial, it attracts people toward us. Your a good example of a great business leader. Thank you for adding your thoughts.

  • I think many people struggle with the part about adding value. Not because they’re incompetent/stupid, but because they don’t how to — for example — translate their skill/talent/passion into some creative outlet which has scaleability. Like blogging for example.

    • Good point Ludvig, I think we have to realize that even small acts can really impact others. Being kind and nice really goes a long way in our society. Finding the outlet (like blogging) is important when it comes to really taking our influence to the next level. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • The idea of doing for others what THEY would like struck me. While the idea of doing for others what you would like them to do for you is a good place to start, doing for others what they want involves taking the time to get to know others. This requires an extra step in a leader’s involvement, one that takes extra time and energy. It definitely ups the ante!

    • Hi Kari,

      Yes, it’s living by both of them that allows us to influence others (and glorify God’s kingdom). It shows the importance of building relationships and getting to know the people around us. Thank you for sharing your wisdom here.

  • The thing that comes to my mind is build relationships and be patient. I spent at least 2 years on our church board, just listening and building relationships before I started really providing a leadership role. I know however, that those 2 years weren’t wasted, they were and investment into those relationships that enabled me to have greater influence later on.

    • You hit the hammer on the nail with your points. Every leader needs to take time to build and maintain friendships with those around them. It’s truly an investment. Thank you for adding your thoughts.

  • Hi Dan, some ways I add value to other people’s lives: leaving a blog comment, tweeting out information I found useful or helpful or sending an article to someone that I found useful. Not only taking in the information that we do on a daily basis but sharing that information with someone who may need it at that time adds value to their life. If you’re talking to a friend about a particular topic or problem, then come across something that relates to that, do them a favor and send it over – it’s a very small way to help someone out and add value to their life.

    • Hello Vishnu,

      That’s a great way to add value. I also make it a point to share what I’m reading with others, it’s a great practice to have. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • DS

    Dan, I’ve just stopped being shy about sharing online or in person. When I find something I believe will help some one I share it. If it’s an article, book, magazine, or anything else I believe can benefit some one, then I want it available to others. In some ways I feel like a resource or knowledge broker.

    There have been so many times where people had an idea of what they wanted to do, but needed a resource to help them. I like to help make that easier for people who are interested in making a positive difference in the lives of others.

    • We have a similar mindset! I think adding value comes when we share resources that help others. Keep influencing people for the good.