The Secret to Influence Is This

Influence is a buzzword these days. Everybody wants it. Everybody’s trying to get it.

But what is influence and why does it matter? Why are people so desperate to get it?

Because it characterizes a need we all have.

Secret to Influence
Photo credit: Official LeWEB Photos (Creative Commons)

Defining influence

Here’s one definition of the word:

The capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others: He used family influence to get the contract.

Doesn’t sound very benevolent, does it? Sounds more like an episode of The Apprentice than Leadership 101.

But influence, I believe, is more than one-upping the next guy. It’s about our universal, human need for connection. In which case, it can be used for good.

For those seeking influence to give, not take, it’s a noble pursuit. If you have the right motives in mind. So why do some people struggle with earning this authority, while others ease into it so effortlessly?

The answer is charisma

Some people are more charismatic than others. They have that special panache that allows them to win others over.

Still, every once in awhile some nerd comes along and captures people’s attention. Some misfit steals the show. How does he do it?

Simple. He blows past the silly facades and false promises and focuses on what really matters. And if you’re going to build a platform that allows you to change lives, you’re going to need it, too.

What is it? A simple understanding:

It’s not about you

Not really. Influence is about others. Sure, it may begin with gaining power, but real leadership turns around and gives that power away.

In other words, a platform is people. Nothing more, nothing less. And the best way to earn it is to be generous.

If you’d like to get started earning real influence — the kind that counts — start helping people. If you need some guidance, check out this post I did on Michael Hyatt’s blog today: 3 Important Habits for Building Influence that Matters.

(By the way, If you’re visiting my blog for the first time today, check out my about page and find out how you can get free updates. Oh, and thanks for stopping by.)

Relearning leadership

For the longest time, I thought there was some magic secret to getting your name out there, to becoming legit. To getting noticed and having your work appreciated. There’s not. Well, none other than this: Life is about people.

You can spend your time building relationships or spend it building your platform. In the end, only one will matter.

If you are trying to get to “the top” and burning bridges as you go, you may not like the view when you get there. But if you aspire to leave a legacy, start here: Give your life away. It’s not easy and can sometimes hurt, but it’s always worth it.

See you at the bottom.

What’s your secret to earning influence? Share in the comments. And be sure to check out that guest post.

If this idea resonates with you, check out The Generosity Manifesto. A few friends put it together, and it’s quite good. Download your free copy here.