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8 Ways to Make Yourself Profoundly Influential

8 Ways to Make Yourself Profoundly Influential

Influence is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to impact your personal and professional life.

Unfortunately, we are not born with the natural tendency to be influential. It’s a craft that is nurtured until mastered. Sadly, the mastery of influence is shrouded in limiting beliefs, and battled by resistance that others will impose.

I know this battle well. The struggle to affect your personal life as well as your professional life is difficult. There is no right path to take; you must simply take the path. But, more importantly, you must do the work.

To drastically increase your influence, do the following:

1. Ask a Beautiful Question

As an influencer, it’s our fiduciary duty to listen. But before we begin listening, we must approach each encounter as a student and ask what Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question, calls “the beautiful question”.

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A question of this caliber opens the mind to richer discourse. It forces others to pause and allow the question to marinate and percolate. As the question simmers, each degree of adjustment brings about a cadre of hunches, impressions, and fragile new ideas.

As an influencer, here are a few beautiful questions to ask:

  • What does not fit?
  • What would an outsider do?
  • Do I understand why we do it this way?
  • What might be the long-term consequences?

2. Create a plan to be a good listener

As an influencer, you must spend the better part of your energy listening. This might sound counter-intuitive, but the most effective strategy to get people’s attention is for you to give them your attention.

“Listen. It makes you smarter.”
— Richard Branson

When you are genuinely listening to someone, when you are giving them your undivided attention, when you can summarize their conversation, when you can ask a beautiful question — you are demonstrating open-mindedness and respect.

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3. Welcome disagreements

As influencers, we expect a healthy chorus of disagreement. I would even say that as an influencer it’s your responsibility to create an environment of disagreement. Why, it’s a healthy sign of critical thinking. Where ideas are being challenged, not for malicious intent, but in an effort to test the ideas’ viability.

4. Focus only on what really matters

As an influencer, your energy is limited. Therefore, it’s imperative that you focus that finite energy on projects where you can make the greatest contribution. There are a number of strategies you can adopt, but here are five that work for me:

  • Develop a clear “why” — this keeps you anchored to what really matters
  • Do it — because you are the only one who can
  • Delegate — often you will not be the best one to do the work
  • Defer — sometimes things are not actionable now
  • Weekly review — because you need to check where you are spending your energy

5. Build a plan for being proactive

As an influencer, you do not wait for a situation to find you. You must build a funnel to remain proactive:

  • Ask questions
  • Listen
  • Encourage disagreements
  • Focus on what matters

Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.
— Steven Covey

6. Set a powerful vision

As an influencer, vision is critically important. You must develop a vision statement that is compelling. If your vision statement does not excite you, how will you ever influence others? You must give yourself permission to envision the perfect future, by answering these two questions:

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  • What do I want to see happen?
  • What would “it” look like in three years?

Once you are clear on your vision and the things you want, the how generally takes care of itself.

7. Use your influence to bring out the best in others

As an influencer, your responsibility is not to be the smartest person in the room. Your only responsibility is to foster a culture of intelligence — to multiply the intelligence among your team members.

Early in a task, team members should discuss the knowledge each brings to the table. That changes the criterion for power from social influence to informational influence.
– Bryan L. Bonner and Alexander R. Bolinger

8. Increase your value through education

As an influencer, you must increase your value by thinking of yourself as a product, and upgrade yourself every year. You must see yourself as a competitive product with benefits, and liabilities, all waiting to be improved.

A good strategy for upgrading yourself is to ask, “What skills will give me more freedom in the future?” Once you have identified these, dedicate time to mastering them. And by mastery, I mean knowing the skill so well that you are positioned to help someone else solve their problems.

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Final thoughts

So there you have it. My suggested list of characteristics that will make an amazing influencer. Which one are you going to start with first? My personal favorite is number eight.

My hopes are that you choose to become an influencer, because your professional and personal life will thank you for the dedication.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash/Anthony Delanoix via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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