Influence – one trait we all wish we had more of. It’s easy for us to see how our lives might change “overnight” if we simply had more influence in our social spheres. The art of influence can seem like it’s incredibly difficult – as though you’re born with it or not. Fortunately, such a mindset is a myth. To become profoundly influential, all it takes is mental persistence with a few shifts in attitude and perspective.
1. The networking mindset
If you want to be influential with anything you take on, getting yourself and your message around receptive people is perhaps the single greatest step to take. As best-selling author Jeff Goins has proclaimed, every genuine story of success is a story of community. If you’re interested in taking your own life far, invest your time, talents and energy in the lives of others. Help uncover what they want to get out of life and equip them to boldly move forward.
2. Challenging the status quo
All influential figures across history – and indeed, some of the present day – have been boat-rockers and picture-shakers. Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Jesus, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Anne Frank all stepped out of their comfort zone and challenged those around them with truth. While this is nowhere near an exhaustive list of influential figures, and each of these people certainly walked the Earth in different ways and places, all of them challenged the status quo and caused people to re-examine their perspectives. It must be noted that these people also rocked the boat to make things better in life – not just for the sake of being a rabble-rouser.
3. Proactive engagement
To become profoundly influential, you don’t have time to wait around and ask for permission to change the world. You need to become a self-starter. Be someone who makes things happen because it’s who you are and you have a vision you must bring to pass. The secret to becoming proactive almost overnight? You need to get fired up over something. That something should be whatever you can ultimately “get lost in.” This is the main grouping of activities in life that never seems to run dry for you. Find how you can bring value to other people through this passion and let yourself loose.
4. Welcoming disagreement
Being okay with and even embracing the thoughts of other people is a fast and reliable way to become incredibly influential. People love having their ideas acknowledged, appreciated and shared. When in conversations with people, really try to dig at the core of their desires and what has made them into the person they are. Allow them to express their ideas for themselves, and don’t jump in at the soonest opportunity to actually disagree. Welcome that disagreement – explore the side of the conversation you’re less familiar with. It will help people feel validated, seen and heard.
5. Be a huge believer
People can try to knock optimism and healthy self-belief as much as they want, but these two traits fuel the bedrock of one’s actions. If you believe you can achieve a goal, people will see this and it will begin spreading to them. People witnessing a leader believing in something infuses courage and confidence in the people.
6. Don’t react to anything – respond instead
If you want to influence outcomes of meetings and conversations as often as possible, don’t be a lightning-fast reactor. People want to know that they’ve been heard, and listening is one of the most powerful and underrated tools for becoming highly influential. Genuinely consider their point of view and respond with something authentic and positive.
7. Be a self-guider
One of the hard truths about being a person of influence is you need to know you can’t always be at the beck and call of others. If you have a dream you want to chase, the hardest and least comfortable time is in the beginning – when you and you alone need to push yourself ahead. Of course, there will come a time where you’ll need to request the assistance of others, because nothing great happens alone. However, those with the greatest influence repeatedly embrace the mindset that they’re initiating their own goals and have the resources to make it happen.
8. Help inspire conversation
Creating opportunities for conversation is the quickest way to connect people. Out of humans come the most brilliant and beautiful things in the world, so in order to advance technologically, relationally and in all other ways, we first need to connect humans. Conversation allows ideas to be shared and for people to relate further with one another. Helping potentially new best friends become connected is a reliable and altruistic way to become influential.
9. Keep the main thing, the main thing
When you reach the end of another day, it’s easy to want to simply drop down and forget about everything for a while. But if you’re honest with yourself, if you didn’t spend the day involved in what you really care about, it will always nag you until it gets acknowledged. Don’t let lesser priorities rule your day. Influential people always begin the day with a clear set of priorities, and this enables them to truly run the day, instead of the other way around.
This applies to conversations too. Influential people refuse to let themselves get knocked off track – at least for long. It’s okay to allow other people to lead in different contexts, but help keep the main thing the main thing. If a result needs to be reached, bring people back to the center when they seem to be veering off.
10. Help people succeed
There’s truly nothing that will help you succeed faster than helping other people succeed. All people have desires that they want to live out, and there’s no shortage of people wanting help with this. Naturally, people want the biggest results for the lowest amount of effort, but when you genuinely help someone reach a goal, they are extremely likely to notice it. Become a huge fan of other people for reasons you’re authentic about – don’t just smother people with compliments. Find traits about them you can legitimately support them through and eagerly let them know about it.
11. Build pathways for the future
It’s no secret that the state of the world is (and kind of always has been) volatile. The only real guarantee in life is that it will end one day, so when people think about the future, naturally most are apprehensive. People don’t like thinking of the future often because it quickly reminds them how little of it they have planned out. If you can become a reliable source of strength for helping people plan for the future – and getting them results – success will start to stick to you like glue. People feel outrageously reassured when they can see a firm future for themselves. It’s one of the few forces that unabashedly unlocks higher levels of human potential.
12. Approach everything as a learning experience
Those who treat all life events as a learning experience are exponentially more likely to succeed and become highly influential. Adding value to your own life and those around you comes with learning, then application.
Now get out there and become influential!