“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
People who succeed in life generally have one thing in common. They have the uncanny ability to tune out the noise of the Could’s, Would’s and Should’s of external opinion; focusing instead on steering the wheel of their own lives. Listening to other people tell you how to live your life might feel reassuring at the time, but rest assured it is a road to nowhere. They don’t know what it really feels like to be you. They don’t know your emotional make-up, what makes you tick, your hopes or your fears. So why place any type of life decision into the hands of anyone else but you?
Here are 10 reasons why people who march to the beat of their own drum are more likely to court success:Advertising
1. They understand that advice is good, but not everything.
One important thing that successful people seem to intuitively understand is that any advice proffered should be taken with a pinch of salt. A sound piece of astute business advice can be a wonderful thing, especially when received in the midst of launching a newly burgeoning business. The power of someone else’s experience should never be underestimated and might just save you from making an expensive mistake.
But those that climb to the pinnacles of their career also understand that it’s important to put any advice received into context. They listen to their gut, if the advice resonates with them they tend to go for it. If not, they say thanks but no thanks.
2. They know the importance of tuning out the noise
Those that succeed have learnt to turn down the volume of other people’s opinions and tune into their inner dialogue instead. Whilst friends or family might be coming from a good place with their concern for the risks you are choosing to take, listening to any echoes of doubt is just not helpful. The importance of tuning into your own inner voice should never be underestimated.Advertising
Perhaps Steve Jobs said it best when he said; “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
3. They also know the importance of turning within
At the end of the day, only you know what really works for you. Everyone else might have an opinion, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Listen to yourself instead. You are the only one that possesses an intimate knowledge of what works for you, how much risk you feel comfortable with, how far you like to push yourself. Tuning within ensures you climb the rungs of your own ladder of success, not someone else’s.
4. They understand the difference between being respected and being liked
People who succeed in life pointedly distinguish between approval and respect. They understand that being liked by each and every one is not only impossible but completely futile; therefore their resolve to be treated with dignity and respect is uncompromising. As they navigate their career path, they are simply not interested in winning any popularity contests. Their goal is to be emphatic and self-assured, but not aggressive, and the byproduct of this type of behavior is that people respect them for it.Advertising
5. They know that chasing approval is a waste of energy
Here’s the thing about being liked by everyone; much like a dog chasing its own tail, it’s a complete waste of time and energy. There are some people in life who, no matter what you do, will simply not like you. It’s a sad reality but in accepting that chasing approval leads you nowhere, it can also set you free. At the end of the day, the only acceptance we should be chasing is self-acceptance.
6. They appreciate the fact that you can’t control someone else’s opinion
Let’s face it, everyone has an opinion. But those that succeed know that they have a choice as to whether they choose to listen or not. They understand that people hold steadfastly onto their opinions and sometimes there is nothing you can do to change their mind. As a result they don’t waste their time trying and instead focus on the one opinion that matters the most, their own.
7. They are aware that the need for approval kills freedom
People who succeed in life have a deep understanding that in seeking someone else’s approval, they are effectively becoming their prisoner. In choosing not to mold themselves into a shape of someone else’s making, they are effectively removing any barriers to accomplishing their goals. When the motivation behind any decision or action doesn’t come from a need to please but from an individual desire, the need for constant reassurance falls away.Advertising
8. They have a sound sense of self-acceptance
Choosing not to listen to other people is no easy endeavor yet successful people appreciate that in order to bypass the court of public opinion one attribute is required. Self-acceptance. Carving out an individualistic path in the world is not easy, but if there is a foundation of self-acceptance, it can make the journey more meaningful. In accepting themselves for who they are, warts and all, the self-destructive patterns fall away.
9. They trust their ability to make decisions
With self-acceptance comes self-trust and this leads successful people to be able to firm in their decisive capacity and trust in the outcome. One of the main attributes to running a successful business or successful life is the ability to comprehend any risks involved in a certain matter and then make a calculated decision. Those that succeed appreciate that self-doubt can be incredibly destructive and lead to second-guessing. In reaching a place where they feel comfortable listening to their gut reaction and acting accordingly, this removes one of the main barriers to success, indecisiveness.
10. They don’t let small minds convince them their dreams are too big
Here’s the thing about small minds, they all come from the same place: fear. And so in choosing not to listen to a small minded person verbally dismantle your dreams you are choosing not to associate yourself with fear based thoughts. Whilst friends and family might have your best interests at heart, if they are coming from a place of fear, whatever they say will leave a residual seed of doubt. People who achieve success in life understand this and surround themselves with people that inspire them to be the best they can be.
Featured photo credit: pretty sad hipster girl. black and white photo via shutterstock.com
Last Updated on April 6, 2020
10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively
Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.
Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.
Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.
So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.
1. Be Authentic
To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.
Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.
Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.
Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.
To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.
Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.
Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)
3. Become an Expert
Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.
You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.
4. Lead with Story
From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.
If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps
5. Lead by Example
It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C
ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.
We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.
6. Catch People Doing Good
A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.
Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.
7. Be Effusive with Praise
It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.
Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.
8. Be Kind Rather Than Right
I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.
The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.
If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.
9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs
The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.
The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.
If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.
10. Understand Your Lane
If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.
Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.
You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.
Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.
It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.
More Tips About Making Influence
- 20 Powerful Books to Win You Friends and Influence More People
- How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship
- Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?
Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com