The many life activities in which Paula and I are involved and the clients with whom we work are a result of choices that we have made over the years. An important attribute that I desire for my life is to be a person of influence. I feel certain that almost everyone would like to have a positive influence on the lives of others. In order to do so, you may have to make some changes in your life. Changes require that we make difficult choices at times. The choices that we have made in our lives up to this point determine the situation that we find ourselves in.
So, let me ask a couple of questions…Do you desire to become a person of influence? What changes in your life will be required in order to reach that position? In this note, we will hike the trails of choice and look for the seven signposts that are crucial for becoming a person of influence.
Change Begins with Choice
Any day you wish, you can discipline yourself to change your life. Any day you wish, you can open a book that will open your mind to new knowledge. Any day you wish, you can start a new activity. Any day you wish, you can start the process of life change. You can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year. Zig Ziglar put it this way, “Before you change your thinking, you have to change what goes into your mind.”
You can also do nothing. You can pretend rather than perform. If the idea of having to change yourself makes you uncomfortable, you can remain as you are. You can choose rest over labor, entertainment over education, delusion over truth, and doubt over confidence. The choices are yours to make. But while you may desire change, you must be willing to make the choice to change. As Ecclesiastes 10:2 says, “A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one.”
The current situation of your life is largely based on past choices. You have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions. They need the truth. They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth.
You cannot allow your errors in judgment, repeated every day, to lead you down the wrong path. You must keep coming back to those basics that make the biggest difference in how your life works out. And then you must make the very choices that will bring about a rich and satisfying life.
And, if I may be so bold to offer a piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in life…If you don’t like how things are, change them! You’re not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life, and it all begins with your very own power of choice.
Once you have made the necessary changes, if needed, then you can become a person of influence.
Be a Person of Influence
If you want to be a person of influence and have a positive impact on the lives of others, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. As a person of influence, you will have the ability to impact others with the gifts, skills, and opportunities you offer. To continually impact others positively is a challenge and requires certain qualities that many people lack.
What’s important in becoming a person of influence is refining your skills. You must keep working on yourself until you become effective. Let’s look at the seven signposts that will help you in becoming a person of influence.
- Learn to be strong but not impolite. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable influencer with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It’s not a good substitute.
- Learn to be kind but not weak. You must not mistake weakness for kindness. Kindness isn’t weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. You must be kind enough to tell someone the truth. You must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. You must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.
- Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you will have to lead others at times. You have to be willing to sacrifice, tackle the problem, and discover the first sign of trouble. Like the farmer, if you want any rewards at harvest time, you have to be bold and face the weeds and the rain and the bugs straight on. You’ve got to seize the moment.
- Learn to be humble but not timid. You can’t become an influencer by being too timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. But humility is a virtue; timidity is a disease. It’s an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem. Humility is almost a God-like word—a sense of awe, a sense of wonder, an awareness of the human soul and spirit, an understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we’re part of the stars. James 4:10 tells us to, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”
- Learn to be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride or confidence in yourself to be a person of influence. It takes pride in your tribe. It takes pride in a cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming an effective influencer is to be proud without being arrogant. Do you know the worst kind of arrogance? Arrogance from ignorance. It’s intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we may tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that’s just too much to take.
- Learn to develop humor without folly. When influencing others, you learn that it’s okay to be witty but not silly; fun but not foolish.
- Learn to deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony of delusion. Just accept life as it is—the whole drama of life. It’s fascinating.
Life is unique. Positive influence is unique. The skills that work well for one person of influence may not work at all for another. However, the fundamental skills of influence can be adapted to work well for just about everyone – at work, in the community, in church, and at home.
In this Wisdom Note, we hiked the trail of choice and studied the seven signposts to become a person of influence. Making wise but difficult choices in life allows us to positively influence and impact others.