Last week I shared the first 5 tips for how to be a person of influence, so here are the 5 remaining tips. I encourage and challenge you to review all 10 tips frequently so that you will become a person of influence who makes a positive difference in the lives of those around you.
6. Accept people for who they are, where they are. All people long to be accepted and to experience a sense of belonging. Accepting and respecting people regardless of their position or station in life is a gift for them and for you. You don’t have to accept someone’s negative behavior, but recognizing their value as a human being will help you find ways to be a positive influence. We know that it is easy to love those who love us, but we are challenged to love the unlovable. Unconditional love is often a catalyst for positive change in someone’s life.
7. Take a stand for what is right. Have a back bone! Don’t assume someone else is going to do it. One of our great positive influences was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who once prayed to God, “I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.” Dr. King went on to observe, “At that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before.” Because of his influence thousands rallied to the cause of equality that Dr. King was fighting for.
Carefully consider what you believe is worth fighting for, and don’t retreat when called to stand up. Alexander Hamilton famously said, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”
8. Confront misdirection. Don’t stand by when you see the signs and symptoms of misdirection – especially in your own family. You are not being judgmental, but rather a human lighthouse.
We are becoming a society that is afraid to confront bad behavior because we don’t want people to think we are intolerant or, worse yet, un-cool or old-fashioned. We have been convinced that to love and accept someone is to tolerate stupidity and ignore bad choices. That’s just not true. Many people are hurting themselves or missing out on favorable outcomes in life because they are headed in the wrong direction. Don’t miss the opportunity and responsibility to let them know that you care enough to speak the truth and help them see a better way.
9. Manage your emotions. Let me tell you one of my favorite stories, The Parable of the Carpenter, to illustrate this point.
Frank, a master carpenter was retiring after nearly 50 years with the same builder. The boss told Frank how much he had appreciated his work and offered him a $5,000 bonus if he would build just one more house before he left. The builder owned a magnificent lot with a spectacular view and wanted a dream home built there. Frank was bitterly disappointed at the small bonus but needed the money for a small retirement cottage, so he agreed to build the luxury home. Now Frank had always prided himself on his uncompromising commitment to quality, but his resentment caused him to cut corners, ignore details, and accept shoddy workmanship from the crew.
When the project was finished the boss shook Frank’s hand and with a huge smile gave him an envelope with a thank-you card and a folded piece of paper. Frank’s contempt quickly melted into shame as he unfolded the paper and found the deed to the house he had just built. He had misjudged his old friend and betrayed his own values, and his poorly-made retirement home would always be a painful reminder of how his emotions had misled him.
Emotions are a rich and healthy part of life, but they cannot be given free rein to guide your decisions because they cannot always be trusted.
10. Follow through on your commitments. Reliability and dependability speak volumes about one’s integrity. If you make a promise, be sure you fulfill it. Think before you agree to take on a commitment and say, “No”, if you can’t realistically complete it. Even if your intentions are good, your reputation is at stake if you often default on your promises, and your reputation is one of the most valuable possessions you can have. Follow through on your commitments to your family, employees, co-workers and friends and when you do you will build trust, respect and a greater position of influence.
We should all desire to have a positive, rather than negative, impact on people around us, but I encourage you to go a step farther to real influence. Your own life will be enriched and your legacy will grow stronger each day you consistently live out these 10 tips for becoming a person of influence.
Have you applied any of the 10 tips in your own life? Have you been able to see the results of your influence on someone else? We would like to hear your story!
Live, Work & Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.