9 Ways To Become More Influential

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“La Vache…”

Want to become more influential? Of course you do because making a difference matters. An often debated question. Perhaps your journey should begin with a quick examination of this statement: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”.

In a single stroke, the Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki cuts through the dross of professional and spiritual materialism. The enigmatic space from which these words emerge show without showing the true meaning of becoming more influential. It is true that you do not need to be a Zen master to be an influential person. However, like in most things, influential people have a profound impact on everyone they encounter. They do so because they are not seeking to persuade or cajole. Their true legacy is achieved because they use their power to alter themselves first.

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“Isn’t it better to cultivate the flowers in your heart…”

Highly influential, John Lennon stated, “You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world…” For people like John, changing the world is child’s play. The rest of us are mesmerized by his ingenuity, creativity, and genius. What we don’t see is the complexity, the emotions off stage, the drive to push forward and the need to instigate positive change.

Ever wonder what pushes certain people to achieve things unimaginable to the majority? In my humble view, it is love, which is the axel grease of an influencer. There must be a deep current of joy and being. If there is not, the influencer can implode when they discover they are also ordinary beyond the power of their talents. Another striking marker of influential people is their total absorption. They remain true to themselves by staying focused.

Here are some tips on how you too can become more influential:

Be True
It is not as hard to be an influencer as you think. You do not need to sit in a lotus position every evening before retiring and sleep. However, it is hard to keep our mind pure and to practice the path of well-being in a state goodness.

Great influencers don’t follow blind trends
Do not denounce others when they are filled with negative emotions. Hatred should never be in your bag of tricks. Recrimination and scapegoating wouldn’t even enter an influencer’s mind because their hearts are pure. They understand the principles of karma, are unafraid of making a mistake, and readily change their approach to problem solving when the facts support a mental shift.

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“Are you always on the same line as everyone else…”

Embodying The Power Of Grace
Grace is a power which is always present. However, we must call on this power and make it manifest. When we do so, we can leverage the moment and go outside rituals and routines, which embody the status quo. Influencers understand nothing can stay the same. Everything is bound to change such as the weather, our bodies, our societies, and even our universe. Influencers tap the eternal dream machine in every human heart. Think the Wright brothers or Steve Jobs. They were told by naysayers that their dreams weren’t feasible. So, they laughed with their inner being and went ahead and changed our world anyway.

It is so easy to be conventional
But how boring! We were not put on this planet just to consume food and leave our debris for others to clean up. We were placed here for a purpose. Unless you discover your real purpose, you won’t be capable of influencing anybody including your self.

Great Thoughts Inspire Conversation
When great minds speak out, it’s not just a ripple in a pond. It’s a call to action so we can implement change and make our lives intrinsically better. Take this small chestnut from Epicurus: “One must practice the things, which produce happiness, since if that is present we have everything and if it is absent we do everything in order to have it“.

Applied to a professional environment, the head Koi of any organization owes it to his or her team to give people the power to explore new ideas and to think and act differently. It is hard for corporate cultures to embrace this concept. The problem here is that the gray suit mindset seeks to codify, stifle, and embrace the platitudes of routine by chanting a mantra of profitability at any price.

A great mind would never advocate such an approach. Such leadership seeks to stimulate another path among his or her workforce. They would encourage us to devote our time and energies to work for fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

The Power Of Networking
Clearly, influential people understand the power of networking and making connections. The dilemma is, how well can you build authentic relationships? Nobody wants to feel used. So giving and sharing must hold no strings. It must be reciprocal. Relationship building of this sort is more than a connection. You are fostering a community where the members share their professionalism and friendship.

Welcome Disagreement
Influential leaders welcome diverse points of view. They do not scream nor do they throw donuts. They recognize their own humility. Cultivating divergent viewpoints is healthy in any debate or discussion. New ideas are stimulated in this environment. Sharing ideas inevitably generates the best solutions. So why be selfish? Who cares at the end of the day if the original idea is yours or someone else’s as long as it’s the best way forward for the team as a whole.

Avoid Ignorance
Be Proactive. Our tragedy is that we all scream out, “I am proactive, I am proactive“. Why? Because we have been taught to do so for fear of being weak in the eyes of others. We’re even willing to risk it all because we think it is essential to our well-being.

If this is your attitude, check out what the Tibetan master, Chogyam Trungpa says: “When we talk of ignorance, it has nothing to do with stupidity. In a way, ignorance is very intelligent, but it is an intelligence that works exclusively in one direction. That is, we react exclusively to our own projections instead of simply seeing what is there“.

The wise guys and gals among us don’t fall into this snake pit. They actively seek out new approaches to enhancing our future by living in the present. If you can identify the next big thing, what are you wanting for?

Expect The Best
Influencers expect the best. They believe in their own power, but also believe in the power of others to shape the conversation. Because they are not selfish nor self centered, they reach out, mentor and inspire others. They truly believe that we have the power to change the world for the better.

Every person you admire and respect, had similar feelings as you do. The only difference is that they believed that challenges could be overcome and that a force of well-being could be tapped at will and embolden others. You see, at the end of the day, they didn’t try to become an influencer. They didn’t need to. They just tried to be all they could be and shared their inner wealth. By doing so, they gave us the power to dream and manifest our own destiny.

Join The Conversation. What do you think?

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Photographs: ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

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