the art of influence
I won’t lie, I have found the last couple of months to be quite challenging.
For the last few months, a dear friend of mine and I check in bi-weekly via Zoom to talk about life and to spur each other on toward becoming better men, more successful business leaders, and stronger believers in Christ.
Our conversations run the gamut when it comes to topics, but regardless of the scope, we go deep.
I've recently noticed my energy levels are down compared to before the pandemic and so is my overall positivity toward others.
I love being optimistic and I love being someone who others come to as a source of positive energy for their lives as well. Recently, I have felt unable to perform like I used to.
I’m sure this has a lot to do with the fact that I am a “people person” who has been disconnected with people for the past three months.
For those of you who score high in the “I” quadrant of the DISC profile or those whose Myers-Briggs starts with a definitive “E” for extrovert, this pandemic has been the equivalent of cutting off a diver’s oxygen underwater.
I mentioned this struggle to my friend, and he began to ask me a series of questions in response.
“How many people do you see in a day?”
“How many people do those people see in a day?”
“How many views do you get on social media posts or your podcasts?”
“How many followers or friends do those viewers or listeners have in their networks?”
“What percentage of the people you talk to or who hear your message take it to heart?”
“What percentage of those people make a change to their thoughts or actions based on what you said?”
Then he said, “Brother, you have a tremendous impact on others whether it feels like it or not. Just because you’re not physically seeing as many people doesn’t mean you aren’t making as significant of an impact.”
What a friend.
While the numbers of people I interact with each day aren’t what they used to be, it’s not numbers I should be worried about.
I’d rather positively impact one or two people who are going to take the thought, message, or perspective and apply it to their lives than I would a thousand people who will hear it and forget right afterwards.
Then I started to think.
What if there was a hypothetical calculator that would render the influence we have on others?
Then we could numerically get a feel for how significant our impact is in one way or another and could graphically show us the true consequences, good or bad, of our attitude and influence.
I couldn’t find one, so I decided to make one. I’m not a numbers guy by any means, but it couldn’t be that hard, right?
WARNING: Please don't let the following numbers distract or deter you. They're only there to prove a point.
I started with a coefficient of -1 for a negative impact, 0 for neutral (neither a positive nor a negative impact), and a +1 for a positive impact.
But, we need a more realistic idea of depth due to our proximity or influence within our circles.
We naturally have a larger impact on those closest to us in relation and a smaller impact on those farther from us, so I came up with what I call the “Depth Multiplier” to offset for accuracy.
For first degree relationships (about 20% of our daily interactions) we multiply by 1.5, for 2nd degree relationships (about 30% of our daily interactions) multiply by .75, and 3rd degree relationships (about 50% of our daily interactions) we multiply by .25.
A generally positive person (60% positive/20% neutral/20% negative) who sees or interacts with an average amount of people in a day (60 people) might have an influence that looks like the following:
First degree: 10 people (6*1*1.5)+(2*0*1.5)+(2*-1*1.5)
Second degree: 20 people (12*1*.75)+(4*0*.75)+(4*-1*.75)
Third degree: 30 people (18*1*.25)+(6*0*.25)+(6*-1*.25)
That renders an influence equation of ((6*1*1.5)+(2*0*1.5)+(2*-1*1.5))+ ((12*1*.75)+(4*0*.75)+(4*-1*.75))+((18*1*.25)+(6*0*.25)+(6*-1*.25))
Equaling a score of +15
A generally negative person (20% positive/20% neutral/60% negative) who sees or interacts with an average amount of people in a day might have an influence that looks like the following:
First degree: 10 people (2*1*1.5)+(2*0*1.5)+(6*-1*1.5)
Second degree: 20 people (4*1*.75)+(4*0*.75)+(12*-1*.75)
Third degree: 30 people (6*1*.25)+(6*0*.25)+(18*-1*.25)
That renders an influence equation of: ((2*1*1.5)+(2*0*1.5)+(6*-1*1.5))+ ((4*1*.75)+(4*0*.75)+(12*-1*.75))+((6*1*.25)+(6*0*.25)+(18*-1*.25))
Equaling a score of -15
Just by being more negative than positive, you made a -30 swing overall.
An overwhelmingly positive person (90% positive/5% neutral/5% negative) who sees or interacts with an above average amount of people in a day (100 people) might have an influence that looks like the following:
First degree: 20 people (13.5*1*1.5)+(.75*0*1.5)+(.75*-1*1.5)
Second degree: 30 people (27*1*.75)+(1.5*0*.75)+(1.5*-1*.75)
Third degree: 50 people (49.5*1*.25)+(2.75*0*.25)+(2.75*-1*.25)
**P.S Don’t get hung up on ½ of a person. Just go with it for calculation’s sake.
That renders an influence equation of: ((18*1*1.5)+(1*0*1.5)+(1*-1*1.5))+((27*1*.75)+(1.5*0*.75)+(1.5*-1*.75))+ ((45*1*.25)+(2.5*0*.25)+(2.5*-1*.25))
Equaling a rounded score of +55
Just by being a bit more positive and interacting with a few more people in a day, a generally positive person can raise their score by 40+ points!
I even made it a pretty graph! But, I think you already get my point.
Just imagine taking it a step further and putting numbers behind social media posts, phone calls, Zoom calls, podcasts, etc.
Your reach becomes exponentially more positive (or negative) because you’re having an impact on people that you likely don’t even know about.
This should both encourage you to expand your reach and increase your positivity, but also bring awareness to the massive responsibilities that come with influencing others.
I am thankful to have a job that requires me to influence others both in person and by using various media platforms, but that is not the case with everyone.
It doesn’t have to be.
You likely have a smart phone in your pocket if you’re not reading this blog on it right now.
You have the ability to be an overwhelmingly positive influence on others by speaking up and speaking out with the voice God has given you and the experiences you bring to the table.
One of my college professors once asked us all to pull out our smart phones in class.
He then asked us what we were doing with it to make it worth our investment. If we aren’t using it to pay itself back, the phone was merely a toy.
He was talking finances, but I’m talking impact.
What are you doing with the resources you’ve been given to make a difference in this world?
If you are using them, are you using them for good or for evil?
Now, more than ever, the world could use a light full of hope and a word of encouragement. You can be that light and bring that encouragement.
We're all under the influence of others. Others are under your influence as well. Don’t take your influence for granted. And always respect your influence on others.
Influence is a gift, and so are you.
Use both wisely.