Writing from my own lived experience, I believe there are a number of ways you can build more influence. I don’t think there is a definitive list of things to do to support this. However, across the board, there are certain things you need to keep in mind if you’re looking to build more influence at your workplace, in your home, in your community and in the world at large.
These are my opinions of course which means some of these may not work for you. I ask that you think about spending a little time to review what you’ve done in the past that worked for you. Ask yourself what thing you’re trying that seems to be generating good results and what new things you are considering experimenting with. I’d love to hear about it.
1. Be clear about who you are supporting.
I can’t be everything to everyone so I focus on the people I believe I can help. Of course, you can do much more but you need to showcase with clarity at least 2 – 3 things at first that you can do.
Showcase what you are good at. Connect the dots for others so they can see what you see. Allow others to get the right impression about who you are and what you have to offer.
The challenge in saying that you can do everything from A to Z is that it does not look believable and you appear to be unfocused. Of course, you will discover, in time, that if people are happy with the work you do, they will be back to give you more of the same. Or even better, you may find yourself entrusted with bigger and better projects.
2. Build a purposeful audience or network that you can surround yourself with.
The reason to do this is that you don’t want just anyone in your network – you want those who will appreciate what you have to say and offer, those who will be supportive and those who will help amplify your message and efforts. Yes, you are best supported by building this organically from scratch as I did.
What do I want my legacy to be?
3. Develop a strong and clear digital profile that supports you.
A clear profile that talks to your strengths without too much bravado makes it clear who you are. It sets you apart, it makes it easier for those who can appreciate you, to find you and connect. A clear and strong digital profile is part of what it takes to build more influence because otherwise, you’re relying on guesswork, hope and one-off tactics.
4. Build a body of work.
A body of work speaks for you in a way that you sometimes cannot do effectively. It works for you around the clock, it is share-able and lives long after you do. It becomes part of your legacy and your biggest question is: What do I want my legacy to be?
5. Embrace social media.
Content in itself is great but not enough. You cannot rely on “If I build it, they will come”.
You may have the best book ever written but if no one knows it exists, then well, your efforts are wasted. You need to have a strategy to get your content out there. Digital distribution is a key part of the process and social media should be a key component of your plan.
As every social media platform is unique and cannot be treated the same, I knew I had to pick the one that made the most sense to me. This was and continues to be LinkedIn. Think about what platform best supports your efforts and experiment if you need to.
What’s important is to figure out a plan and create a schedule you can commit to. Then, commit to it.
6. Small but consistent effort in outreach and content.
You need to give yourself every chance of success. By this, I mean that writing content is hard work. The entire development process is time-consuming and takes everything out of you but it’s worth your time and effort.
At the same time, you want to make sure you don’t overkill and then collapse never to continue again. Take it one step at a time. Set yourself attainable targets. Celebrate your wins. Give yourself time to rest. What’s important is to figure out a plan and create a schedule you can commit to. Then, commit to it.
7. One battle at a time.
Through the years, I have found myself constantly battling with fewer resources, limited options and time constraints.
I worked with what I had. I didn’t quit. Often, when things got hard, I just drilled it all back.
One battle at a time.
One battle at a time.
8. Be clear about the urgent vs important lists.
This is super difficult, I kid you not. Your biggest problem is that the urgent fella makes a ton of noise, always pushing and shoving you all over the place. The important fella can be super quiet and often, expects you to do the right thing.
I have failed the latter fella. Often. But I look forward to the beauty of a new year and a fresh start.
9. Set audacious goals.
And why the hell not, I might ask? If you don’t do it, no one else will for you. If you don’t do it now, when will you? Enough said.
10. Do the thing that scares you.
I’ve been doing exactly that.
- Public speaking scares me. So I accepted TEDx invitations naturally.
- Writing and putting my thoughts out there scares me, even till today. So I write daily.
- Speaking in front of a class scares me. So I developed a workshop and delivered it.
- Developing classes scares me. So I developed a Skillshare class.
What will you do that scares you?
11. Be always on the lookout for how you can help your tribe.
Yes, you want to market yourself, your services. Yes, you’re excited to get your new course out to market. But your main goal should always be to see how best you can support your tribe. And with no goal of gain from it.
- What can you do to help?
- What areas do you think they need support in?
- How can you be sure they will be receptive to your help?
- What can you do to showcase your past experience that will help support your efforts?
12. Re-educate yourself about how to position yourself by always keeping your reader front and centre.
This requires a re-education because we are so used to seeing everything from our own perspective, it’s natural. It is unnatural to see it from the viewpoint of the other on a regular basis. But if you can make that switch, you will be so much more effective in your outreach. You will develop content that hits the mark better. You will find more engagement coming your way.
13. Be brave, be bold and commit. Stay for the long-haul.
My grandfather always said, “Say yes first and then go figure out how”. I started doing this many years ago. The fear does not go away but you get so much better at handling it. And whether you face loss or success, each step helps you get braver in trying new things and committing to exploring.
14. Learn to look within to guide you.
There are so many opinions out there on every topic imaginable but the one you need to bring to the fore, the one you need to learn to trust is your own.
This is a tough one, at least it has been so for me. I used to pay attention to what others had to say. They are people of importance. What they knew had merit and weight. What they said made sense. But the problem with paying so much attention to others is that you tend to forget to ask yourself what you think. And what you think is important not because you know everything but precisely because you don’t. But you have to figure it out and there’s one good way. Your own experience.
15. Be prolific. Be 110%. Set a high bar for yourself. You won’t regret that.
Go big or go home. You owe it to yourself.
16. Always be learning, looking, questioning and trying new things. Be curious.
My mantra for the longest time – get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Lots of good things happen there. Always look around, be curious, experiment and see what can happen. Explore the possibilities.
17. Assume the best of others and ignore the trolls, doubters and pessimists. You’re not doing the work you do for them.
At some point, when you start developing or refining your profile, when you start expanding your network or building your body of work, you will come across any number of the above. Learn to assume the best because the truth is we really don’t have the fullest appreciation of what others are going through.
Remember that the work you do is not for these people.
18. Put your views out there.
Many years ago, someone whose opinion I valued remarked in an off-handed way that all these people out there were simply regurgitating the same old stuff. That it has been said before and it was simply being rehashed. What value was in the offering now?
To be honest, it made me question the path I was on. It made me wonder whether I had any value in what I had to offer. It made me more uncertain about what I could offer.
It made me hold myself back even though the statement was not directed at me.
It took me years to address that internally and then finally come into my own. I told myself that I only had this one chance and I was to make the most of what I had. It was my job to be the best version of myself that I could be. And that helped me overcome and get to the next level of the game.
There are many more tips of course but in the interest of brevity, I will stop here. Please share what works for you and let me know what you think. Happy new year and may you rise to all that 2020 has to offer.