I remember being at a retreat when I was a freshman in college. It was a student ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ), and I was the only guy from my school to show up.
The speaker talked about learning how to grow in your life of faith.
He talked about the armor of God and the shield of faith (Eph 6:13-17).
He said, “When you first use your shield, the thing is tiny. It’s like the size of a quarter. But when you use it, it grows. Take a step of faith and ‘pop’ the shield grows a bit. You take another step and ‘pop’ there it goes again. Bigger.Pretty soon, it’s a knight-sized shield.” (that’s a paraphrase because I’m 45, I was 19 then, and I didn’t take meticulous notes).
The same is true with influence.
Influence isn’t contingent on a resume – the real, earthy, day-to-day version of influence where the people you are closest to are the ones whose lives you can influence and encourage.
Influence is dependent on your willingness to be an influence.
And your influence grows much the same way as faith grows. You use it and it grows. You don’t, and it remains tiny.
- You say you’re going to do something and you do it: “Pop” – your influence grows.
- You not only think encouraging thoughts but you take the time to write a note or walk up to someone and affirm their talent or decision or hard work: “Pop” – your influence grows.
- You make the call that no one is willing to make and have the conversation that is difficult to have: “Pop” – your influence grows.
These things do not depend on your degree, your social status, or your title at the place you work. You don’t have to be a pastor, teacher, CEO, or president of the HOA.
You simply have to be willing to exercise the ability to call out the good in others and to walk the path a bit further down the road than them.
It takes awareness, intentionality, and a desire to see things work out for good in others.
That’s influence. Use it. It’ll grow.
Bonus truth: it’ll grow like gangbusters if your goal isn’t necessarily to be ‘known as an influential person’ but to help ignite fires inside of those around you.