“Leadership is influence” – John Maxwell
by Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions
The difference between management and leadership is best described as management is about handling complexity, whereas leadership is about handling change. Change is about successful influence, and influence is a personal skill that can be developed and grown.
People often don’t think of themselves as influencers because they fail to see that the common thread running through the triumphs and tragedies of our lives is our ability to exert influence. It is the lack of our being good at exerting influence that causes us a great deal of grief, people tend to be better copers than influencers by choice.
Leadership is about influence. When we influence others, we are leading them. When we influence ourselves, we are self-leading. That brings up the question, “What are the thoughts, behaviours and strategies that help us exert influence over ourselves?
5 Keys to Self-Influence
1. Make peace with the uncontrollable. Figure out the things you can change, and then change them. If you can’t change something, then learn to live with it. This means changing your attitude about the uncontrollable.
“Give me the serenity to accept the things that you cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
You learn to live with it by making peace with it. I’ve discovered – repeatedly – that worrying about something is not a good problem-solving technique. You feel like you’re doing something, but it only makes things worse. By not worrying, you make space for new thoughts and ideas to enter.
Let go of what you can’t control. Invest your energy in things you can. Your attitude is the first place to start. Which means you must….
2. Let go of the past. We know nothing is gained by pointing out what others did, or what’s wrong with them. Yet we do this with ourselves. Focus on how to make the future better rather than why the past was bad. We learn from the past, but we don’t live there. This means you need to…….
3. Focus on what’s important. Don’t waste physical and emotional energy on the trivial. This will help to eliminate “vicarious living”- the trap of talking about others rather than discovering how we can make a difference. There’s a lot of nonsense in our daily discussions, and most of it doesn’t matter. Is the investment on the topic really worth it? What’s it worth 10 hours from now? 10 days from now? 10 years from now? Playing it forward will help you determine its present value. You can discuss debate, argue and be right, but is it worth it? Train your mind to use the 10/10/10 approach before you invest time in the discussion. Instead, why not……
4. Invest in yourself. This is not an act of selfishness. If I don’t take care of “me”, I can’t take care of “you.” Investing in me allows me to invest in you. Investing in yourself may mean putting some money, some time, and some energy on the line to contribute to your growth and personal development. Investing in yourself allows you to invest in others. The more you influence yourself, the more you will influence others. You cannot give what you don’t have. One way to do this is to…..
5. Invite feedback as an opportunity to be transparent. Feedback has positive benefits as you learn new information and skills. But it also makes you more transparent. It helps you develop an openness about who you are. Feedback is not about pleasing others. It’s an exercise in learning about yourself. Growing in your personal curiosity and openness is attractive. This kind of person is trustworthy, optimistic, flexible, poised, and cheerful. Transparency helps produce these traits. People aren’t attracted to perfection. They are attracted to transparency. Feedback expands the boundaries of personal openness.
One of the greatest challenges in life is influencing yourself in a world that’s constantly pressuring you to conform your image to theirs. It can be immobilizing! Someone is always richer, prettier, smarter, stronger, younger, wiser, and funnier than you. The paradox is that the more we influence ourselves to be ourselves, the more people like us.
And we like ourselves more too!
This article is partly based on the article, “5 Ways Smart People Influence Themselves” by Mick Ukleja.
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