You are an influencer!
Social media isn't the only way you influence others. If you pay attention, you'll find opportunities during your day to have a positive impact on others and influence yourself.
When I heard the word “influencer,” social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram came into my mind. Here, individuals build audiences with the content they share, gain followers, and “influence” them. Some are offered payment to share information on various products and they can even start companies based off of their influence on others.
However, last month a colleague lead a meeting discussion that got me thinking. The discussion was centered on the idea of influencers and challenged us to think about ourselves as influencers.
Huh? Me? All of us? Influencers?
He invited us to see how we influence others within our community, our circle of influence. We were encouraged to lead a life that aligns with our values. By leading with our values, others see what is important to us. We can set the tone of what we will or will not accept. As we seek these opportunities, others gain a sense of what we are “about.” The beautiful part is that we don't need social media, it happens naturally! We can influence our partners, children, friends, co-workers, family, neighbors, and even people we see while we are running errands.
Within our discussion, grandparents were identified by many as having a strong influence in their lives. This was also true for me. I told the story of my Grandma making the decision to be with my Grandpa instead of someone else who was courting her; there was apparently a lot of pressure to stay with the other guy! I learned of this part of their relationship after both of them died, and I was influenced to lean into tough decisions to support my relationships, health and well-being because of that story. At times living by these values has been difficult, yet I can also take a step back and see how others around me have taken similar steps for their health and well being. Perhaps there was some influence there on my part because of how I chose to live my life.
To finish our discussion, we were read this statement:
“You have the opportunity to leverage your gifts and voice and life in order to leave something more beautiful and safe and equitable than when you arrived.”*
This summer, after taking a break from my own social media postings, I now realize how I am aligning with my values and influencing others. I've been gardening and preserving the crops by canning and dehydrating. I've gotten more bicycle rides in than I have in many years. I've reconnected with family and friends, both in-person and online with the pandemic. I've let myself sleep in a little later to continue to wake up with the sun rise. I'm a stronger coach in sessions because I'm taking better care of myself on a whole-person level. This re-calibration is totally welcome and necessary, and I'm grateful that I’ve learned to support myself and others in this way.
Some questions for reflection---
Who has influenced you?
How is your life different as a result?
Can you think of one person you have influenced recently?
Thank you to John Prin for leading the wonderful meeting discussion I was a part of. You can learn more about his work at https://www.trueyourecovery.com
*Quote attributed to: John Pavlovitz