In my blog yesterday, I listed the most remarkable people on social media today. But there is one person I left off that list…
I have said before that I firmly believe that influence is the power to affect someone’s beliefs or to cause an action. And I also believe that everyone can have influence and has the ability to be influential – that includes YOU.
With the social media tools at our disposal today, you have the power to form a message, motivate an action, and become an online influencer. Don’t rely on any of the measurement tools to tell you whether you are or are not influential. You may not have a million followers and you might not rank high on Klout but, as my list of remarkable people shows, YOU can have influence and do have the power to make a difference in the lives of those who trust you, and possibly even in the world.
I feel that some people are confused about the difference between being powerful and being influential. There are certain people who you would definitely consider powerful – the president, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Warren Buffett. But would you consider Kait Brand or Ellen Bremen powerful? They might not be powerful, but these two and the others on my list are certainly influential.
These people are influential because they have the ability to change someone’s beliefs. In order to change belief you need to establish trust. A powerful person doesn’t necessarily have to establish trust to change something – the powerful politician can change the law or the powerful businessman can build an empire. But that still doesn’t mean they have my trust. For me to say a person has an influence on me, I need to trust him or her first.
Regardless of your status, job, or age YOU have the power and the ability to influence someone. Perhaps you only start with a small circle of those who trust you – YOU MATTER to them. They know and like you, and trust what you have to say. If your message is strong, they will share it with others who matter to them. Based on something you started, somebody will take action or change a belief – and suddenly YOU are the influence that started it all.
As I’ve said before, and as Angela Maiers so brilliantly points out in the You Matter Manifesto, mattering matters. Mattering is the belief that just one person can make a difference in the lives of those around them or in the world. You have the tools you need to matter, and can spread your influence through the social universe.
To some people, the thought that you might matter can actually be a little bit difficult to accept. But everyone has the ability to have influence – you just need to use it.
In an essay titled, “Does Anything Really Matter, and Does it Really Matter if it Does?” David Banach of St. Anselm College has quite the take on what it means to matter. It gets a little hard to follow but I really like where he ends up:
“Not only is the old saying that you don't matter till you matter to somebody true, it is also even more true that you don't really matter till something real really matters to you.”
Mattering matters, and you don’t matter until you do matter. Sounds like double-speak I know but, whether you accept it or not, you have the ability to matter and to be the influencer for somebody. How much you matter or who you influence might be up to you at the start. But, if your message is strong and you have trust, your influence can grow exponentially.
When you add intent to make change, then you become quite powerful. The young teenager who I called remarkable yesterday had the intent to stop just one more person from becoming so depressed that the only option was suicide. Because her intent was true and her trust was strong, her influence became high.
As human beings, we need to matter – to know that people see us, value us, and trust us. There is no better way to matter than by influencing others and effecting positive change.
I believe we all have it, inside of us, to influence others and so, YOU are the influence.