How to be influential? Get up in the morning.
You will know that tautology is when we use redundant words. John C Maxwell‘s definition, ‘leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less,’ is technically tautological.
By definition every leader, if they are truly a leader, is influential. No influence = no leadership, whatever the job title.
But how can you be influential? Let’s take this a step further. Everyone is ‘influential’. You are influential. You have influence in some sphere somewhere. That influence may be positive or negative, welcomed, or unsought, but merely by drawing your morning breath, in company, you influence your world.
And this is fine. It’s the way it was meant to be. Ever since God gave Adam and Eve their I.D. in Genesis 1:26-27 as his image bearers, every human being was given a fanfare from God who rolled out the red carpet and looked longingly to see what influence they would bring to the world. He longs that His goodness and kindness spreads throughout the world and his intention was that all who drew breath would grow into that destiny. But He had a tough time convincing us that His way would be the best. He had to repeat the mandate to Abram, and then to Israel.
We generally preferred to influence for our good and not God’s, grabbing whatever glory we could find to feather our own nests and secure our own reputations.
Eventually Jesus would demonstrate in the perfect way possible what humanity had been missing. He is the ‘influential one’ par excellence. His closest friend on earth, John says that He literally makes the Father known (John 1:18). He shows us that God is good and following Him is the best way. He would say that He speaks only what He hears the Father saying.
Now you won’t be unusual if ‘influencing the world’ is not the first thing you consider as you stare into your morning coffee. A myriad of demands face us, and the families we are part of. But at some time, maybe when you have a few hours to spare it’s worth considering that your life already connects with many and you can choose that the influence be positive, nurturing and empowering for those you know and will meet.
If you look to God as your source of life, you will know that this is not a ‘me centred’ exercise but part of what you have been called to as an image bearer with Jesus Christ as your supreme model.
You don’t need a leadership position, a sign on your office door or fancy title for ‘occupation’ in your passport – we all get to play. The only requirement is that you draw breath in God’s great universe ( and have taken that courageous step, of getting out of bed.)