A common misconception in Christianity is who has influence and who does not. In fact, this carries over into every category of society.
For some reason there is a trap we can all fall into, believing that unless you’re in a leadership role or at some capacity above others, then you do not hold any influence over others. We tend to walk in the shadow of those leading and choose to allow our ability to influence others slip to the back burner.
I once felt that way. I remember being a low level employee at a fast-food restaurant and believing the only way I can change anything is when I am in a management role. I was wrong and if you’re in this spot today, I am here to tell you you’re wrong too! If you are a follower of Christ holding on to this thought, I am especially focused on you because you have the ability to influence more than you think.
Here is a list of 4 simple ways to enhance your influence today:
1) POSITIVITY: Negative events will occur in our lives regularly. We might get lucky and only have one negative thing happen, but for the most of us, we tend to have several. It could begin with forgetting your coffee on the counter all the way to a co-worker throwing you under the bus. You could focus on the negative and speak down about everything; or you can rise to the occasion and recognize life happens and you will not allow the trivial things to weigh you down and hinder yourperformance. When we remain positive, people will feed off the positivity. Those people who want to be negative, will hate us for it. Now, this doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge the negative events, but we can’t allow it to consume our thoughts, consume our conversation, and disrupt our ability to do our work to the glory of God. (Confession: I need to work more on this).
2) INTEGRITY: Honesty speaks to character. People are longing for honest leaders, but even more so, honest people! When we speak in truth people respect it. At times, people won’t like honesty, but they will, respect it. In fact, most will rise to defend honest people over dishonest folks. They will want to be around you because they know you aren’t going to lead them astray and you will not allow for false rumors to disturb the workplace. Another aspect to consider is this: your integrity should excite your leadership. If you have people in the leadership role who don’t appreciate your integrity, then you might possibly want to consider stepping out of the place you are working.
3) SELFLESSNESS: When you are willing to sacrifice your time for the good of others, it speaks loudly to who you are as an individual. Your influence will rise when others know you are willing to go above and beyond what you are tasked with. A word of caution: be aware of when people are taking advantage of you. It doesn’t mean stop helping, but be aware so you will not be overburdened with people who don’t truly appreciate your work. You should continue helping those who do not appreciate you because this is what Christ did, but He was also aware of those trying to take Him down. We need to be wise while serving in a selfless way.
4) APPRECIATION: Your influence will rise when you acknowledge the work of those around you, even if they are your “equals”. I use the term “equals” loosely due to the fact that our faith calls us to hold everyone on an equal level whether they are poor or rich; strong or weak; etc. We might not realize it, but showing appreciation goes a long way. We all need to take time to say “thank you” or “great job” to everyone we can - especially, if they are working hard and those above them haven’t recognized it. Being honored by our peers is always edifying and makes anyone feel good. Try to send a nice email, letter, gift to one of your coworkers saying something encouraging. That act will speak loudly to who you are and again, enhance your influence no matter what position you are in.
Influence is important in this world. We all have it whether we know it or not. When we discover we have it, the main thing is how we use it. Christ used His influence to lift up those around Him. He taught His disciples to do the same thing.
If we claim to be a follower of Christ, then we have a role of influencing people so they can understand their God-given potential, and with that our influence brings glory to God.
May we influence people positively no matter what position we are in while living on this earth and may the people we influence come to recognize the reason we do what we do is for the glory of the One who created us!
QUESTION: How do you see yourself influencing others?