What does influence really mean? How to build real influence in a world of social media stars and YouTube celebrities.
In today’s world of social media celebrities and YouTube stars, the term “influencer” has been blown up to epic proportions.
But what does “influence” actually mean in our sprawling digital world?
Can ordinary people become overnight sensations? Or is this elite category reserved only for celebrities, reality TV stars and models?
Most importantly, what constitutes true influence? What kind of influence truly changes the world?
Let’s dive in.
Defining True Influence
Before we can develop the kind of true influence that can change the world, we need to have a deep understanding of what it is and what it isn’t.
What It’s Not
First of all, let’s debunk the biggest myth of all: Influence is NOT exclusive to celebrity or fame. Let me repeat, you do NOT have to be a celebrity to have true influence.
True influence is more than the number of followers you have or the big names in your network.
And even when powerful influencers already exist, it still shouldn’t deter us from stepping onto the stage and becoming an influencer ourselves. Why?
Because you can have true influence, too.
What Is True Influence?
You can have true influence — even though you may not be a social media giant or silver screen celebrity — because true influence is, quite simply, a way of being in this world.
True influence is felt — not made by celebrity or fame.
It’s something we all can have and grow, when we establish our relevance and value to the people we’re communicating with.
It’s our ability to create conversation, change the narrative of conversation, or introduce new ideas.
It’s showing people there’s a new way to think or look at a certain issue.
True influence is the power of our ideas and experiences put into action through meaningful communication and connection.
That’s the type of influence that will establish you as a true leader over time.
The Building Blocks Of True Influence
So the next question becomes: How do we create true influence over time? In my journey to share the message of my own journey, I’ve identified several building blocks that can help anyone develop true and lasting influence — the kind that can change the world.
These building blocks are strongest when used together, but any one of them alone can help you develop the kind of influence that will be a force of good in this world. So let’s get started!
We all have something important to say. We all have that message deep in our soul that’s yearning to come out, and that message is probably the truest form of influence we have in this world.
I believe each one of us is called to become the champion of a powerful, transformative message, one the world needs to hear in order to become a better place. And though we may be called to speak this message to the masses, it’s important to focus on the one who needs to hear it. It’s our ability to change the world, one life at a time, with the message of our lives that creates a positive, lasting ripple effect.
So the first and most important building block of true influence is the power of our words. It requires making the conscious choice to be the leader of a certain conversation. And when you begin to see others latch onto your ideas, join in your conversation and share your vision, you’ve tapped into the positive force of true influence. When you’ve figured out a way to galvanize around it, and do something positive with it, it can truly become a movement that changes the world.
If your message is going to have true staying power, however, the next thing you need to build is a vision. With your soul’s message guiding you, paint a picture of how beautiful the world would be if it heard your story. What could your message do if you had the stage to share it? That is your vision. It’s a picture of what the world looks like once you’ve succeeded.
And you need this vision because it’s the end-goal that will inspire people to jump on board with your mission. Think of it as your guiding light. Everyone needs a guiding light along their journey, and that’s what you’re providing to your audience: inspiration, hope and direction.
Experience, Education & Skills
Next, you’ll most likely need to share the journey behind your message if you want other people to buy into it. With this building block, we’re looking for the substance behind your message. What experience, education or skill set inspired the discovery of your soul’s message? Your audience will want to hear it.
Why? It’s essentially the proof behind your vision. It’s the roadmap that led you to your message, so it represents the hope that your audience can get there, too.
While this isn’t an exercise in proving or defending yourself, it is an exercise in getting to the bottom of your own process, so you can share it with others. Think of it as the “how” to your “why.” Your audience is already on board with your “why,” or your vision for the future, but now they want to know how it’s possible. So show them!
Now that the core of your message is solid, it’s time to think about the best way to scream it from the rooftops. And while you may want to do just that — start screaming! — it’s important to consider your way of being first.
Whether you’re being intentional about it or not, your presence influences people all the time. You have an influence on any room you walk into, or any conversation you enter. So if you’ve decided on a mission that’s going to change the world, it’s time to start using your presence to intentionally guide others toward it.
When I first started sharing my soul’s message, it was wrapped up in a lot of other emotions that were tied to my experiences. I was angry because people had been trying to tell my story for me, and getting it wrong. I was hurt because, initially, sharing my story to the people I loved felt like proving something to them, or even defending myself. And I was scared because I didn’t think anyone would take the time to listen instead of judge. And some did — but so many others didn’t.
Before you share your story, take a moment of awareness to feel into the emotions that are currently muddled into your message. Do the work to let go of the negative emotions, and embrace compassion instead. Carry forward only the good emotions: strength, confidence, deep love, purpose and positivity. That awareness alone will help you create the influence you’re after.
There are many ways to be influential as a leader. In fact, to be a leader, you have to have influence by definition. But what happens when your soul’s message hasn’t been heard before? What happens when it’s tough to talk about or not yet a popular opinion? How do you lead when there’s no one to listen?
The way in which you act as the leader of your soul’s message is the barometer of your influence. That means it’s your responsibility to lead the conversation, and how you lead will determine how many people want to listen. So put some real thought and intention into how you want to lead this conversation. This mission may require more patience, compassion and understanding than you expect.
Bottom line: It’s your job to make people listen; it’s not your audience’s job to listen. So give them a reason to choose to listen.
Now, you’ve got your message solidified and your intentions set. You know what you want to say and who you want to be along this journey. What you need next is a team of people to help you get there.
Start by expressing your message to your current circles of influence: at home, at work, and in your social networks and gatherings. The more you help others get fired up about what you’re doing, the faster your mission will create a spark in the world — and maybe even catch like wildfire!
So never miss an opportunity to share your story with someone, and always nurture the relationships that have declared their dedication to your cause. That camaraderie is priceless when it comes to building true influence.
At this point, you’ve reached out to your current network, and those who align with your message are on board. Now, in order to grow your influence beyond your current network, you’ll need one vital piece: inspiration. Your next job is to inspire the world to join your mission, one by one.
This requires the ability to rally a group of people around an idea simply by sparking the same passion that got you started on this journey all that time ago. Listen, you were meant to bring people together around a central idea, or you wouldn’t be here. So let your heart go wild! Wear it on your sleeve, shout it from the rooftops! This is the time to send all your loving energy out into the world in the hope that others will send it back to you.
True influence is when you’re no longer the only one sharing your message because you have people who share it with you and for you. That’s how you know your vision is making a true and lasting impact. And you never know what kind of magic you’ll inspire. You could inspire others who were once too intimidated to take a stand or put their opinion out in the world. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
So you’ve set up an incredibly strong foundation on which to build your worldwide influence for good in this world! Congratulations! Now, the last missing piece is completely within your control. What does that mean? It’s completely up to you whether you want to do the emotional work it takes to acquire the final piece of true influence.
There is a component of influence that cannot be denied. In fact, no one has ever shared anything meaningful without it. Being brave in your message and leadership means you can withstand the critiques. You look past the doubts and naysayers. You look impossible in the face and climb the mountain anyway.
It means engaging in this mission with unshakable faith, endless compassion for others, and an indestructible belief in yourself. Loud voices don’t diminish the power of your influence when it’s based in truth and goodness. When your intentions are to create a force for good in this world, you can withstand any loud voice of hatred or criticism — and instead, stand with confidence knowing you are fulfilling your soul’s purpose.
And when you combine all these powerful building blocks of true influence, you’ll begin to see the ripple effect of your courageous positivity — because the world needs it.
Share With Us!
What does true influence mean to you? How do you share your mission with the world? Which building blocks are you working on now?
Share with us! We would love to know!
Your story is so important.
If you’re looking for guided, step-by-step help to put these exact strategies into practice, check out my Global MEDIA Membership. It has all the in-depth knowledge and step-by-step instruction you need to get from basic blogger to global media mogul. In fact, I believe in it so much that we’ll walk you through this formula for a $1 trial.