Just finished reading The Art of Influence: Persuading Others Begins With You by Chris Widener. This was a quick story about a young man who gets a gift of spending the weekend with a wealthy, influential businessman. There is a technical side to every organization and business. You can learn the technical side through school, books and training, but influence is an art. You need to be capable on the job, but to truly influence people, these are the four rules to live by:
Live a Life of Undivided Integrity
At the root of it all, you only have your word and your name. You will influence others the most if you are the same person in public as you are in private. Small things matter. Integrity is a huge issue in our culture. People in all walks of life seem to think they can get away with lies (both small and large), cheating and other issues. You may be able to get away with it for a while, but little breaches of integrity here and there will grow larger and will become noticeable. It won’t be long before your ability to influence others positively will wain. You will influence, but it won’t be good.
Always Demonstrate a Positive Attitude
Optimism is contagious. As Wintson Churchill said, “I am an optimist. It doesn’t seem to do much good to be anything else.” When you have a good attitude, you are able to encourage others, lift others and become a leader in any circumstance. What does it take to have a positive attitude? It requires some discipline. It requires faith.
Consider Other’s Interests More Important Than Your Own
Taken straight from scripture, each of us should look to the interest of others. We should serve others. Even as top leaders in any organization, it’s important to be mindful of others and interested in them personally. There is time for correction, discipline and business talk, but you should also be connected personally to those around you. Find out how their lives are going, what they are doing, what they are going for. Find out about their families, work and more. It’s important to look to others first. Be interested in them. Serve others.
Don’t Settle for Anything Less Than Excellence
There is no reason to be half-hearted when it comes to influence and excellence. In many ways, our desire for excellence in our own lives will lead us to becoming an influence in the lives of others. There’s no reason to do less than the best with what you’ve been given. Many times, we will strive for excellence in one area of life, but will neglect others. A thoughtful and intentional look at several areas may help us grow in each. This list of seven things from the book may seem trite, and there are always exceptions to how a person can influence, but when you think about those who have influenced you in big ways they have probably excelled to some degree in each of these areas: 1) Physical Appearance 2) Emotional Health 3) Intellectual Growth 4) Spiritual Depth 5) Relationships 6) Financial Success 7) Giving. In what areas do you need to strive for excellence?
Some Quotes From The Book:
“Even more important that being interesting, is to be interested.”
“Three options on how to live your life: poor, average, or excellent.”
“People are attracted to excellence.”
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