Don’t Retire, ReFire: Are you an Influencer?

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

Does the concept of being an Influencer sound like it means controlling someone’s thoughts or having power over them? It may, but there is another, better, more positive direction I’m taking you in. It’s a direction that you may or may not have considered until now.

We must abandon the antiquated way of thinking about the act of influencing. We must look at it as using the unique gifts we were born with to impact the world through the sharing of those gifts. In sharing, we are offering a new and possibly better way of looking at an issue, problem or situation. Think of influencing as impacting.

In looking back at our history, we have had a similar conflict in regards to how we view what it means to love ourselves. To love the you that you are is not an act of selfishness, as it has been previously viewed. On the contrary, to love yourself is the realization of knowing, accepting and truly embracing who you are, from your core values to your daily activities.

We have come to understand that we must first love ourselves before we can truly love someone else. It used to be that saying you love yourself is self-centered and influencing someone means you’re controlling their thoughts. We must rethink the meaning of these phrases in order to be open to be all that we can be and were meant to be in this world.

We have now defined what an Influencer is, but that’s only half of it.  Now we must discover what the role of the Influencer is? It’s not the same for every person. Nor is it the same for every situation. To be a true and honest Influencer, we have to be present and aware of the world around us. We must be open and when we see a need, we must then determine where our gift of influence and impact fit in.

Let’s break this down a little further to lay out exactly what I mean.

What ways can we be an influence to others? The only right way is a positive way.

Each of us has a story. Each of us has our own special, unique gifts that we were born with, that has developed through our years of experience, in our trials and triumphs.

Here are three ways to cultivate the Influencer, which already, inherently exists within you.

  1. Be present. We hear this time and time again, in many situations. I may just be speaking for myself, but I find that we, as humans, need to hear things repeatedly, in order for them to stay in the forefront of our thoughts. Being present falls under that category.  To be present is to be fully engaged in what’s going on around us, whether it be listening to someone share their thoughts or, in this case, really seeing and being aware of our surroundings. For example, there may be a situation you come upon that needs a different way of approaching it. A way where you offer your unique gift to positively influence the situation. With that offering, what could have been a problem, turns its direction.  Have you ever offered your point of view that turned out to be a “light bulb” moment for someone?  That’s what I mean by sharing your unique gift(s) and to be an Influencer.
  2. Be an example. Don’t hide your unique and special gifts. They were given to you to share with the world. As you walk through life, realize and understand that YOU are here to make a difference in the world. Let the world see your light so that others may be warmed by it, and, yes, positively influenced.
  3. Above all, listen to you intuition, your inner voice, your “Spidey Senses”! This sums it up perfectly. We each have it. It will not misguide us. Our intuition is our own “Inner Influencer”.

Discover how you can influence the world around you, even if it’s ever so slight. By helping each other, we can help make a positive difference in the world.

We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day so let’s start giving. There’s a chance we’re taking. We’re taking our own lives. It’s true we’ll make a brighter day, just you and me.”  Michael Jackson.

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