A Pathway to Positive Influence (Part #4) – Character Creates Opportunity®: Thursday, October 25, 2018

Whether we care to recognize it or not, we all have influence on those closest to us. The writings over the last few weeks have focused on some key principles on the pathway to having a positive influence on others.

Here is a brief summary of the prior weeks:
Part # 1 Intent: We need our intent to be aligned with a desire to help, to serve, and to give to others.
Part #2 Listen: We need to increase our focus on listening and lessen our efforts on responding.
Part #3 Empathy: We need to build our empathy to better understand one another and try to “walk in their shoes,” see experiences from their lens, understand their perspective, and feel what they feel.

We all share some common experiences in our journey of life. Many times, we share similar emotions through life’s experience of failure and success, fear and worry during difficult experiences, and moments of joy and peace during uplifting experiences. As we develop the 4th step along the pathway of positive influence, the opportunity to connect closely with someone based on common experiences and shared emotions opens a door to have a positive influence on others.

There is often no greater connection that can be made with someone than sharing a common experience and the emotions that accompany it. Those who fear public speaking can readily connect to someone nervously getting ready to stand in front of a crowd. Those who may have had a most difficult journey through adolescence can readily connect with a teenager experiencing feelings of loneliness, isolation, and rejection. Those who have endured the pain and sadness of the breakup of a family are in a good position to relate to someone walking alone out of a broken relationship.

Discovering some common experiences and shared emotions is often helpful to build a connection to someone and create a receptive heart for influence. Those who have endured a specific experience are very often the most helpful to relate to the needs of those dealing with a similar experience.

Below are a few additional thoughts to encourage all of us to look for common experiences and the shared emotions around those experiences in order to move forward along the pathway to having a positive influence on others:

  1. Be intentional about identifying common emotions like fear, worry, joy, and sadness while listening to others. Sharing experiences linked to these emotions can create a door opener for a deeper connection.
  2. We all tend to feel alone in periods of suffering and enduring hardship. Being open and sharing a common struggle can often help open the door for someone to ask for help and be receptive to the positive influence of others.
  3. Offering our own experiences and emotions in areas that are typically shamed or kept quiet in our guarded world may help give others the courage to more openly share their struggles and seek help.

When we look for opportunities to connect closer with others through common experiences and the emotions that surround those experiences, we build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to have a positive influence on those we care about most.