A Pathway to Positive Influence (Part #5) – Character Creates Opportunity®: Thursday, November 1, 2018

We all have influence on those closest to us. Our influence, in many ways, translates into our legacy. 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 others and not focused on our own self-interest.

Open Communication: Part #2 & #3 enable a door to be opened for more effective communication.

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.

Create Connection: Part #4 & #5 create more effective personal connection with others.

Part #4 Common Experience: We all can find some areas of common experience with others. Sharing those experiences and the emotions that accompany them can create a strong personal connection with others.

It has been said that “experience is the mother of all learning.” How we use our experiences to learn and grow will determine our future potential. As we develop the 5th step along the pathway of positive influence, we have the opportunity to create a greater connection with others by sharing our learnings from some common experiences that we have encountered in our journey.

Wisdom comes with time, experience, and most importantly through intentional reflection to discover some learnings from our life’s journey. Imparting wisdom based on learnings across some of our common life experiences is at the heart of positive influence.

The passing on of wisdom from generation to generation (wise old folks to the young and naïve) and from the learned journeyman to those who do not currently possess the mental or emotional capacity to learn and grow (i.e. “This is just the way I am” “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, “This is the way I was raised” etc.) is where the pathway to positive influence has its greatest opportunity to impact the lives of others.

Effectively sharing learnings (imparting wisdom) is a two-way street. There needs to be a willing teacher and a willing student. Below are a few additional thoughts to help share learnings and move forward along the pathway to having a positive influence on others:

  • Growth vs Limitations: There is a clear difference among people in the area of learning from experience. Some of us view past experiences as opportunities to learn and grow while others of us use past experiences to reinforce some perceived limitation and shortcoming. The truth is that we reach our full potential when we view past experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. It may take some time for a “student” to acknowledge and accept that truth. Be Patient.
  • Seeds of Wisdom: Learnings are best shared and received over time in bite sized chunks as opposed to a massive flood all at once. The pathway to positive influence is a long journey and there are no short-cuts or an Easy Pass to accelerate the process. Planting seeds and adhering to the truth contained in the law of the harvest that it will take time, intention, effort, and faith to reap an abundant harvest, or in this case, a legacy of positive influence on those we care about most is an important reality to accept. Be Thoughtful.
  • Remember the Past: As we share learnings, taking time to consistently reinforce to others their prior experiences of overcoming, persevering, and moments of joy can be an encouragement to open the heart of a “student” and be an enabler for additional learning and growth. Be Reflective.

When we thoughtfully and humbly share learnings from some common experiences, we create greater personal connection to others and we build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to have a positive influence on those we care about most.