Take the ‘In’ out of Influence
Are you a teacher, Parent, Business Leader, Coach, Friend? Yes? Do you consider yourself someone in a position of Influence? I hope so. Because you are.
You have an incredible power to alter the character and behaviour of the ones you meet.
The ultimate question however, is are you using your powers for good? Are the ones being affected, changed for the better or for the worse? No pressure.
Something powerful to consider that will allow you to feel more like your powers are being used for the better, is the role you are taking when influencing. Are you so involved that you are controlling the development or are you allowing the journey to unfold with you in a supporting role?
We know that in order to learn something new an element of failure is important. We know that ultimately we must do the task ourselves for the lesson to be learnt.
We know this to be true, but in the moments when we are influencing we forget and we behave differently. We find ourselves controlling conversations. Doing everything for the people we are trying to help. Saying things like “oh it's just easier if I do it for you.” “It's too hard to explain just trust that I am right.” And when trying to leap for a new challenge we are so afraid they will fall, we keep them safe on the ground thinking we are doing what is right when really we are not giving them a chance to fly.
Is your way the right way? Is what you know true for everyone? Is the fastest way the best way?
Once upon a time you learnt how to tie your shoes. I guarantee someone tied them for you and said “See there you go, that's how you do it”. and the next time you needed to tie them you still didn’t know. Before you had perfected the skill you were most likely allowed to fail many times, perhaps you were lucky and had someone watching and giving you tips on how to improve. Eventually you learnt and not because someone did it for you but because you did it for you. (I apologise for I am assuming that the audience all knows how to tie their shoes, if you are reading this and you don’t please contact me immediately and I will make that possible for you.)
This is no coincidence and can be applied to any lesson trying to be learnt.
You trusted someone to help you tie your shoes.
Many people trust you to help them do life.
It is because of this trust and your power that when influencing you need to spend more time OUT than IN.
It is from two steps away that you can create the perfect balance of guidance and knowledge.
Spend more time asking questions than giving answers.
More time encouraging than instructing.
More time curious than concerned.
Next time you find yourself directly influencing the character, behaviour and life of a person, I encourage you to step out more than in. Take a back seat and remove yourself from the lesson itself and let the work be done by the one eager to learn. Instead of pushing, allow the process to happen and let them know they have your support when they need it.
They will learn more from you just simply being you than you telling them how to be them. So be the best you that you can be and let them start their own journey to be the best they can be. Tell them you will not carry them, but if they want you can be two steps away.