As you look back in your career, you can likely identify one or more managers, teachers or others who had a significant impact on your progress or development. Would people describe you as a significant leader and positive influence?
Think Back to Those People Who Had the Greatest Impact on Your Development and Progress
Chances are those people of significance had some of these characteristics:
Encouragement - Above all else, these key people likely believed in you and your ability to succeed and helped you to believe in yourself.
Presented Challenges - Key influencers likely pushed you out of your comfort zone because they saw greater things for you than you saw in yourself. While this challenge may have seemed impossible at first, you did it anyway and enjoyed success.
Converted Disappointments into Learning Points - Even when you were not as successful as you wanted, someone may have helped you see how to grow from the experience and helped you along your journey. They may have even let you do something that they predicted would fail so that you could learn an important lesson.
Confronted You When You Were Off Track - When you were going astray and were not self-aware of how you were holding yourself back, a key person was willing to confront you with the truth. At the time you may not have appreciated it and now you realize how helpful it was.
Taught You an Important Skill or Lesson - Most of what you have learned, you have done so through others, either modeling their behavior or through more formal learning.
Made You Feel Welcome - A key person made you feel welcome when perhaps you needed acceptance most of all.
Now Think of Who You Could Impact in a Positive Way
Who is in your life right now? How could you impact them in such a way that they would look back on their relationship with you and see how much you have meant to them and their development?
You can choose to have this kind of impact. You do not need any special skill or formal leadership position. You can impact many people you interact with every day.
Commit to Being a Leader of Influence
All that is left is to start looking at each interaction you have with people as an opportunity to help them along their journey. You will discover that as you help others, you yourself will be enriched by the experience.
Imagine how great it will feel when you run into someone after fifteen or twenty years and they tell you how those encouraging words or actions you expressed so long ago, made a difference in the person they had become.
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