How to matter?

Good one-word definitions say enough.  John Maxwell defines leadership as, “Influence.”  His full definition is:  “Leadership is influence: nothing more, nothing less.”

For the moment, I’ll stick with, “Leadership is influence.”

I believe a life that matters is a force of persistent, positive influence.

The more I think about it, I’ve always been influencing people around me.  Sadly, it hasn’t always been positive influence.  Years ago, my wife said that our home was more peaceful when I wasn’t in it.  It was a painfully true statement.  I was having influence but it wasn’t positive, it was destructive. She challenged me to becoming intentional about positive influence.

Intentional influence

Positive influence isn’t an accident. You’ll need to become intentional. Keep asking yourself these questions.

  1. Am I stoking fires or drowning dreams?
  2. Are my words forward facing or anchors?
  3. Am I thinking more about giving than getting?
  4. Do the people around me believe I’m on their team?
  5. Do I focus more on what than how?

You can build a life that matters by becoming intentional about positive influence.

Intentional evaluation

Try evaluating your interactions at work, with mentee’s, with other leaders, with those in other organizations, with family and friends.  Watch to see if you’re lifting up or driving down.  Personally, my sarcastic tone sure doesn’t help.

A special challenge

Think of the people you see every day: coworkers, employees, family, and friends.  The challenges of day-to-day problem solving, disappointments, and human frailties may drain your passion for positive influence. It may get dicey extending positive influence to those near to us. Becoming a persistent force of positive influence is about you not them.

Developing positive influence

Focus on what others know not what you know.

Extend respect and gratitude.

Help others find their own preferred future.


What leadership-behaviors are forces of negative influence?

What leadership-behaviors are forces of positive influence?