Hi everyone! I’m reading several self help books (more as resources to help me teach confidence than for personal growth), but of course it always winds up with me learning things myself, too. One of the exercises I did today I felt like sharing with you. Maybe you can do the exercise, too.
When we, as marketers need to grow, we look up to other people – we want someone to be our guide. So it’s important for you to look at your life-long influencers to see who you let affect you (good or bad) and in what ways.
I took a look at my top 4 influencers in my life. Not all were good. Here’s what I discovered during this exercise…in no particular order.
My Mom. Growing up, I always viewed my Mom as this powerful woman. She won awards for her writing. Men fell all over her (she was thin and tan and blonde and beautiful). Her writing – both fiction and non-fiction – was just so inspiring to me. She mostly influenced me in a positive way.
She made me strive to better myself professionally and in the talent department. That’s what has helped me become the writer and marketer I am today.
Not everything was positive, though. My Mom was an influence to me in two negative ways – and now I try to be her influence against this. As a child, I watched her (and still do) always be worried about her appearance. Always dieting, even when she was a breath-taking perfect beauty. That rubbed off on me.
She also dragged out negative relationships, crossing her fingers and hoping they’d get better when the other person wasn’t worthy of her. That rubbed off on me, too.
Luckily, the fact that she raised me to be a strong woman in other ways, I’ve been able to kindly accept myself and stop putting myself down in the looks department. She didn’t teach me this, but she did make me strong enough to accept the lesson when it was presented to me. She also has helped me to see past relationship issues in my own life, even if she was blind to her own.
My kids. I was a party animal before Dylan was born. I was golfing and going to college, but really had no desire for anything in the success department. I just kind of went through life doing whatever. It wasn’t until he was born that I “got it” – I understood what life was all about then.
From that point on, I made Dean’s list in college. I busted my ass in all work-related things – not just because I wanted to give him everything life has to offer, but because I wanted to be a good role model for him. My kids today see me putting them first. If I didn’t love them so much, who knows if I’d work hard to ensure they had tuition to a good school or healthy, homemade meals. They make me a better person.
Instead of not caring about what’s going on in the world elsewhere or locally, their existence has influenced me to care more about humans in general. I look at someone and I know that they’re someone else’s little Dylan or Shawn or Scarlett. Even if that person is 90 years old – they’re someone’s child. My kids have been a total good influence on me.
My mentor. Craig stepped into my life at JUST the right moment. I was at that success breaking point, where I was being courted by all the big names. It was finally my chance to cash in! Boy that’s tempting.
But Craig kept my mind steady. He assured me that I could do these things without pairing up with the wrong people. He taught me how to keep my ethics and morals intact. He solidified my faith in good people…people who just do good because it’s the right thing to do.
Craig knows there are times I disagree with him. He never pushes me, but he doesn’t back down on his own stance, either. I’m the same way. He has been a 100% good influence on me.
My dad. I love my dad, but his influence was both positive and negative in my life. He tried to buy love, which wasn’t necessary. I grew up knowing that if I asked for something, he’d find a way to give it to me, and that makes me look back on myself as a spoiled brat at times. I hate feeling that way about myself. It was what I was taught.
Even after dad was in a drunk driving wreck with me, (I was 11 and we got broadsided by an 18-wheeler because dad blew through a stop sign), he continued to drink and drive. At age 16, he’d hand over the keys to his brand new Mercedes and stock it with wine coolers and Everclear so I could have a party night on the town. I was 16 – with a lot of friends telling me how COOL that was – who was I to turn that down? I eventually smartened up on my own. My dad? He has alcohol-induced dementia from drinking himself into too many stupors.
But there are ways my dad was a very positive influence in my life. He was always a gentle, loving dad. Even though he made poor parenting decisions, I never questioned his true love for me. He was an older dad, and I’ve seen some dads be impatient with their kids. Not my dad. No matter what, he would stop what he was doing to help me if I needed it. He was protective of me in other ways, making sure nobody brought harm to me. He made sure (along with my Mom) that all my needs were met and that I was sent to a good school.
Business-wise, my dad taught me something fundamental. Don’t hurt people. He was an insurance salesman and would always watch out for his customers, letting them know if they did NOT need something (he could have easily pushed it on them). He would refuse to sell them a policy if it would mean a financial hardship. He sought out truly good companies to work for – he never worked for an unscrupulous one.
What does this tell me about my influencers of choice?
They don’t have to be perfect. They just have to have the right intentions. Sometimes, their mere existence is enough to change my world (like my kids). Sometimes their mistakes, which aren’t introduced to me with bad intent, are lessons in my life to help make me a better person (like my parents).
I don’t regret the mistakes my parents made because it eventually helped me improve my own life. The kind of influencers I seek out have to have a good heart. That’s all I ask of people – a kind, loving heart for others.
It’s why, when I get contacted by many JV partners, I simply ignore the communication or reply with a no thanks – because the heart isn’t showing through. That’s a necessity for me.
Tony Robbins is sort of an influencer for me. He’s made some mistakes, too. I see him getting involved in some “business stuff” that looks like money makers only. Like some of the work at home ventures he’s been seen on. But overall, I think the man behind it all is someone who cares about people. I hope that his involvement is more a fault of business managers steering him in his vast corporation rather than him okaying something I think isn’t 100% good for people.
So who are your top influencers? Who makes your world better or worse? Influence isn’t always a good thing. I remember smoking a cigarette for the first time in THIRD grade because my best friend wanted me to. That’s when stores let you walk in and claim you were buying them for your Mom. Thank God I never took it up as a habit.
Look at your influencers and see why you let people in. If you can see a common denominator among your influencers, it might help you see how you allow people to make an impact on your life. For me, it’s intention and heart. For some, it might be power and pressure.