Influence has a lot of fantastic purposes in business, but let’s talk about some tenets of influence that actually make the world a better place.
Let’s start with something that I know my readers do a lot of…goal setting.
If you’re interested in influence, and therefore reading this, you’re likely one or more of the following: an entrepreneur, a leader in your company, or simply an overall high-achiever.
And so, on the regular, you’re setting up goals for the upcoming year, quarter, or month. You also make it a practice to look back on your previous goals and assess how well you did – whether or not you met the goals you set for yourself.
As you look back, you may catch yourself thinking, “I could have done more…This project didn’t even get started…I could’ve made more money…I had all of these plans they all didn’t quite fall into place.”
You’re being too hard on yourself!
Beating yourself up creates stress and anxiety. And that physical, emotional, and mental state is not helping anyone – especially not you!
By the way, no judgment here. I have been there. My gold medal for winning the self-esteem-bludgeoning marathon is on my bookshelf. I get it.
So, take it from someone who has learned this lesson the hard way, the best thing you can do right now is to choose to be kind to yourself.
High-achievers like you tend to be very hard on themselves. You push yourself, you expect more from yourself, you set lofty goals, and you always want to do better.
You want to be better tomorrow than you are today, but a problem occurs when you don’t balance that with kindness towards yourself.
You feel stressed all the time because you’re creating an environment where what you’ve done is never enough.
You need to give yourself more, “Atta boy!/Atta girl!” than “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten yourself into.”
If you don’t do that, then you’re choosing to suffer your way to success. (I have to give a little nod to Jesse Elder who brought this concept to my awareness.)
If you’re miserable while achieving your goals, your misery will outshine your successes. You won’t enjoy spending time with yourself. People won’t enjoy spending time with you. What are you doing all this for, anyway?!
Choose kindness towards yourself, first.
Kindness is the First Step of Influence
Now that I’ve gotten off my soapbox about you being kinder to yourself, let’s talk about how the influential process can (and should) be kind as well.
Every human being has the deep seeded desire to feel seen, heard, and understood.
We all wish to be understood and, yet, very few of us are actively trying to understand.
This is where kindness comes into play.
It is kind to actively listen to someone. It is kind to seek to understand. Kind communication makes people feel good. (And hey, guess what? Selfishly you feel good, too!)
All of this lines up perfectly with the principles of positive influence. Influence begins with observation. (The whole process is: observe, connect, then influence.)
This means that every single one of your influential efforts starts off by you observing the person/people you want to influence.
So, step one of the influential process is you actively listening and seeking to understand – which makes the other person feel good! (Which, by the way, also helps you build rapport…but that’s for another article.)
Another influential tenet is that you cannot influence someone that you’re judging.
Your judgments of another person will weaken your influence.
Judgments block your perspective.
Judgments prevent you from seeing influential opportunities and the antidote is curiosity because you cannot be curious and judgemental at the same time.
Therefore, from an influential perspective, kindness couples well with curiosity.
Curiosity means that you are inquisitive about the person. You’re curious about their situation, how the pieces fit together, where they’re coming from, and how their actions make sense.
When you find the pieces to a someone’s puzzle, you create more compassion and kindness towards that person.
Kindness and curiosity are the perfect pairing and can live harmoniously — but once big, bad judgment comes in, it separates them. You’re closed off from influential insights that could help you better influence that person. You’re no longer being observant about the people around you. You’re just slapping labels on them.
So instead, discover more influential insights by pairing kindness and curiosity together, and keep judgment out of the picture!
Building Kindness (…and recovering from mistakes)
From a psychological perspective, it takes 7 good, positive acts to overwrite 1 negative act.
So for example, if you say something unkind to someone, it will take 7 kind actions to make up for that one negative action.
A 7:1 positive to negative ratio.
Even more of a reason to actively choose kindness (including to yourself).
Those 7 kindnesses are even more important when you think about how easy it is to fall into negative actions, comments, or self-talk.
So, what is your current ratio?
Staying Kind Through the Struggle
No journey to success is perfect. Anything worth achieving will have its bumps and bruises along the way. But those speedbumps shouldn’t be excuses for you to be unkind to yourself.
The more kindness you show yourself, the more you set yourself up for success.
Plus, when you are kind to yourself, you actually enjoy the ride while you’re on it! (And life’s too short to do otherwise.) Actually have fun while you’re on this journey of life, business, entrepreneurship, leadership, and high achievement!
How can you be kind to yourself while on the road to achieving your goals? Celebrations.
High achievers often don’t even celebrate their successes. Whenever my clients achieve a big win, I ask them, “What are you going to do to celebrate?” And without fail, when I first ask them this, their answer is “Oh. I hadn’t even thought of that.” I imagine you can relate. How often are you celebrating your wins? Or, are you moving onto the next goal right away?
How often are you celebrating the small steps that are moving you towards your goals?
Hmm….I bet the answer is pretty much next to never, right?
Celebrate the steps towards a goal? You mean not the goal itself? That’s just crazy talk.
This is where kindness becomes a critical component for your own personal influence. When you have mini-celebrations for the steps you accomplish, you are helping yourself build up more momentum towards achieving your bigger goal.
Kindness is motivating.
Kindness is the first step to influence.
Kindness is essential to living a happier, more fulfilled life.
Incorporate it into your daily life as much as possible and you’ll quickly reap the benefits.