Creating Your Own Zone of Influence

zone_of_influence

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to accomplish amazing things when you’re completely alone?

Then you have no doubt also noticed that it’s much easier to accomplish significant things when you are in the company of people who routinely accomplish significant things.

Even if they’re not directly helping you – observing and associating with people who excel tends to stoke your fire and push you forward.

It’s no great epiphany that I just came up with yesterday. Many public figures have told us over and over again that the company we keep and the books we read tend to shape our lives.

The Most Powerful Principles Are Universally True

It’s a funny thing about life’s truths: The truer they are, the more universally they can be applied.

Take the concepts of The Golden Rule and Karma for instance. When you boil them down to their most basic – they both teach us (from different angles) that in life, you get what you give. That what you put out there will come back to you for better or for worse.

“You get what you put out there” is universally true in all facets of life – from relationships to business to sports to academics. It’s simple, powerful, and true.

But back to who and what we associate with…

Why Association Is So Powerful

The people you associate with, the books you read, and all the things you let into your brain on a regular basis shape who you are and what you do. The things you absorb consistently are the things you become. It’s not magic… it’s influence.

Positive or negative, frequent, similar messages or actions make conscious and subconscious impressions on us – influencing who we are and what we do.

The Zone of Influence

Over the years, I’ve noticed that there’s also a direct correlation between how close you are to a positive influence and how much benefit you receive from that association.

With people, that means regular interaction. With books, that means frequent consumption of the same type of information. You get the idea.

Frank’s Lawn Proves It

I’ve recently resolved to be more physically active and be better about what I eat. One element of my new resolution is to walk/jog 500 miles between now and August 8 of this year. The math on that works out to about six miles per day.

It’s been good for me. I look forward to it, I’m feeling better, and it provides a lot of time for me to think and listen to my favorite podcasts.

Four blocks away from my house, there is a home on a corner lot. It’s Frank’s house.

Frank has a lawn that belongs in a magazine. I mean it’s two steps above perfect. It’s thick, lush, and always meticulously trimmed. Even if you’re not a “yard person” it would drop your jaw to the floor. It’s just stunning.

I’ve driven by Frank’s yard a thousand times over the years, but the other day I walked up his street on my way home. The longer view I got courtesy of being on foot allowed me to noticed something fascinating I would have never seen speeding past in my car.

On Frank’s side of his block, beginning at his place and then working away from his house, the yards could accurately be described as…

1. Perfection (Frank’s)
2. Way above average
3. Very nice
4. Very nice
5. Above average
6. Average
7. Average
8. Below average

After that, the yard quality lost its “best to worst” pattern and became pretty random. After noticing the pattern, I turned around and walked back toward Frank’s house – this time paying attention to the houses on the other side of the block.

Guess what I saw. A similar pattern existed starting from Frank’s house (best to worst) – except that the quality on the other side of the street was lower. Instead of starting with “way above average”, the yards were “very nice” to “above average” and continued downward with regard to quality.

It’s interesting to note that if you stood in the street and looked around, it’s easy to see that there was a clear zone of influence around Frank’s perfect yard… and it boiled down to the fact that the neighbors who could easily see his yard had nice yards of their own. He was a good influence.

As unscientific as that is, it’s pretty obvious that something significant is going on and that it has to do with proximity and influence.

So why do we care about Frank’s yard?

Because it’s an example of how powerful the zone of influence really is.

Where’s your Zone?

The real purpose of this post is to get you to evaluate who and what you let into your zone of influence.

Ask yourself…

  • Who do you regularly associate with and what kind of messaging do you receive from those people?
  • What do you watch, read, and listen to regularly – and what kind of messaging are you receiving from that?
  • Whose zone of influence are you a part of – and what kind of influence are your words and actions teaching them?

Your turn to share.

How have the people and messages you regularly receive influenced your life – for better or for worse? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

 

Want a PDF copy of this post? Click the button!

Creating Your Own Zone Of Influence Reboot Authentic
.

Like this article?
Please share it!
Get free updates
About Gary Korisko

by Gary Korisko --
When he's not traveling around the country coaching sales managers and small business owners, Gary writes about The Art of Genuine Influence at Reboot Authentic. Connect with Gary on Google+ and Twitter

Comments

  1. Hi Gary,

    I love this concept and Frank’s lawn analogy. I’ve also noticed this with my kids. They are self motivated and hard workers but nothing bumps up what they think is possible more than their “zone of influence” Recently my son came home and tried to play Zelda theme on the violin because another kid in orchestra was doing it and he thought it was so cool. It opened a whole new avenue of musical exploration. He then started trying a bunch of themes from cartoons and shows he loves.

    I’ve been actively trying to shift from negative messaging to positive messaging by creating a better “zone of influence” for myself online via blogs, podcasts etc. Like the food and nutrition I let into my body I’m becoming extremely aware of what I let into my mind. Reboot authentic is good brain food : )

  2. Hi Gary,

    I love this concept and Frank’s lawn analogy. I’ve also noticed this
    with my kids. They are self motivated and hard workers but nothing
    bumps up what they think is possible more than their “zone of influence”
    Recently my son came home and tried to play Zelda theme on the violin
    because another kid in orchestra was doing it and he thought it was so
    cool. It opened a whole new avenue of musical exploration. He then
    started trying a bunch of themes from cartoons and shows he loves.

    I’ve been actively trying to shift from negative messaging to
    positive messaging by creating a better “zone of influence” for myself
    online via blogs, podcasts etc. Like the food and nutrition I let into
    my body I’m becoming extremely aware of what I let into my mind. Reboot
    authentic is good brain food : )

    • Hi Sheila!

      Sorry it took so long to reply. I’ve been on a ship with no Internet for a week. I like the example of your kids… And I’m glad you found the post helpful. I hope to see more of you here!

  3. Jim Bessey says:

    First of all, Gary, allow me to confess that I’m glad Frank the Perfect Lawn guy doesn’t live on my block. No way could I take the pressure! And you’re right, that pressure (influence) is a real force, a true metaphor for what you’re driving at.

    For me, I’ve found that it pays to hang around with people who question the ordinary view, as well as with successful people who’ve found their unique path. Those who come to mind right away are you, Mary, Danny, Tea and Sophie — in addition to some valued writer-friends in my own circles.

    One critical decision I had to make about two years ago was to stop hanging around with and engaging in debate with … whiners, moaners, quibblers, and malcontents in general. That constant bitching has its own powerful ripple effect, probably similar to the effect created by Anti-Frank the Horrible Dandelion-Infested Lawn Guy.

    Just so we’re clear here, Gary: I’ve found hanging around in your world to be an excellent influence.

  4. Not so sure about the lawn analogy – we have a decent lawn and the neighbors next door have grass about a foot high ;-), but otherwise totally agree with your concepts. You quite a bit – your income will be the average of your five closest friends. We truly do influence the people around us and they influence us.

    We do have the power of picking our friends and I suggest you pick ones that have already completed some of the items you want to accomplish. Their advice and influence will get you there.

    • Not to bash your neighbors… But the analogy works better when the influenced party *wants* to try and look good :-)

      Thanks for being a part of the conversation, Michael. Hope to see you here more!

  5. Sounds like the ink blot strategy of counterinsurgency! No doubt Frank is clueless he’s running a counterinsurgency against bad lawns!

    I think I’m going to work to get genuinely connected with more like-minded people now that I’ve freed up a slight bit more time in my life! Aside from encouragement, I’m noticing that the most successful sites feed off one another in a sort of mutually-reinforcing reciprocal action.

    • True, Mike. And not just web sites… you can see those rules of influence and support between individuals, organizations, and other alliances of all kinds. Great to see you!

  6. Hi Gary, great post and you are so right- Being in the right company can inspire. I definitely need and want to increase my circle of positive influencers and do great things. Is your second name Frank!!!

    • Good company and good brain food can do wonders for sure, Karen. I’m glad you found the post valuable.

      And no, my second name isn’t Frank. I’m just a guy 3 blocks away from him who’s jealous of his lawn :-)

      Thanks for speaking up!

  7. Great storytelling, Gary! I’m very careful about my zone of influence, but used to get sucked into the infinite self-development comparison trap. It’s taken a long time for me to realize I’ll never be (nor did I ever want to be) a green-smoothy slurping barefoot runner who rises at 5 am and writes 2000 words a day. But for months that’s all it seemed self-development bloggers (and others) wrote about.

    Not everyone needs a perfect lawn. I’m the drought-resistant native landscaping-type myself :)

    • Hi Debra! Thanks for the comments. You should seek the company of the best native landscaping types there are :)

      You hit it on the head – it’s about exposing yourself to influences you really and sincerely want… not the ones you *think* people expect you to be associated with.

      Hope to see more of you here!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] are important, but they’re not very efficient in influencing us to [...]

  2. [...] other – or join a more formal mastermind group. It’s a wonderful thing to have people who are a positive influence in your [...]

  3. […] to Rethink “Waiting to be Picked” and Creating Your Own “Zone of Influence” (Reboot […]

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge