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influenceWithin you, you have a massive amount of influence.Seriously.Realize that this is coming from a guy who will call B.S. on anything that doesn’t ring 100% true.I’d rather take a Mike Tyson uppercut to the face than be one of those jackasses who tells you whatever you want to hear just to garner favor. I mean it. I’d eat through a straw for a month before I did that to someone.That being said, you’re probably short-changing yourself in life. God knows I have at times.You may not know it yet, but there’s something about you and your life experiences that is completely unique. No one in the history of our species has walked in your shoes.So let me ask you a tough question.What exactly are you doing with your uniqueness?

Welcome To My Confessional

Hey, I’m not casting dispersions. I’m not up here on some holier-than-thou soapbox preaching down to you. There are already enough people who like to do that sort of thing to make you feel small. I’m not one of them.I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up to here with authority figures who pretend to be perfect and have all the answers.And when I say, “up to here”, you’ll have to trust that I’m holding my hand up really, really high.Those people don’t have the answers. In fact, I have found that the more authoritative and infallible someone paints themselves to be, the less they should be trusted.All the genuine authorities I’ve ever known in my life have been humble, transparent, and flawed – just like you and me. 

Digression Complete. Moving On.

The point is… I’d be willing to wager the cocktail of your choice that you’re probably discounting the most powerful part of who you are.I’m as guilty of this crime as anyone on earth.Just like many people… maybe just like you – I was one of those who boxed up all of the things that made me interesting and shoved them into storage in order to pursue responsibility or adulthood or whatever you want to call it. I wasted more years of my life than I care to admit.But I do admit it. And so should you.Eventually I realized that I didn’t have to keep living that way. You don’t either.You (and I) have muted, silenced, ignored, and neglected whatever it is that makes us special and interesting in exchange for what “they” think is right or responsible.Seriously – who the hell are “they” anyway?How about we start blowing “them” off and begin doing the things that we’ve always known we were built to do? 

A Disclaimer

I’m not saying you should quit your job this morning to pursue being a free-style poet or anything like that.But I am saying that piece by piece, day by day, you should start to re-claim pieces of those things that were a part of your soul at one time. You remember those things, don’t you?They were those things that woke you up in the middle of the night – not because they caused you anxiety, but because you could not possibly wait any longer to dive head first into them.Maybe you’ll never win a Pulitzer or an Oscar or a Grammy. Then again, maybe you will. But what an amazing thing it would be if something you did today had even the tiniest influence on someone who eventually did find themselves in the limelight and in the process made a difference in the world.And that, my friends, is the meaning of the word Legacy. 

Tiny Contributions – Enormous Impact

Think about it. If you were responsible for 1/1,000th of the cure for a debilitating disease, or the answer to fixing poverty… wouldn’t that have been a life worth living?What if the whole sum of your existence here on earth was that you had an influence on someone who someday did something that benefited society as a whole?Wouldn’t that be enough? 

Spotlights or Significance

And at the end of the day, that’s really the measure of a life, isn’t it? When your number has been called and your time has come – the only thing that any of us really wants is to have mattered. To have contributed.If that’s the case, do you really care if you’re the celebrity? Or is it enough to have been a part of something that benefits everyone everywhere – even if only in the smallest way?The world is full of Bieber-esque attention whores. How will they be remembered in 100 years? Hell, how will they be remembered in 10 years? Barely. If at all.I’m here to tell you that you can impact the people who matter. And you can be remembered forever… simply by being you and giving the world those things that have been innately gifted to you. 

One Man’s Trash

One of the great unfortunate truths about our species is that we tend to completely discount our own personal experiences as common, boring, or uninteresting. But they’re not.As an example: I have an old college friend who is now a CEO of a financial firm. He employs an entire sales force under him – including an experienced sales manager.Last year, we went to a college football game together and as a throw-away comment, I mentioned what I considered to be something everyone in sales already knew about: Magic wand questions.The magic wand question is a way to get your prospect to open up and explore a topic in a way they’ve never considered before. For example, “John, if you could wave a magic wand and create the perfect distribution system for your product… what would that look like?”In my mind, it was nothing special. To me it was a topic covered in Sales 101 on the first day, during orientation, right after telling the students where the restrooms were. To me, magic wand questions were as basic as tying my shoes. But guess what?It wasn’t basic to him. And when he went back to his office and shared the idea with his sales manager, it wasn’t basic to him either. They were both excited about it, they put it to use, and it helped their salespeople.I underestimated the value of what I knew. Something that I considered to be basic and insignificant made someone else’s world a little better. How cool is that? And how eye opening is it?Just imagine the number of things that you know (and discount) that could make a difference to someone else. 

There’s No Shame In being A Supporting Player

You don’t have to be an Einstein, or an Edison, or a Da Vinci to change the world. What if you played even a small part in inspiring change?While there aren’t many press conferences or award shows held for people who do that sort of thing, does that make the contribution any less amazing?Let the shallow end of the gene pool fist fight over attention. Think about what you can do right now – today – to make a difference for a someone who could make a difference for everyone. 

I Don’t have The Answers – You Do

Don’t leave your uniqueness inside a box in some dark, damp storage room. Dust it off and put it to use.This isn’t your typical formulaic blog post. I have no answers for you today. You have the answers to this one.But I do have something to ask of you:

1: That you don’t let your uniqueness go to waste.

2: That you answer a couple question for me… and for your own good.

What’s your magic wand? What are the things that you’re really good at that you’ve put aside? It’s time you dusted them off and put them to use for yourself and everyone else in the world. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Your Innate Power of Influence – What’s Your Magic Wand?