How to become someone influential

Influence is about leadership, and leadership is about doing for yourself what you would like to do with and for others.

I help people build their Personal Brand, which means those individuals want to, in some way, be influential.

The problem is that a lot of people want to be “seen” as influential, more than they actually want to influence a niche, a genre, or an industry. Reason being: Influential people tend to go against the grain, in some way, shape, or form, and to go against the grain usually means being vulnerable, and a lot of people don’t want to be vulnerable.

They want to be influential, without being different.

They want to be like everyone else, but stand out at the same time.

And true influence doesn’t get built that way.

If you truly want to be influential, here are the 3 core principles you need to focus on:

Value.

Value. Value. Value.

Say it with me.

VALUEVALUEVALUEVALUEVALUEVALUEVALUE (sort of looks like hallelujah written like that).

Influence is all about how much VALUE you can provide someone.

A lot of people misunderstand what this word tangibly means, so let me explain.

Here’s a perfect example: Let’s say you want to be a social media marketing guru. There’s lots of those. And a lot of them post tons of content. TONS. Blogs like “5 Ways Social Media Can Help Build Your Business.” Ok, could be some value there…

And then inside that blog, they write the 5 most general, over-discussed, “no shit” paragraphs. A simple google search would bring you to 100+ articles with the exact same content.

That “social media marketing guru” is sitting there, churning out blogs like this every day, working really hard, saying to themselves, “I am providing value! Why is nobody listening to me!”

Because the truth is, the value you are providing is very small. It’s pennies. You are pumping out the lowest common denominator of value.

Value has very little to do with how much “work” or “effort” YOU put in, but rather how much of what you are doing is already out there and readily available, and how much your audience or market wants to learn about what it is you’re sharing.

It infuriates me how many people make livings off teaching other people how to do stuff they themselves can’t do, let alone have even tried to do.

Using the above example, do you know how many people call themselves “social media experts” and yet can’t build an audience of their own? Do you know how many people call themselves “marketing thought leaders” but have never actually built something of value?

How about a step further…

Do you know how many personal trainers there are that have never endured the feeling of lifting 7 days a week, eating 6+ meals a day?

Do you know how many “writers” there are, who think their once a month blog qualifies them as being a “writer”?

Do you know how many spirituality “coaches” there are, who preach oneness and the importance of being grounded, but only know that because they’ve read a bunch of self-help books, instead of actually doing the inner work themselves?

A lot.

A lot, a lot, a lot.

I know there is the argument that you can go to school to learn and you don’t have to actually live it to teach it. I think those circumstances are few and far between. I am so much a believer in lived experience. If we’re talking about creating a career for yourself, sure. You can make some money teaching people how to do stuff you yourself cannot do.

But if you want to be a thought leader, and influence people, then good luck.

You have to live through the trenches to do that.

*cue music*

Do you know why Mozart was so influential?

Because he went his own way.

Do you know why Picasso was so influential?

Because he went his own way.

Do you know why Michael Jordan was so influential?

Because he went his own way.

Do you know why George Lucas was so influential?

Because he went his own way.

Every great leader, in any industry, niche, genre, etc., has gone, and will always go, their own way.

If you continue trying to be like everyone else, you will reach some level of success. That is, after all, why there are so few A+ leaders. A lot of people can become B leaders. And even A leaders. But the Leonardo DaVinci’s of the world, the A+ players, are few and far between.

The reason is because learning how to be really really good at something is just a matter of discipline, practice, and time invested.

But learning how to be influential, and discover your own unique style, means having done all of that practice, and then at some point forgetting the rules and going your own way.

Very few people are willing to do that.

Why?

Because it’s scary. And you will be judged for it. And people won’t like it. And people will question it. And people will doubt you — and you may even doubt yourself.

But that is the price of being influential.

You must, you must, go your own way.

This article first appeared on Medium.