Monday, January 30, 2012

Influence is a Two-way Street

We just got back from a wonderful college tour trying to find colleges my son would be interested in applying to. What I enjoyed the most about this last college was what the Dean of Admissions said during his talk. He mentioned that he wouldn’t be focusing on how the school would shape the students, but rather in learning how the student would affect or change the school. I had to think about that statement. How could an 18 year old affect or change a college or university?

Thinking about this statement reminded me of how influence truly is a two way street. A teacher certainly influences a student, but a student can also affect a teacher, just ask any teacher. The only difference is that it is expected that the teacher will influence the student.

In many relationships, the expectation is that one of the parties will be having the “influential” role. Yet, influence is not a one way street. We influence the world we live in by the way we show up every day. When we are happy, and open to receive, we are received a certain way. When we are angry and negative, we are received another way. The moment you are in the presence of another, you are influencing them whether you like it or not.

Sometimes we don’t realize how we affect others. For example, certain emotions like disempowerment or victimization can be so self-absorbing that we forget how we impact those around us when we show up that way. Self-pity is not fun to be around. If only we could see how these types of negative emotions can color us in a way that is truly not only ugly, but unappealing to be around.

Perhaps, if we thought about ourselves as influential individuals, powerful just because we are alive and social creatures living and interacting with others, we might be more aware of our responsibility. Yes, we are responsible for how we show up in the world and hence, how we influence others.

This is the conversation I have with many of my coaching clients who are going through a difficult transition trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. In order to create what you want, you have to be what you want. You can’t create something that feels foreign to you. You can’t find a job that you don’t feel you are qualified for. You can’t be in a relationship you don’t feel like you deserve. You influence the outcome of what you create every time.

If you are interested in finding out about how you might be influencing others or the outcomes that you keep on creating, you might want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to work with me.

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