Have you ever wonder what it takes to be a highly influential person? Was it a gift from God or can it be learned?
Do you know someone who is a highly influential person? I was blessed enough because even they are few, they are my friends and my mentors. There has never been in the season of my life that I seek guidance and help from them a lot.
What does it mean to be a highly influential person? They are the kind of person who is able to influence other people to think or behave or change the way they think. Being influential doesn’t need you to be a title holder or having a high position or even gender preferences. Leadership is far from that.
I remember when I was 13 years old, I was still attending a Sunday School at that time. Yes, you read it right — Sunday School. Since our church was too small, we are together with the pre-schoolers and kids and was having fun coloring the materials as we wait for our parents to finish the service. It was early in the morning when the pastor greeted me. And as he delivers his sermon for the day, a thought suddenly came out from my mind “someday I want to be like him.”
12 years after I didn’t become like one. Probably it was not the job God has called me to do, or it is not yet fulfilled, but I’m still thankful that He gave me a glimpse of what it is to become a pastor by allowing me to be part of mission trips. And mission trips opened my eyes to the real situation of people in other nations who do not know Christ yet.
Before making this whole article about my life, let me go back to where it should be. Do you want to become a highly influential person? Did you know that even you are an introvert person like me, you can influence other people? Yes, you can, by practicing these 8 habits that I’ve learned from highly influential people whom I know.
1. Follow first then lead second.
Our parents were told that it is important to follow first. No wonder Gen X’ers are good managers.
In today’s generation or as we call it The Millenial Generation, they told us all to become leaders. This is when leadership becomes over-glorified, everyone wants to be a person of influence, everyone wants to be heard, everyone wants to suggest when in fact not everyone wants to follow first, and it would be really ineffective.
You must start at the bottom as they said. In other words, how will you be able to know what might help someone, and how you will be able to lead someone if you don’t know the answer?
Leaders lead and learn from others. The greatest leaders are learners.
I am a millennial too and I learned it the hard way. There are times I complain a lot and pitied myself as I was on the bottom level. I became entitled because of what I know, but later I realized that it doesn’t matter how much you know, there’s still a lot of things to learn. Learn to follow first, learn all the things you need to learn, and when you are ready, take the lead! Isn’t it what Jesus taught to us? Follow him first so that we will know exactly where we should lead others — to Him!
2. Be Willing.
God doesn’t use the educated, qualified, or even the most gifted or talented individual. He uses people who are willing to be used. The Apostles were not educated, they don’t even have the degree in theology and depth knowledge of it, yet they have led and planted many churches that expedite the spread of the gospel all throughout the world.
Let’s take a look at what we have right now. We have billionaires, and people of influence who were college drop-outs. Inventors and innovators whom once been ridiculed by the impossibility of their dreams and yet, their inventions today were highly applauded.
This reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:28 “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are,”
God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. And he is inviting you to be part of the great things He’s doing. God is at work everywhere and even your struggles today, He can use that to influence others through you!
I have a friend and a mentor, Kuya Marlon, he’s a motivational speaker and every time he shares with us the journey of his life and how God uses him to reach out to the next generation, it compels us to do the same. He’s one of the people whose willing to be used by God and doesn’t want to miss out what God has in store for him.
Now here’s the question, will you choose to be used by God for great things and become a person of influence, or will you choose to pass and perhaps miss out what God has in store for you? If you say no, God can always choose someone over you. We have only limited time on earth, the author of the Proverbs knew how it is important to number our days. Don’t miss out what God has in store for you. Be willing to be used, your life is not yours, it belongs to Him.
3. Be an Example.
Practice what you preach as they said. People of influence live their lives as an example of how to live. They aren’t trying to convince people to follow them. People can smell from afar whether you are telling the truth about yourself or not.
Here’s what I learned, people of influence doesn’t shy away from sharing this mistakes and failures in life, they are proud of it and because of it, people can relate to them. They just do what they do and others want to be part of it.
Jesus is the best example for this, he never tried to persuade people from following him. He didn’t perform the miracle to win their hearts. He lives his mission, and people follow him because of it.
1 Timothy 4:12b says, ”…set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
No one will follow you down a path that you’re not willing to walk down to yourself. Walk the talk! Live it out unapologetically and watch how your influence will grow.
4. Live what you believe.
If you say you’re a Christian then live like a Christian and act like a Christian. Don’t be a hypocrite, don’t give a reason for others to doubt what you believe by the way you live.
When you talk about love and forgiveness, don’t go hating and judging others. At the same way when you talk about professional excellence, don’t be late for your meetings and presentations.
No one wants to follow someone who says or believes one thing but acts another. In Jesus’s time, the Pharisees are the hypocrites the Bible is telling about and even Jesus warned us to follow what they said, but not follow what they are doing.
Don’t let hypocrisy kills your influence. Be a man of integrity and character.
5. Be Confident.
This is one of the most I struggled with, I’m glad I overcame it. When you don’t know your true identity, you’re going to find it in many places. And if you are insecure, there will be chances that you will miss a lot of opportunities God has in store for you.
This reminds me of the story of Moses when God called him to freed Israel from the slavery in Egypt. Moses was so insecure that he repeatedly argued before God and even requested to use someone else. “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah?” Moses said. Then God continually affirming who he is and how important his role for the redemption of Israelites.
If God was not patient enough, Moses might have missed this crazy calling and opportunities offered before him. People of influence don’t doubt themselves, or God for that matter. Didn’t He said that He’s the one who created us? That you are wonderfully and fearfully made? That He carefully mold you and knitted you in your mother’s womb?
Be confident in who God made you to be, and know that He always can and will use you for greater glory, only if you let Him do it.
6. Have Passion.
Influential people are passionate about something. It’s their passion that inspires others to join them. Though passion is not enough, highly influential people knows their purpose. They know why they do what they are doing.
Some of the influential people we know drive for change. Martin Luther King Jr, Winston Churchill and their ability to tell people about their passion makes them influential.
What are you passionate about? Let that passion leads you to become an influential person.
Colossians 3:23 suggested, “Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.”
- Work from the soul
- Put your best effort
- Do it not for men.
7. Act on your beliefs.
When the armies of Israelites were afraid because of Goliath, that’s when David stepped up to fight. He didn’t care even he was untrained or not, his passion and zeal for God convince him enough to fight the giant in front of him.
David acted on what he believe, influential people does it too. They don’t just there talking about what they believe in front of the people, they go and get things done. They work hard for it.
Whether it could be standing in your faith, or standing up against something, or helping someone. Act on what you believe even when others make fun of it. The world needs people who are authentic and living with their mission, and not just another face in the crowd.
8. Connect with others.
People will forget what you said but they will not forget how you treat them. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Highly influential people connect with others. They make sure to connect to even one person in the crowd. I’m a big fan of personal development and make sure to know what things I need to improve on and learn from it.
Every Sunday, I am teaching kids in Sunday School, I learned that some of the kids don’t listen to you unless you show to them you care for them. Other people might mistakenly define your influence as exposure. For me, it doesn’t matter how much people will see you, they might get to know you but if you are not able to connect with them, they will not follow you.
Here’s the thing: we might impress people with our achievements and strengths, but we can only be able to connect with people through our weaknesses.
Influential people connect with others on a very deep level. Let’s take a look at Jesus. What he does on earth was all about connecting with other people and getting involved in their lives. In that way, people knew He cared.
If you want your influence to be strong enough, you need to build strong relationships with others.
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