August 2010 Leadership Lessons ezine by Mark Sanborn
Do you remember a time in your life when you were just blown away by someone’s performance? Whether it was work-related or not, it was memorable because of the impression it made on you. You were inspired by the mastery you observed. Even seeing a superior athlete at the top of her game can inspire someone to strive for excellence in other endeavors.
You, too, can have remarkable influence through your performance. One of the best parts of performing remarkably is that you have the chance to inspire someone else to do the same. Example is the most powerful aspect of influence.
To set yourself up to be a remarkable influencer, begin with these questions: Who has inspired you in your life? What did they do and why did it inspire you? Who might you inspire? (Think about those people around you a lot, watching your performance at home or work. Are you providing the example you desire?)
One way to inspire others is by sharing what you know and becoming an informal teacher. Rather than offering suggestions (which might be construed as criticism), offer assistance. “If you’d like, I’ll show you what I’ve learned….” Also, simply challenging your “student” to think about the why or the reasons behind what he or she does instead of just the how, when, and what can make a big difference in how he or she performs.
Consider not only current performance but future potential-in yourself and in others. Help others see their own potential. Remember that we’re all works-in-progress.
What fuels remarkable performances, and what fuels you? Passion is what keeps your work from feeling like work. It changes not just your attitude but your behavior. You can influence others by reminding them that there will always be things we need to do that we aren’t necessarily passionate about, but they don’t need to crowd out doing things that matter and arouse a sense of purpose. Someone once said that a cynic is a passionate person who doesn’t want to be disappointed again. Perhaps you can help someone regain passion in his or her life.
Influencers stay connected to their principles. Principles are what center you as a person and help you retain your integrity throughout your life. They will be critical in the difficult decisions you make.
Finally, persistence is another key to remarkable influence. Don’t give up or let your standards down in the face of difficulty. Your perseverance in the face of adversity might be just the example others need to keep going and to maintain their standards.
Remember that a truly remarkable performance on your part can have a significant and positive impact on others. In the end remarkable influence is more about what you give than what you get. Remarkable performance is not only about how you achieve success, but what you do with the fruits of that success that define you and has the potential to help others.