It’s not about you – it’s about them!
The focus of an influencer is always on the audience.
If you are a speaker – it’s about the people listening to you.
If you are in sales – it’s about your customer or prospect.
If you are a leader – it’s about the people you are leading.
If you are a teacher – it’s about your students.
If you are a parent – it’s about your children
Almost everyone has this backwards. They think being influential means they need to become polished or powerful. Influence, though, is all about the audience. Be it an audience of one or one thousand. When it’s about them, they get it, and we grow in their eyes.
I think one of the keys to success is developing outward thinking.
By thinking out instead of in, by concentrating on others instead of on us, a tremendous transformation takes place. We go from inner directed to outer directed, from taker to giver, from self-centered to others-focused, from tightfisted to generous, from shortsighted to farsighted, from selfish to selfless. We begin to see and act on behalf of others’ needs ahead of our own; our thoughts are in terms of “we” instead of “me.”
My son Tanner is a great example to me of what it means to think outward. In our family he is described as a peacemaker, kind and everyone’s friend. Six years ago I wrote this about Tanner and it continues to describe him.
“My two-year-old, Tanner, loves his older sister Andie, who is four. He follows her around, copies her every action, wants what she wants, explores where she explores. I’ve noticed that every time I give Tanner a piece of gum, a cookie, fruit snacks, a drink, or a prize, he invariably asks for one for Andie. He does this instinctively, without hesitation and without thinking. Sometimes she’s not even there, but he’ll still ask for it, and then he will save it for her. It is an unspoken demonstration of outward thinking, of looking out for another. It’s the way we all should be.”
I try to live up to Tanner’s example and move my thinking from inward to outward.
As you develop outward thinking – you will develop better relationships, build a stronger reputation and grow your influence.