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Old May 18th, 2012, 01:45 PM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Embracing my ability to influence

Despite my forthrightness on this board, I'm a pretty introverted guy.

I've tended to look at the world as a big place with lots of people in it, and saw myself as a very small influence over what went on around me. I did my best to find places that I fit in, and then integrated myself into them to satisfy my needs for community, contribution, and the likes.

The thing is, when I integrated myself into a community, I soon find out that I can actually have quite a LARGE influence on quite a number of people.

It starts out small, with one or two people who turn to me as an authoritative source of important information, and then soon it's 10 or 20, and grows from there. People of all ages, both genders, from all walks of life.

It's been a few years since I've had that kind of community to have influence in, but I'm definitely in one now. And .... uhm... it kind of startled me to remember what it was like.

And now I'm wondering, with this influence, what kind of "practice exercises" can I go through to further my influencing skills with those who are already approaching ME for what I have to offer? (martial arts is where I have the influence, but I don't have to get them to do martial arts things with my influence, necessarily)

I can feel the SLBs mounting up on this topic, things like:
  • People won't do what you ask!
  • If you practice influencing people, you're being mean to them, "using" them in that way
  • by definition, if i'm practicing, I'm getting more benefit than they are

Obviously a point I need to make in my practice is for them to get equal or more benefit from what, using my influence, I ask them to do as practice for myself.

Or I need to let go if it entirely (more likely) and ask with no attachment to outcome and just let what happens happen. Yes, I think this the better choice, and requires less thinking.

This ties into my desire to be comfortable as an instructor of a large group of people in time.

I'll post more over time, feel free to poke prod and ask questions/make suggestions/share experiences.

Boyd
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Old May 18th, 2012, 02:48 PM
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CrystalPalace CrystalPalace is offline
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Two general things that pop to mind as I read this:

1. Communication - If there's something to "improve" to help influence, I think that's it. Especially for introverts. That's about having vision AND the ability to articulate that vision. Great leaders have influence in their DNA and are always great communicators as well.

2. Avoid Control -- Something about some of the language in your post makes me think you could set yourself up for failure if you equate influence with control. "How do I get them to do what I tell them to do?" is very different from "How do I give them everything the need to choose what's right for them?"

Great topic. Lots for me to think about here--but I don't have time right now to think out loud.

Best regards,
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Old May 18th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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Hawkeye Hawkeye is offline
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Originally Posted by CrystalPalace View Post
2. Avoid Control -- Something about some of the language in your post makes me think you could set yourself up for failure if you equate influence with control. "How do I get them to do what I tell them to do?" is very different from "How do I give them everything the need to choose what's right for them?"
This struck me as well. Influence must be very tricky because there are times when we probably do need to influence someone. Yet each person can make their own decisions and we truly have no control over someone else.

The Assertiveness Workbook in some sense gives up and says that we can influence people by offering our opinion, giving positive or negative feedback, and making requests. And it has chapters on each one of those. But it emphasizes that we have no control over someone else.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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Why do you want to influence people, and further practice to improve this “ability”?

Is it because we've read “The Way of the Superior Man” and decided to give ourselves to the world? If so, be careful because that could have different meanings, not only BUT more importantly, it could put you in the role of being nice and trying to help people by having a positive influence on them.

I believe myself that to truly give yourselves to the world is only a privilege of few. The rest could be easily defined as just being nice to people and have some expectations for a returned/hidden benefit.

It's my opinion that every man has to be selfish first before everything else. For starters, can you honestly say that you can influence the person that matters most? YOU!

MC
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Old May 18th, 2012, 04:53 PM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Originally Posted by mc1967 View Post
Why do you want to influence people, and further practice to improve this “ability”?
Because it's a natural inclination of mine, to lead and influence people. Even when I really have no intention to, I wind up being one of the ones people turn to. I noticed this in grade school.

Because I love where I am, and I want to give as well as receive.

Because they're coming up to me with questions in their eyes and I like to encourage people who ask questions as part of their own growth!

Because I want to have a stronger leadership position over time, as the head guy ages. (and even if I don't get this, I'll still benefit for many years with this guy and I'll find somewhere else to benefit after he's gone)

Quote:
Is it because we've read “The Way of the Superior Man” and decided to give ourselves to the world? If so, be careful because that could have different meanings, not only BUT more importantly, it could put you in the role of being nice and trying to help people by having a positive influence on them.

I believe myself that to truly give yourselves to the world is only a privilege of few. The rest could be easily defined as just being nice to people and have some expectations for a returned/hidden benefit.

It's my opinion that every man has to be selfish first before everything else. For starters, can you honestly say that you can influence the person that matters most? YOU!
I believe I have the "self first" thing going quite well already after 4-5 years of diligent practice.

I've disconnected the hoses, detach from outcome easily and can re-direct my attention from things that bother me to things I find more rewarding without too much difficulty. I've also done well with setting boundaries since I joined in the fall.

Now I'm connecting with a world I'm passionate about in a healthy way, to both further my own personal growth by pushing through SLBs and fears, to share some of my knowledge with others who are curious, and to extend my martial arts learning by figuring out how to not only understand and DO the art, but to help others understand it and do it, too.

Boyd
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Old February 6th, 2013, 05:32 PM
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not only BUT more importantly, it could put you in the role of being nice and trying to help people by having a positive influence on them.




MC

Heaven forbid that should happen
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Old May 18th, 2012, 04:44 PM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
This struck me as well. Influence must be very tricky because there are times when we probably do need to influence someone. Yet each person can make their own decisions and we truly have no control over someone else.

The Assertiveness Workbook in some sense gives up and says that we can influence people by offering our opinion, giving positive or negative feedback, and making requests. And it has chapters on each one of those. But it emphasizes that we have no control over someone else.
Yeah I'm not into control. My NG issues were extreme passivity and self-sabotage, so I find it super easy to walk away from someone giving me trouble, and my recovery is about recognizing quality challenges vs crazy challenges, and learning to embrace the former while continuing to walking away from the latter.

I think I'm doing 2/3 by the workbook standard. I don't offer unsolicited advice unless I'm teaching, and then, well, I consider it solicited because you're taking my class and learning from me I focus on giving positive feedback more than negative feedback, and for the adults who can understand, I give an explanation of what they're trying to avoid by making this change (usually knee injuries and the likes from bad form).

What I fall down at is the "making requests" thing. I'll think about this more! Thank you!

Boyd
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Old May 18th, 2012, 04:40 PM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrystalPalace View Post
Two general things that pop to mind as I read this:

1. Communication - If there's something to "improve" to help influence, I think that's it. Especially for introverts. That's about having vision AND the ability to articulate that vision. Great leaders have influence in their DNA and are always great communicators as well.
Yes, definitely what I'm learning from my leadership experiences during times that I have influence, is that I have to be clearer in my communication quite often. It's kind of neat actually, because there's a big difference between knowing something and being able to communicate/teach it to another.

Quote:
2. Avoid Control -- Something about some of the language in your post makes me think you could set yourself up for failure if you equate influence with control. "How do I get them to do what I tell them to do?" is very different from "How do I give them everything the need to choose what's right for them?"
... and, "how do I deal with the ones that don't pay attention, in a constructive manner vs just ignoring them after a couple reminders like I do now..."

Good points for sure. I'm fortunate that in this influence experiment, I have someone else to fall back on, so everything I suggest comes with a disclaimer: If the head guy tells you to do something different, do that instead!

Quote:
Great topic. Lots for me to think about here--but I don't have time right now to think out loud.

Best regards,
Looking forward to your commentary when you DO have a bit more time!

Boyd
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Old September 27th, 2012, 06:08 PM
steady steady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrystalPalace View Post
"How do I give them everything the need to choose what's right for them?"
This, in and of itself, implies control. Basically what you're saying is "I know what's best for them so how do I steer them to it?" If we're talking about children that's fine, but when it comes to adults this is a bomb waiting to explode.

Influence is a funny thing. To what end? To get them to do what you want them to do? Or to be a beacon of integrity, masculinity, fairness, assertiveness, etc....

The safest influence is by example. You know the saying, "This person was the biggest influence on my life. They were ..... (usually a comment about how the person lived their life).

Edit: I'll leave the above there but I just read through the whole post and it seems to have a different tone than I originally got from the first few posts.

Boyd, I can relate to you in a very specific way. I was a martial arts instructor for a number of years. I taught Jiu Jitsu and was at a second degree. Although I can say I was not really concerned with my influence as I was with passing along the knowledge which was given to me. The physical aspect of the art was easy - the physical movements were the same and only needed to be tweaked to the individual based on their physiology. The mental aspect was much more complex since the mental/emotional complexities of people are so numerous. I just taught what I taught knowing each person would take what was at their level to take. It's the same at this forum. You speak from experience and each person will take what pertains to them where they're at and they'll leave the rest.

I never looked at it as I was influencing my students but I was just a step in a process where I was showing my experience to them and they would see what they saw.
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Last edited by steady; September 27th, 2012 at 06:19 PM..
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Old May 18th, 2012, 05:10 PM
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For me the big killer is attachment to outcome. Its great when you get someone telling you something you told them and them thinking it was their idea. Its like when I perform and get a sense that people like what they're hearing. But as soon as I find myself performing or giving advice and expecting a favourable response I know I'm people pleasing and am not meeting my own needs.

I'm trying to learn that when I'm ignored or overlooked there can be any number of reasons and even if I am boring or offending someone I need to learn to leave that behind. People forget my mistakes much more quickly than I do.

Embracing your ability to influence means learning to be self assured. Your influence doesn't need to be extensive or ubiquitous. Its your ability and remains with you. The actual influence and any consequence of it has nothing to do with you.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 08:29 PM
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Surprising influence

I have been fortunate enough to have experienced what it is like to be included in a number of friendship circles over the years. Some form and last for a short while then spin off as different interest are pursued, others last for very long times. I have been invited into long lasting, preexisting friendship circles and have been part of naturally forming short term ones.

(Just to be clear, this only happens when I work to put myself out there and ignore all the old triggers and anxieties. Eventually the old anxieties become overwhelming and I find I need to back off again to let them cool. That is something I am hoping to finally overcome with the current work.)

One of the things I have noticed is that people within the circle seem to naturally grow to react to and mirror each other. The circle begins to take on a unique "blending" of personalities. The first time I noticed this in relation to myself I was totally surprised. I wasn't used to having people reacting to my presence in ways that seem to indicate that I am having influence on them. The truly amazing part was when I realized that the stuff they are reacting to wasn't something I actively put out there. In fact they seemed to react the most to things about me that I wasn't even aware of sharing. I know that sounds strange but it seemed almost natural when I let go of any thought of actually influencing anyone. I was just being me, whatever that was, and that was all it took.

I think it is just a part of the gradual blending of individuals within the circle. The more you become part of the circle the more the circle adjusts to fit you in. Sometimes this takes the form of others mirroring your own behaviors and attitudes, and other times it is an actual act of the other people seeking your opinion and view point and then acting on it.

Every group has it's leaders and it's followers and this dynamic changes over time and from situation to situation. Some people seem to need to lead and put forth ideas and activities and need others to follow, and others just seem more comfortable letting someone else set the direction for the group. There is a comfort and confidence within the group that is easy for each of the members of the group to feed off, leaders and followers alike.

It is like an unspoken exchange of trust that is all the stronger and more natural because it is just allowed to work itself out rather than being forced.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 03:29 AM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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A bit of an update:

I had one of those "cool but painful" experiences the other day.

I had some key epiphanies that felt like they were the last couple of pieces of a complex puzzle sliding into place, and as soon as the puzzle pieces clicked in, my brain started making associations and re-sorting itself so fast that within seconds I was holding my head, saying "stop!" because my head was in actual pain.

I'm just now beginning to deal with all those realizations, by having conversations with key influential people, stepping forward to begin to create what I want through action vs conversation, and things like that.

I have to admit, I'm kind of surprised how my suggestions and ideas are taken with such high value and implemented immediately in many cases.

Maybe it's because I don't have any children of my own, but it's times like these I have to remind myself I'm nearly 40, and no longer that 22 year old smart ass kid who had good ideas but a baby-face and teenager's emotional temperment and was told to sit down and shut up while the "adults" lead the way.

Now, I'm one of the "adults" leading the way.

I'm not sure if I should be scared, or if I should be proud.

Or both?

Boyd
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Old June 6th, 2012, 03:52 AM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Another key epiphany that a heck of a lot gentler than the big puzzle that clicked into place has been about how my recent promotion (to second degree black belt) in my martial arts group has naturally lended to me exercising my influence more.

Before successfully grading up, there was a social dynamic that was already recognizing me as a leader, and now that I'm officially senior-ranked to a bunch more people, that social dynamic is now backed up with the martial ranking dynamic.

That martial ranking dynamic influence thing is a weird one. From one day to the next you're no better or different just because you became a brown belt or a black belt or higher degree black belt, but there's still this emotional shift that happens for a lot of people that results in leaps and jumps of improvement for a while afterwards.

It's been a long time since I graded up, and the first time I've graded up in this new club. It's cool to see how its influencing my influence

Boyd
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Old June 6th, 2012, 04:07 AM
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Tomson Tomson is offline
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Sounds like you're a kid with a new toy. The key word here is 'embracing.' If you take this out to the streets you'll find all the other kids have one too. When the coolness wears off and you're giving your influence away you will be able to use yours to its full potential.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 08:05 AM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Originally Posted by Tomson View Post
Sounds like you're a kid with a new toy. The key word here is 'embracing.' If you take this out to the streets you'll find all the other kids have one too. When the coolness wears off and you're giving your influence away you will be able to use yours to its full potential.
Heh, I've read this about 10 times and am having troubles discerning the message in the analogy.

Clarify for me, Tomson?

Boyd
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