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What We Do Matters. Three Ways to Manage Our Influence.

Mindset Made Simple Tip #132 – Watch or listen HERE and subscribe!

As many of you prepare to kick off the spring season and the rest of you fight through a long winter one, I hope this tip is a reminder of the power of the influence every person you lead…including you… has on your culture and success!

My sister and I were waiting for my dad to prep for surgery on Friday and began talking about influence, specifically how one person can change the course of history. This sounds a bit overdramatic but indulge me for a quick story that prompted this tip.


My cousin Lisa and her husband adopted two boys. One was sure to have some issues having been born addicted to drugs. If anyone could handle it, it was Lisa. Lisa was quite possibly the most Christ-like human I have encountered and I am not just saying that because she is no longer with us. She constantly challenged me (in my own head) to be a better person as I watched her set an example I never thought I could reach.


Fast forward 2 years. Lisa was diagnosed with Leukemia.


For two more years, she was in and out of the Cleveland Clinic battling for herself and her boys. All the while, her husband made things harder than they already were. She eventually lost her fight, and her boys lost their fighter. The boys’ lives instantaneously changed. Aside from their own issues (all no fault of their own), they were left with an ill-equipped father (his assessment as well).


Life changed. Fast forward 4 years, they lost their grandma to COVID…a year later, their father died of cancer, too – I know…unreal! Fortunately, we have an amazing family and both boys are being loved and cared for by their grandfather and aunt and uncle. Even so, it has been very hard, and I can’t help but think what life would be like for them had Lisa won her fight.


My point? A loss of one person's influence set the lives of MANY on a different path.


Another quick example…my dad’s knee-replacement surgery was canceled due to cardiovascular concerns. Three doctors signed off. One had reservations and we packed up and went home!


Influence.


As John O’Sullivan says as he concludes his The Way of Champions Podcast each week, “your influence is never neutral.”


What we do matters.


How we look matters. What we show others matters. What we say and how we say it matters, especially as a leader!


As Hitendra Wadhwa says in Inner Master, Outer Impact: How Your Five Core Energies Hold the Key to Success, “your every micro-expression will have an amplified effect.”


Did you know that we read peoples’ actions more than what they say? In fact, Dr. Albert Mehrabian from UCLA has concluded that about 93 percent of communication is nonverbal. Our body language, including facial expressions, accounts for around 55% of all communication. Rounding out his 93% assertion is our tone of voice.


I test his hypothesis out on every group with whom I speak. We go through a whole rigmarole with our hands with them following me as Simon Says. I then give them a direction that contradicts what I do with my hands and at least half of them follow my hands and not my words. I did this yesterday with high-level leaders in the United States Air Force. Even they were not immune to the nonverbal bias!! I got ‘em! 😊


As Dr. Madden used to say in undergrad, “you cannot not communicate!” And people follow what they see more than what they hear!


As I thought of the influence of my cousin Lisa on the lives of everyone around her and how losing her changed EVERYTHING and then saw the influence of one doctor on the month long process of setting up surgery….including a flight in from Florida by my sister, I could not help but think of how important each of us is to what is going on around us…and how we must be aware of and accountable for our influence.


We aren’t talking about life or death or surgery concerns. We are talking about day-to-day influence. We are talking about self-awareness…our superpower…and how we can manage our influence to enhance everything around us (and in us)!


So many times we think of influence as a bad thing. We often use it when discussing someone’s influence that we do not approve of. However, influence is not a pejorative term. It is an opportunity presented to each of us in every moment of every day. It is part of our response-ability!


Because…what we do matters…and how we do it matters even more. Watch this video clip from Vanessa Van Edwards’ TedX talk, You are Contagious.


Reminding ourselves and those we lead of our contagion is important for our team’s culture and our success.


How do others know how we feel? They watch our cues. Give criticism with a smile and a soft voice and it is taken very differently than something, anything said with a frown and harsh voice. Not sure I always nailed this in my coaching!


Fair? No…but true, nevertheless!


How you look…your posture, your facial expressions, your tone…can all be affected by the environment, the pressures you feel and your response to events/thoughts/feelings, etc.


It all circles back to our response-ability!


We have so many “on board” tools to help us perform better and our posture/body language/non-verbal communication is one of them. Let’s make plans to use it better!


Not sure what you are broadcasting on the field or in the boardroom? Video yourself. Analyze your video like you analyze game film. This is the best way to get a clear picture of what others see! Be sure to look for the good stuff and find solutions for things that need adjustments…and don’t cringe at the sound of your voice 😊!


Are you communicating your message as intended? What barriers are getting in the way? What works, what needs improvement and what one simple thing can you do to improve your ability to communicate and influence?


Want to ensure you are prepared for everything that comes your way? Take a few minutes to get into your power, and by power, I mean power pose! What do lions do right before they pounce on their prey? They get big! What do winners do when they cross the finish line? They get as big as ever, hands in the air, head and chin up, they take up space with their size and energy.


Change your posture and change your power…to act…to respond…to move! How? You will raise your testosterone. According to Dr. Amy Cuddy’s research, people in high-power poses increased about a 20% increase in testosterone and those with low-power poses, think slouched over, sitting with your elbows on your knees or in any small posture, experienced a 10% decrease in testosterone.


To add to this, those with bigger posture had a 25% decrease in cortisol compared to those with more diminutive posture increase in cortisol to the tune of 15%.


So you become a more steady action-oriented human by changing the space you take up in the world…and people, in turn, according to Dr. Cuddy’s findings, find you more confident, enthusiastic, passionate and authentic. YOU HAVE MORE PRESENCE and since your influence is never neutral, this is a good thing!


So set those scaps, lift that chin and chest and take up space! Look like you know where you are going and people are more likely to follow…no matter how you feel!


Then video your dugout, your bench or your meeting. Start the review session with a simple question of asking everyone to evaluate whether their behaviors (performance is a behavior) are making things better for their own performance and that of the team. You can go on to ask them to do a Well-Better-How, looking for things to repeat and improve with concrete solutions to ensure the “better” becomes a “well.”


Remember, every moment is an opportunity to influence someone or something and what we do matters.


We may not realize our impact, but someone does! It is part of our response-ability! And since our success is tied to the quality of our culture and our communication, ensuring we are aware of our effect on both and getting those we lead to understand theirs is a good start to being who we intend to be…even when we don’t feel like it! And our performance will thank us!


How can you better manage your influence this week?


Manage the moments!


Julie


P.S. I’d love to help with your team communication and share the impact of individual influence! Set up a mental performance session to get the most out of your team’s mindset. Reach out to set up a 45-minute team session today! Contact me at juliej@ssbperofrmance.com or call/text 234-206-0946.


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