Career With A Purpose 8.0: The Power of Influencing Yourself, Part II

Serving Your Purpose Presents: The Power of Influencing Yourself, Part II

Career With A Purpose 8.0


There is a lot of talk today about being our best selves and finding our highest destiny. Of course, we all want to live up to our potential, but what happens when circumstances and limitations seem to hinder our opportunities?

In part I of this article, we mentioned the value of looking at ourselves and at our situations from the outside as a dispassionate observer might. Then asking ourselves: what can be done to make the best of this challenge or this opportunity? How can I grow?

Sometimes the answer might involve changing a habit or creating a better routine; sometimes it might involve letting go of past mistakes or worry over the future. Management Consultant Joseph Grenny has coined a term for folks who study how to make themselves and their circumstances better. He calls them self-influencers.

He maintains that sometimes self-influencers need to go beyond merely changing a habit. When unavoidable challenges arise, they might need to look for ways to change an entire thinking paradigm. Grenny shares the example of an elderly couple whose physical disabilities made it necessary for them to move into an assisted living facility. Understandably, they struggled with the thought of losing their independence and giving up control.

Not wanting to fall into discouragement and inactivity that might further limit them, they found things they could control. The husband used the exercise equipment in their new facility to focus on fitness, so he would be able to stay mobile as long as possible. The wife decided to learn Spanish and do all she could to keep her mind strong. They determined to continue being self-influencers at every stage of life.

So, when this couple was tempted to grieve over having to give up their farm and many possessions, they decided to turn their sadness into a celebration of giving. Instead of letting their property sit idle until relatives had to settle their estate years hence, they had the joy of giving their vehicles and favorite belongings to people who needed and appreciated them.

With the characteristic of someone who is intent on creating her own happiness despite circumstances, the wife decided that she would rather have the joy of giving her car away than suffer the discouragement of her daughter having to tell her she could no longer drive. This pair of self-influencers creates healthy inner dialogues and small personal strategies that help them take charge of outcomes changed the paradigm from one of losing control to one of taking control.

The truth is, the most important project we’ll ever take on is the challenge of influencing ourselves. We human beings are fascinating and complex creatures shaped by innumerable forces and affected by circumstances largely beyond our control. If we want to work toward admirable goals and establish a sense of success and fulfillment (despite disappointments), one of the best ways is to develop a greater potential for intervening actively in our own lives. There is great power in learning to be a self-influencer.