The Influences that Influence

“If you know from whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.” — James Arthur Baldwin

Deep spiritual thinkers as well as quantum physicists claim that every single thing influences every other thing. In chaos theory, the so-called “butterfly effect” is based on how a seemingly small change at one place in time (such as the flap of a butterfly’s wings) can result in large differences (such as the formation of a hurricane) to a later state.

Political and corporate leaders and, of course, celebrities are often considered to be “influencers.” Yet, the fact is that, every second of every day, each one of us is affected by random events, people and things that — in some way, shape or form — influence our journeys.

bridgeVisualize, if you will, a wooden bridge with each plank constructed out of either a person or event in your life that made some type of lasting impression.

Your parents, siblings, best friends, arch enemies, the nuns you had as teachers (yes, I went to Catholic school), your first coach, boy scout leader, first crush, classmates, children, bosses – all your influences, good or bad…

First steps, first day of school, first kiss, first dates, graduations, touchdowns, first day of college, weddings, births, deaths — and all the tragedies and triumphs in between…

Each and every plank of your ever-expanding bridge influences who and what you are. Each plank has led you to exactly where you are. And, perhaps most importantly, your personal bridge makes you uniquely different from anyone else on this planet. The bridge is You!

four-treesNow visualize an Impressionist Painting—such as the ”The Four Trees” by Claudfour treese Monet, displaying a row of poplar trees at attention along the Epte River bank. Many of you might like it for its color, its calmness, or its scenic simplicity. Yet, on closer examination, you see thousands of tiny strokes of color, dabs of paint that bring life and form to the canvas. No two paintings are alike and each is special.

So what does your canvas look like? Consider the top 10 most defining moments (dabs of color or influence) in your life. Jot them down. They can be big or small. But know that each has been significant. Then, name the next 10 moments. Think of each moment as the raw materials (a palette of paint colors) that come together to display your personal portrait. Examine it! Cherish it! Allow yourself to marvel at how the pieces have somehow all fit together.

These are all influencers that have created the Unique You.

The more you take stock in your influencers, you get closer to more fully appreciating yourself.

You see, it’s not about the influences that bring you influence as much as it is about the influences that influence who and what you are today. There are the positive ones you’ve embraced, as well as the negative ones you’ve learned from.

Look at them. Leverage them. Let them help you define your personal brand and where you wish to go, both personally and professionally.

Share the unique influences of the brand called You with us!

– Tom McManimon

– Diane Blaszka