Thursday, May 15, 2008

Impact, Influence, or Transform?

I've been thinking about the effect of other people on my life and it struck me just how disproportionate these effects have been.

There have been many people who have had an impact on my life, having some effect, making some impression, but primarily in an external way. I remember them, but they didn't change who I am or what I do.

A smaller but significant number of people have had definite influence on my life. These people, through their character or deeds, lived in such a way that they changed me. Typically, they've led me to change beliefs or behaviors, or have provided a concrete and compelling example of how to live (or with negative influences, how not to live).

But very few people have had the level of influence where I can say they really did transform my life - changed it in a way that would never have happened apart from them. My parents, my wife, a dear friend who displayed such Christ-like behavior that it drew me to Jesus, and a small handful of others...

What kind of effect do you want to have on those around you? On those you most care about? What type of people do your surround yourself with? Who do you entrust to influence the lives of your children? If you think about the big influences in your life - what made them so? As I think about my friends, coaches, advisors, teachers, there are some characteristics that show up in every one with a strong influence...
  • They loved me unconditionally
  • They chose to invest themselves in my life
  • They believed in me, at times when others did not
  • They challenged me, and spoke truth into my life
  • They helped me see strengths I didn't know I had
  • They went the extra mile
You know what's exciting about that list? There's nothing in there about skills, intelligence, experience, or charisma. They intentionally chose to do the things above, to be an influence, in the life of a person with whom they had built a relationship of trust.

Do you want to be a positive influence for other people? The choice is yours!

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