Knowledge is not power.
You may know everything, but without influence you can’t do anything.
If knowledge were enough then watching a video on parenting would produce perfect children, attending a job training summit would guarantee you employment, and reading a business book would help you launch and grow your business.
- Your children won’t obey you.
- You can’t find a job you love.
- You’re struggling to grow your business.
- You never get ahead in your career.
- Your relationships with friends and family aren’t doing well.
- Your health is in the toilet.
- Your personal finances are in the red.
- Nobody knows who you are.
- You can’t get any respect.
- You don’t even respect yourself.
What are you missing?
You lack influence with others, and yourself.
Have you ever thought “How come all my friends have great jobs they love, making plenty of money, and I’m stuck in this job I hate?”
That’s a lack of influence with others.
Have you ever told yourself “Self–you will not eat that third bowl of cereal!” and then you went ahead and did it?
That’s a lack of influence with yourself.
I know what that’s like, because I’ve been there.
In 1999 I started a marketing agency.
For seven years I rode a rollercoaster of profit and loss for until I was over half a million in debt and hadn’t paid myself a dime in four years.
My wife and I lived in a studio apartment above a garage and shared a small car with no air conditioning.
I worked 100 hour weeks, often sleeping on the office floor, missing family events, ignoring relationships, and I frequently had to pay my team members late.
I also weighed 239 lbs, about 70 lbs more than I should, and couldn’t walk up a single flight of stairs without wheezing for five minutes afterward.
I was poor, unhealthy, and miserable.
I also had no idea what to do.
I couldn’t afford to quit, and I couldn’t afford to go on.
And I had tried every idea I could think of to fix things.
A Turning Point
There was one thing I knew I could do–I could go to the gym.
In January, 2007, I began to work out.
Before 2007 I had never run over a mile in my life, but by 2008 I was training for my first half-Ironman.
I lost 60 lbs, ran a marathon, then another, and then got into ultra-marathon trail running, my longest run to date being a 70K (43.5 miles) over three mountain peaks, taking me 14 hours.
I soon learned an important lesson, that when you achieve excellence in one area of your life, it pulls up other areas of your life.
As I exercised more I began to eat better.
I also started to make better business decisions.
By the time I completed my first half-Ironman in April, 2008, I was paying off tens of thousands of dollars every month in debt.
For the next few years, my life improved dramatically.
In addition to improved health and paying down business debts my wife and I welcomed two children into our family.
By 2012, however, I was no longer satisfied.
My business was doing ok, but it was small, and I felt a drive to make more of an impact, do something bigger.
When I started my marketing agency I had wanted to see it go global, with offices around the world, and instead I was the sole full-time employee, working from my basement.
I began looking for a partner, someone who would understand my vision, the potential of this business, and who could collaborate with me to make it reality.
I found the partner I was looking for, and something else happened at the same time that would change my life forever.
In 2013 I was invited to become a contributing writer to Forbes.
I had blogged for years before, published a few articles in small business publications, and even got an article in Fast Company, but writing a regular column for Forbes was different.
First of all, the brand gave me massive credibility, and that rubbed off on my business.
Also, I finally had a way to get my content in front of the right audience.
Over the next few years I would trace more than $5M in revenue to the articles I wrote for Forbes.
Writing for Forbes opened the door to other writing opportunities, and I published articles in Fortune, Mashable, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur, Inc., and more.
I also became known as an expert in my field, and people began to write articles about me and my business.
My business grew, and we opened offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and across the US.
I gave a TEDx talk and began to get paid speaking engagements.
I landed a book deal.
I was invited to spend a week with Richard Branson on his private island.
How did all this happen?
Without knowing it, I had stumbled onto a secret, but one so simple that when you learn it you say “I think I always knew it.”
The secret is that everything we want can be ours through influence.
Either we influence ourselves, we influence others, or both.
What makes one person more influential than another in his or her field?
Why do children listen to some parents and not others?
Why do we know names like Oprah, Mother Theresa, Churchill, and Hitler, while others of equal or greater talent languish in obscurity?
Why do some people seem to have such self control, while the rest of us struggle to resist temptation?
Why do I do what I do?
What do others do what they do?
What is my calling in life?
Where can I make the greatest impact?
These questions and my own experience increasing my influence drove me to research influence, most importantly, I wanted to know how the most influential individuals in history created and maintained their influence, even beyond their deaths.
During my research I discovered what I came to call The 7 Systems of Influence.
The 7 Systems of Influence
SYSTEM 1: VISION
Start with a dream. What do you want?
SYSTEM 2: GENIUS ZONE
Why you? What can you do that no one else can?
SYSTEM 3: AUDIENCE
Who will you influence to make your vision reality?
SYSTEM 4: CONTENT
What’s your message? How will you deliver it?
SYSTEM 5: ACTION
How will you turn dreams into goals, plans, and action?
SYSTEM 6: COLLABORATION
Who will you work with to 1000x your impact?
SYSTEM 7: LOVE
Empathy, passion, and good will trump everything else.
Oprah is Oprah because she created powerful ideas about what she wanted in her future.
She discovered what she was great at and focused on it.
She discovered her ideal audience and gave them what they wanted.
Her content always contained a powerful message, and she delivered it through the channel where her audience wanted to receive it.
She was organized and planned her future out in detail.
She built a rock-star team and collaborated with many others, including her guests and her audience itself.
However, all the same could be said of Hitler, who was, tragically, one of the most influential individuals in history.
The primary difference between Hitler and Oprah?
Oprah’s supreme gift is her ability to feel what others are feeling and care for their well-being.
Hitler’s intentions were evil from the start and in place of love he used fear, intimidation, and terror.
The results, to understate things in the extreme, were disastrous.
I once read that coaching can be boiled down to two questions:
- What do you want?
- What’s in your way?
The 7 Systems of Influence will help you answer both.
Of course figuring out exactly how to develop and maintain influence is the tricky part.
That’s where I can help in one of three ways:
- Speaking. Would you like to hire me to speak to your organization or at your event? Learn more >>
- Coaching. Monthly, one-on-one, with services to build your personal brand and generate real results. Learn more >>
- Mastermind. Monthly coaching and accountability in small groups of up to 10 individuals. Learn more >>