The Art of Influence: Determining the Impact of Your Words

When consulting, it is easy to feel as though your advice is falling upon those who will not take it seriously.  Some may be defensive that an “outsider” is telling them how to manage their duties.  Perhaps there may be feelings of bitterness that lead to a power struggle.  I absolutely believe values in the business world translate to life lessons. That being said, I would like to share with you an essay written by my 17-year-old daughter:

“Let’s go for a walk.”

This was a typical father daughter activity that I grew up with.  As we would walk along a beaten path, a sandy beach, or even simply within our neighborhood, we would touch upon minute and important occurrences in our lives.  I never noticed just how necessary these walks were. They allowed innumerable lessons to be communicated and effortlessly related business to life.  Being an entrepreneur and business consultant for many years, my father understood that core business values were applicable outside of the office. Little did I know this wisdom unconsciously became a part of me and the themes of those discussions were just the words I needed to hear.

Throughout middle school, control was something I endlessly searched for because at the time I felt I barely had any. As quickly as people came into my life, forging what I assumed were solid relationships, they were gone for one reason or another.  My efforts to intervene, to hold on, were wasted. “Change is inevitable¨ my father would say. He explained that business and life alike were about adaptability to what is expected as well as what is unexpected. 

I soon began to loosen my relentless grip on the desire to control life’s fated changes. I shifted my energies from stressing over the uncontrollable to focusing on what is realistically achievable.  I became daring, more willing to take risks, and ready to conquer whatever outcomes followed.  I realized that the substantial motivator for my urgency to take control was the fear of the unknown. Not knowing is what left me apprehensive about the future, paralyzing me when decisions needed to be made.  Coming to terms with this fear allowed me to find freedom from the shackles of uncertainty.

With this reflection and realization came a newly gained confidence that drove me to grapple with challenges that presented themselves to me.  Despite the unpredictability of his travels, paralysis never struck my father in the midst of the unknown.  He is always ready to take action and problem solve.  Such an attitude inspired me to follow through with certain creative pursuits, specifically in my Film Studies course, and eventually lead me to earn recognition for my work.  Despite my doubts, I let go of the possibility of failure and embraced the raw potential of what my film trailer had to offer.  As a result, I was awarded the honor of “Most Engaging” piece of work.  I certainly was learning the benefits of adaptation and vulnerability.

Wherever I may find myself in the next four years or life thereafter, I plan to work through tribulations blissfully knowing I have confidence in my abilities to adapt. I refuse to hide from the risks of uncertainty; instead, I now twist uncertainty into a pleasant surprise. My decision to major in journalism comes with the utmost confidence; I look forward to immersing myself in creative endeavors. Positive results are never a guarantee, but my self-assured outlook is. This outlook is credited to my father, whose life experiences taught him lessons of unparallelled value. Countless factors are beyond my control, but it is up to me to conquer those worries tied with change by releasing fears of the unknown and embracing adaptation.

Consultants have earned their titles for reasons involving accomplishments, experience, and expertise.  You have been brought on to share your knowledge of the industry and lead others to improvement and success that is continually growing.  You might feel as though no one is listening, but someone always is.

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