Episode 199 – The Ultimate Source of Influence

Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to the Becoming Your Best podcast, wherever you may be in the world today. This is Steve Shallenberger, your host, and I’m excited today to talk about the ultimate source of influence. This is really living and teaching the principles of Becoming Your Best and the real purpose is building high-performance people and teams.

And so what is the source, the power of influence? It is your example. It is you being based, having your life built on the foundation of correct timeless principles that produce high-performance outcomes, that produce happiness and joy, that produce strong relationships. And so, as we master these high-performance habits, as we found our life on these principles, we set a powerful example that radiates out. The immediate people that it hits are those around you. And so, through our example that influences the people and your relationships. Those people impact the culture of your family, of your teams, of your organization, and the culture that you have, literally is what defines your strategic direction, your vision, your core values, your total inspirational goals for two to five years, your key pillars of your strategy – your three to five pillars – and then it’s all about when you are aligned from top to bottom, you are like a laser in terms of serving the marketplace, of being the best at what you do, and making a positive difference in the community and the world that we live in.

And so, where does it all start? It starts with you. It starts with the habits that you have in your life. And so, let’s just talk about that for a second because as we think about the greatest impact you can have, personally and professionally, what’s the source of that? And remember that the purpose is happiness, joy, strong relationships and prosperity being high performers with our team and organization and helping it be positioned so that it can perform at that level over a long period of time.

So, what can you do to be an example of living solid principles that are high-performance type principles? Recently, I had the opportunity to be involved in an awesome group of individuals, it was a mastermind group. And we asked this very question, “How can you be an example? What can you do?” And I invited them to think about the principles, foundation-wise, of Becoming Your Best. Here are some of the answers, and we just reflect about these and think of the impact that this has on others. The influence as we live it, it’s really not about worrying about what others are doing, it is what we are doing. So, think about the impact of these actions and this core impact of our example and the influence that has on the people, culture, strategy, and ultimately the marketplace in the world.

How about if you regularly have a clear vision, you set annual goals that help you realize your vision, and you consistently do pre-week planning. See, those are high-performance habits, and they are transformational leadership habits. So this is a good example. And when we do this, it has a big influence, it helps others do what matters most. Here’s another one that was mentioned, “be an effective communicator”, and especially starting with listening. So if you do that uniquely, regardless of what’s going on outside of your sphere of influence you started, think of the impact by you doing that, that it has on the people. How about the culture? How about you being accountable? Or how about you having a positive attitude in all that you do, always being honest, having clear values, respecting others.

See what a light this is? When you do this, this is at the center, your actions which become an example which has an impact on the people, seeking balance in your own life, working hard, being motivated, doing the hard things, inviting feedback from others. Don’t you love it when this happens? Helping others to achieve their goals, and seeing and promoting the value of the team and what an innovative team where there’s high trust can accomplish! And certainly, focusing on priorities and setting the right priorities, and resiliency – in other words, not giving up. And not only that, but disrupting yourself, improving, learning, gaining new skills, just have an insatiable desire to learn and read books and listen to podcasts – just like we’re doing right now.

Tonight, I went to a movie and saw a good friend and we were just talking about podcasts that he had just listened to, and it happened to be on the founders of Five Guys Hamburgers, where we were eating. It was fabulous! I’m sure I was having the turkey burger, the healthy one. Another is thinking of us in the middle of this circle, setting an example by our behavior, delivering on commitments to build trust and taking care of yourself, talking less and listening more. That’s just a few. If you think of the 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders, I appreciate the example that those are because those go right down the line and help us do the right things.

Using these principles, particularly, for example, the 12 Principles of Highly Successful People and Leaders, these can be an annual standard that you can measure how you’re doing against, and you can build upon this foundation, and it is rock solid! And as you do this, I’d like to just share an experience that illustrates this as you and I simply focus on these kinds of things that we can do, realizing that the impact is an example. It’s a light that radiates outward and directly affects everybody in our life, which then cascades right out as we just described – culture, strategy and then affects the world, right?

Recently, it was about a week and a half ago, I had the wonderful opportunity and honor to attend a YPO Forum retreat. I have six other fantastic forum mates. The assignment that we had, as we went into our three-day forum was to think about this question, “What is our vision, hope, and dreams for the next three to five years? We took a sheet of paper, put down our roles down the left side of that, and then we took time. We had a month to prepare for our retreat. And then, each one of us was given 30 minutes to be able to share what we saw, what we wanted to do in the next three to five years. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. It’s something you can do with your family. It’s something you can do with fellow workers, key executives. But this is a good example of really defining clearly the vision and then, along with that, comes the annual goals of how will you implement it, and then we get it down to pre-week planning and it becomes transformational. What we’ve just done is set an example that is rarely done, that inspires other people to do it. They have greater clarity. This, then, allows us to lead a life by design versus living a life by default.

So, what is the impact of doing this kind of thing, of having our life built upon these types of principles, these types of high-performance habits? Well, it’s nothing short of magical, really, and it may take time sometimes. I’m reminded of the example of the Chinese bamboo. Maybe some of you, our listeners, have heard of this example before. But ultimately, the outcome is enormous of doing these things. And here is the story of the Chinese bamboo. There’s a Chinese farmer, he has a field and he has to feed his family, but also he’s really looking for this return in perpetuity of being able to plant a type of crop that can produce over, and over, and over, over time. And so, he decided to plant the Chinese bamboo. He had a large field, he carefully planted the seeds of the Chinese bamboo – he had in this large field, quite a bit of room to do this – but he also had to feed his family. So, in between where he put the seeds, he also planted another crop that was much more short-term, that would produce food and produce a short-term source of income.

He cared for the Chinese bamboo starts, although he didn’t see any evidence that they were growing. He patiently got the bucket of water and went out in the field and day after day watered the Chinese bamboo seeds. He saw nothing. At the end of the first year, he saw nothing coming out of the ground. And at the end of the second year, as he kept up this process, he had been told that would take years for these to come out of the ground. And so, based on that hope, based on that dream, he persisted. Sometimes this is how it is for us in life, by persisting and staying at it. Even he had to be ridiculed by his neighbors. He was laughed at. You know, you’re putting all of this work and look, you’re getting no results. This happened at the end of the fourth year, but by now he was committed, he looked forward to the dream of what could happen. And at the end of the fifth year, as he continued to nurture these all this time, he saw a little shoot start coming up out of the ground across the entire field. And within just a few days of that shoot coming up, the Chinese bamboo started growing one meter a day, and within six weeks, the Chinese bamboo had grown from 60 to 90 feet, and he had an entire forest in that field, of something that would produce perpetuity, if you will. And there are so many uses for the Chinese bamboo.

And this is such an inspirational story because sometimes we wonder the impact of these things as we work day after day on developing listening habits, as we work week after week of establishing pre-week planning – that habit for the rest of our life that allows us to consistently do those things that matter most. One day we wake up, and we grow a meter. And within six weeks, we can have a tremendous return because we’re changed, we’re different. And as this happens, this is an example of us setting the standard of radiance and light that goes out, that touches everybody’s life.

I love the example of the caterpillar. Some years ago, many years ago, I was teaching the US Postal Service in Atlanta and I had spent some time with them and we concluded a great week. And as a gift, which was totally surprising to me, I didn’t know what was coming, they presented me with a metal plaque, and the plaque had an engraved image of the caterpillar, the cocoon, and the metamorphosis of the butterfly. And I’ve kept that gift ever since, as an example of the work that it takes of looking skyward at the possibility of having dreams, of having to work through the challenge to get to another place in life and then to fly free. That’s such a great example!

Well, today, this is a brief podcast, I invite each one of us to double down, to keep trying, to take heart, to be an example, and watch the mighty impact of your example lift everyone, helping not only yourself to have greater happiness and joy, more prosperity, but also helping others move into a level of high performance personally, so that they can achieve those same type of results. And also organizationally, to where we enter in the upper 10% of those producing.

Well, it’s been a delight visiting with you today. I hope some of these thoughts will be helpful to you and give you encouragement. They give me encouragement that I can somehow in a small way, maybe make a difference, just by trying, myself, and realizing as I master these principles, that there is a natural law, a natural consequence, that is 100% predictable that we get to a better place. I’m wishing you a great day! This is Steve Shallenberger from Becoming Your Best.

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