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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Created for Influence!

One of the best messages in this series stated that we were designed to be an influence. We are created to have an impact. Influence is hard-wired into our human condition. Whether we invent the future or allow the future to invent us, influence will in one way or another will flow from our lives.

One point that stood out to me was that we are not created to be ignored. It doesn't feel good when we're in a relationship or a friendship, and the other person ignores us. It hurts when we're in a group and our opinions or insight isn't valued. But rather than sit back in silence and bitterness because of someone else's oversight, stand firm in the knowledge that you're not created to be left on the outside looking in. You're not intended to be discarded.

As writers, we often lead a very solitary existence. We spend hours locked into our writing space, pouring out our stories to meet a deadline of some sort. It could be from an editor, an agent, a mentor, a critique partner, or even from ourselves. But even though it's a calling, there are times when we need to step out of that bubble and explore the rest of our sphere of influence.

In recent years, the invention of the Internet opened up the world to millions in just seconds. Web sites appeared by the thousands. Stories were told and people all over the world were reading them. And then came the blog. A place where you can share your thoughts and engage in a random stream of conscious about any given topic. Some more industrious bloggers have a specific focus to their blogs and each post advances or centers around that focus. Maybe someday I'll get around to that, but for now, I'll leave you to wander the crazy and mixed up trail of my internal ponderings.

Now, where was I? Oh yes. Spheres of influence. We all have one. Our job is to fill it. Real success will come when we build and grow into our own sphere. We can't be jealous of someone else's sphere. It's not ours. And ours is much bigger than we think, so we have more than enough opportunity for success and achievement right where we are. We don't need to borrow trouble by trying to step into someone else's sphere. Our sphere is our niche.

And it's more than just a one-time deal. It's a lifetime process. It requires consistent hard work and effort. In order to sustain influence, we have to be willing to learn and grow and be taught. We have to increase our knowledge and seek guidance from others who have expanded their own spheres. If we look at those who have gone before us, we'll see that their spheres have grown because they didn't allow their past or other people's opinions to stop them from engaging the future.

The measure of influence we have is not defined by what other people think of us, but by how much people defer what we have to say or teach when they have a decision to make. As writers, this is measured by the message in our stories or writings. We can't define our success by how many books we've sold or how many readers we have or the number of zeros in our checks and contracts. We define successful influence when the message in our writing is ingested and processed and helps our readers reach a positive decision in their lives.

Once that success is attained, it must then be carefully invested. We can't simply sit back and rest on our laurels as the reports of success arrive on our doorstep or in our inbox. We need to take that success and establish relationships with those we've influenced. We can best maintain our influence through relationships and not politics. We can't get caught up in our level of success. We need to continue to touch lives.

In ACFW, a fantastic organization for Christian fiction writers, that's a primary aspect that has stood out to me from the start. No matter how successful any author is, we're all on the same playing field of God's world. We all have our zone and some zones cross others. But, we're all there to help each other reach the ultimate goal of spreading God's word.

You just never know where your sphere will take you or who it will grow to include. I've been amazed at the people I've met and the emails I've exchanged from people all over the world. The more active you are in your sphere, the further your influence reaches. Set forth with the expectation that you're going to succeed and prepare for what you're going to do when it happens.

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." Grab onto that hope and that future. Influence is about forward motion. God spoke to me today and said the forward motion can't happen if I don't put the sphere in gear. I hope you do as well.


Carol Collett said...

Wow, it's going to take me some time to digest this post.

Robin Bayne said...

Let's exchange blog links : )

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Exchange blog links, Robin? Gee, I've already got yours listed. :)

Carol, thanks for visiting and posting a comment. Hope you don't get indigestion from reading. *g*