Own Your Influence!

by Andy Wood on August 11, 2012

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, Leadership, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Legacy

(Cool things I heard somebody pray, #3)

Went to Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit for the first time this week.  Of course, “global” for me was the simulcast just down the street at Live Oak Community Church.

Just before the conference began, Doug Halcomb, the senior pastor at Live Oak, led us in a simple prayer:

“Help us to own our influence.”

Wow.  God had my attention before Bill Hybels ever appeared on the screen.


Every one of us has, to some degree, the capacity to shape the character, development, or behavior of someone else.  For some people that takes a lot of work.  Others seem to affect the world around them with seemingly no effort at all.

Sometimes you will influence people and know it.  Often you will influence others and remain oblivious to it.  Either way, you’re an influence.

Influence comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  Sometimes people imitate you; sometimes they think deeply about something you had to say.  Sometimes they follow you and your life choices.  Sometimes they buy things, try things or avoid things because of your suggestions or your mistakes.

What separates leaders from other influencers is that leaders are more intentional about how they want to shape the efforts or lives of others.  But whether you consider yourself to be a leader or not, your choices, words, attitudes and direction are swaying others one way or another.


“Help us to own our influence,” Doug prayed.

Would it surprise you to know that sometimes I don’t want my influence?  I want somebody else’s.  I often find myself a little jealous of somebody else’s charm, wishing I had somebody else’s communication abilities, or somebody else’s persuasion skills.  Sometimes I catch myself trying to be a writer like somebody else, a teacher like somebody else, or an organizational leader like somebody else.  I want to be hip like one guy, smart like another one, or funny like a third one.

Just one problem….

Yeah, that.

Sometimes it’s generational.  I still get energized by people half my age.  But I don’t reach them as well, and that really bothers me sometimes.

Sometimes it’s giftual.  That’s not really a word, but it flows nicely with “generational.”  I just mean that sometimes influence is the result of the ways we are spiritually or naturally gifted.  And I’m sorry if I’m the first to break this to you, but there are some talents and gifts that you just don’t have, and neither do I.

Easy, now.  It’ll be OK.  You have skills and gifts others don’t have as well.

Do you ever feel like a failure or a reject because you can’t influence the same people as somebody else you admire?  Maybe you aren’t supposed to influence them on that scale.  You have your own field of influence. Do you even know how to recognize it?

Oh… and watch out for the mirror effect.  The mirror effect says that whatever you’re thinking about somebody else, they’re very possibly thinking the same thing about you.  In this case, the person you’re so jealous of is wishing they had your level or scope of influence.


This was the “gotcha” in Doug’s prayer.  To own something is to acknowledge it or admit it’s true.  It means to accept responsibility for it, to be willing to be identified with it.  It means to claim it as your own without apology or excuse.

But hold ‘er there, Doug!  Doesn’t everybody want to “own their influence?”


Rebellious people don’t want to own their influence.  Haven’t you ever been somewhere where nobody knew you, and been tempted to do something you’d never do in your familiar places?  Have you ever felt tired of being correct or righteous all the time because you’re supposed to be setting a good example for [insert your own answer here]?

Burned out or exhausted people don’t want to own their influence.  When you’re running on empty emotionally or at the end of your physical stamina, the last thing you want to do is put that soul armor back on.  You want to take off the uniform and as my Mama used to say, “be able to lock the doors and run around in my house nekkid.”

Guilty people don’t want to own their influence because it may mean admitting they’re screwed up.  Or worse, admitting that they may be responsible for swaying somebody else’s bad choices.  Or even worse than that, it may mean re-PENT-ing of whatever made them feel guilty in the first place.

Lazy people don’t want to own their influence because they are naturally allergic to words like “steadfast,” “immovable,” and “work.”  Truth is, it makes them uncomfortable or critical when other people are as lazy as they are.

Discouraged or shamed people don’t want to own their influence because they don’t believe they have any.  Slow down for this one.  In this case, it’s not that you’re trying to avoid influence – it’s that you sincerely believe you have nothing to offer.

Haunted by regrets and wasted opportunities, dogged by repeated disappointments and setbacks, and lied to by a vain world and a scheming enemy, the temptation is to surrender to the curse of futility:  “You’re a nobody.  You’re nothing.  You’re a forgotten, washed-up has-been.”

And that’s a lie.  There are people who still look to you as one of their primary examples.  Your influence, in ways you can’t even see, is multiplying.  And as Craig Groeschel said in the conference Thursday, “God values maturity – if you’re not dead, you’re not done.”

Help us!

As the title suggests, I want to be able tell you to rise up and seize your leadership destiny and wear it tall and proud.  I want to give you a swift kick in your ifs, ands, or buts and go all ninja on all your excuses.  I want to find the magic words to soothe your shame-filled, discouraged heart and convince you that your life has breathtaking impact.

And maybe somewhere all that has its place.  ‘Cept maybe that ninja part.

Anyway, the point is that Doug’s prayer began with a plea for help.

From God.

See, you can’t own your influence on your own because you aren’t your own owner.

You with me?

Your life isn’t your own if you are a follower of Christ.  He bought it.  He owns your life, your career, your calling, your gifts and yes, your reach.  And he owns all the power necessary for you to own your influence.  Now He ever lives to intercede for you as you draw near to Him and ask for His help.  The fact that you are an influence is already settled.  You’re just gonna need some supernatural help to fully embrace that fact.

You may not know who all is listening when you speak.  You may now be aware of who’s following your choices, attitudes, or pathways.  You may not know until you see Christ how many people chose not to give up because you didn’t, how many people chose to trust Christ because you pointed to Him, or how many people gave form to their dreams because you gave them wings.

Maybe you’re not supposed to know it all.  What you are supposed to know is that you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  Whatever else that means, it makes you a change agent.  And you are being used by God to change the world around you.

Own your influence.

Ask God to help you.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando August 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Excellent post, Andy! I’ve shared on Facebook, so let the adventure begin!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post .."Help Me If You Can, I’m Feeling Down . . ."

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