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Strive to have an influence, not to simply be an “influencer.”

In today’s market, the word influencer gets thrown around a lot – either from the individual/consumer side or with a business. There seems to be this societal pressure to gain more exposure, and unfortunately it appears that many are foregoing their true selves to reach some coveted label of “influencer.” Personally, I HATE IT, and I am going to do my best to help others go against the grain and reach after what is more important to our world -- having a positive IMPACT in the community and on the digital platforms that intertwine our lives.

Impact vs. Influence

Below are the definitions of the two words I am analyzing: im·pact ˈimˌpakt/noun
  1. the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.
  in·flu·ence ˈinflo͝oəns/noun
  1. the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
  Why do I like impact better? Easy. It’s an action.  Meaning people actually have to go out into the public and physically connect and help people other than themselves. It’s also more tangible and easily distinguished. If you volunteer in your community, your actions are having an immediate positive impact on the ones you are helping. However, if you go around fighting with people, verbally abusing, or whatever other negative actions you can think of, people will see the negative impact you are making, immediately, right then and there. On the other hand, if you read the definition of influence, “capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something…” it sounds kind of deceiving right? How do we judge whether the “effects” are positive or negative for those surrounded by it? How do we trust it is real?

The "influencers" before social media

Think back to days before social media. The leaders of that time were making an immediate impact by actually TOUCHING LIVES. They were going out in the community, making positive change, and leaving their mark on this world. Today, being an “influencer” or “leader” should not just be accepting a free product and sharing that with followers. From the outside it seems many seek free products and services to become an "influencer." Rather, I'd like to inspire others to seek to make a positive impact or “influence” by using this tool to connect with like-minded people in different communities. With these connections we can then execute ideas and provide value – whether it’s a conversation, a few answered questions, shared knowledge, a coffee chat, or a meet-up at a community event. Sadly, in today’s world we are teaching our youth to be “influenced” by people who have not necessarily lived a life full of positive IMPACT. The digital world allows for a lot of spotlight on people who may be one thing on the screen, but completely different off of it. I’m here to be transparent, authentic, raw, and 100% genuine – I’ll share the good, the bad, the struggles, and the strengths because that’s what connects with people. I’ll go above and beyond for others even if it only makes the slightest positive impact on their day. What will you do?

To THRIVE this week:

  • If you consider yourself to be an “influencer,” ask yourself if you’re 100% authentic and providing true value to your community. If not, ADJUST.
  • If you have no intentions of being an “influencer,” but still find yourself following other accounts for inspiration, question who you’re following. Your time is too valuable to be spent watching.
Join me if you’re in agreement with this argument – it’s going to take a village to bring back reality.