Pay attention to the influencers around you and how you can benefit most from them
Many of us spend a lot of our time sleepwalking through life, just cruising on autopilot. We might do it fast, or we might do it slow, but often we are sleepwalking. The good news is that there is an awful lot we can accomplish on autopilot, and it can be an efficient way to conserve energy. The bad news is that autopilot can cause us to miss important opportunities to change our fortunes. Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman in his 2012 bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow talked about how our slow-thinking, logical and rational brain likes to conserve energy and, as a result, our fast-thinking, responding brain often takes over. The problem with the fast-thinking part of our brain is that it tends to put less thought into piloting our lives, hence the autopilot. Many of us just go with the flow and do not stop to think or rethink with enough depth. Kahneman even referenced a term he called WYSIATI (what you see is all there is) to describe the fast-thinking tendencies. When it comes to being able to benefit from the sometimes valuable and powerful influencers we have in our lives, we often stay on autopilot, and that can cost us in the long run.
Stop and Think
Most of us logically understand that we are influenced every day by myriad factors, both consciously and unconsciously. We also understand there are many influencers in our lives, including people, places, opportunities and even things. You are influenced by your genetic, physiological and neural makeup; the events that surround you; your education; travel experiences; and more, each of which has provided you with exposure to different people, places and things or not provided you with this exposure. Each day influencers, by their very definition, can be contributors to your success or to your failure, but how often have you given them the depth of thought they deserve? If you really stop to think about it, you may realize that you generally have failed to consider the profound implications of following influencers that offer little or no value and missing those that may offer more. That is why I wanted to write about this topic and suggest that you should stop and think about how you could better leverage influencers for success.
- When we talk about influencers, we often talk about three types: the silent, the active and the unexpected.
The silent influencers are those whose effect you have to detect, determine or request. Consider the mentor you turn to for advice directly by asking or indirectly by thinking about their influence. Silent influencers can lift you up or bring you down. And if you are on autopilot, you face the possibility of missing or even misinterpreting the ones who can benefit you the most.
- The active influencers are those who take an engaged role in providing influence. They may encourage you, or possibly discourage you, provide you with information, contributions and more. Consider the influence of things, such as a new bike you love to ride, or people, such as the partner who constantly offers great ideas. Sometimes, however, because of their constant, frequent and even loud volume, you can tune out an active influencer and miss out on their value, if you are not careful.
- The unexpected influencers are those you sometimes crash into and often fail to recognize. Yet, these are the influencers who provide the best opportunities for awareness, innovation and change. These are the easiest to miss, if you are not looking, because they often come from unexpected sources and at unexpected times.
About the author
Tara Orchard is a coach, trainer, consultant and writer who applies her insights into people and Masters training in psychology to facilitate performance improvements, relationships and communication for people and businesses. She has worked with organizations to deliver clarity on culture and brand, develop their people and manage relationships with social network communities. Over the past 18 years she has consulted with 1000's of people who want to make effective transitions in their lives. Tara has a knack for hearing what people are thinking and helping them see what they need to see. She is the founder of her own career and social network coaching business, works with several other organizations as a coach and consultant and is about to complete her first book on the "psychology of effective social networking". Tara invites you to connect with her on LinkedIn .LinkedIn