This is an excerpt from my book ‘How To Become An Influencer’.
Read the full book (you can get it free on this website) to get exercises that will help you understand your own level of influence and take your first steps to make some improvements…
Taking care of yourself is really important. If you don’t, you won’t be an effective
influencer, especially in the long term. If you care about being an influencer you need
to realise that you need to care about yourself. You are your own ticket to the life you
want, so you need to take this seriously.
Fit and healthy mind- you need to take the time to rest your mind and take some
time off from the online world. Make sure that you take some time away from your
general routines to be able to be strategic and just to give your brain a rest. Try
meditation and mindfulness. Find whatever takes away your stress, from walking
through the forest to a night out at the cinema.
Fit and healthy body- exercise and a good diet matter. Although it may be important
to build exercise time into your weekly schedule to make sure that you get enough of
it, the reality is that it is something that ideally wouldn’t be a break from your routine
but part of it. You might like to work on your posture at your desk, or get a standing
desk. Perhaps some of your meetings can be ‘walking meetings’ where you meet up
with the person and have a discussion as you walk along. Used properly this can
also be a way to be more productive. Imagine for example that you have a packed
schedule one day but a gap between meetings (held in different parts of your city) of
an hour. If there is someone who has wanted to meet with you for a while, perhaps
you can walk with them and chat as you move between the meetings. It will be good
for their health too!
Time for your spiritual side- whatever your personal beliefs, it is good to leave
yourself time to be able to think deeply about the world. We all need time to consider
the world beyond the immediacy of our own situation.
Self-esteem- what are the things that you need to do to build and maintain your selfesteem?
We all have setbacks and things that knock our confidence. It could take
anything to keep you personally on track, but it could be as simple as having a chat
with someone who values you or to be around friends who value you for you rather
than your role in a company or your status in society.
Time to think and plan- make sure that your day isn’t totally taken up with meetings
and ‘being busy’. You need and deserve time that is just for you and the things you
want to focus on. Without good plans you can’t be an effective influencer. Block out
time in your diary to make sure that you have space for the things you need- not just
things that other people want to fill it with.
While influence is all about other people, taking the time to look after yourself is
crucially important, otherwise you won’t be able to do anything else.
O- Own (What You Do)
Having trust and integrity go such a long way when you are trying to influence other
You need to walk your talk- you have to do what you advise others to do- or if not,
you need to explain why or be prepared for people pointing out the inconsistency!
You need to own your mistakes. Being an influencer doesn’t mean you are infallible,
far from it. If you are really an influencer, your mistakes will be more apparent as
more people will be watching your every move. What matters is not whether you
make mistakes (if you are taking the risks you should and stretching yourself as
much as you should, you are bound to make some), but if you own them.
In the same way, you need to own your failures and learn from them. Treat failure as
a learning experience that gives you the opportunity to improve. If you aren’t failing
at least some of the time you probably aren’t moving out of your safe zone frequently
You need to own your connection to your audience- for example, it is better to have
your own website where you can represent yourself the way you want rather than
just using social media platforms you don’t control. As much as I love social media, I
try to keep aware that the owners of those platforms can change them in a way that
affects your influence negatively and there is nothing you can do about it. You need
to be able to control both the message and the delivery of the message. You might
decide to have an email list- complemented by a lead magnet (such as a free guide)
that encourages people to sign up- to form a regular way of keeping in touch with
‘Trust is the conduit for influence; it’s the medium through which ideas travel’ Amy
U- Uncover (Who you are really)
To be an effective influencer, there are a lot of things that you need to learn about
What you want to do with your life
Who you are really
Why you need to grow your influence to get there.
You need self-knowledge about who you really are and what you stand for. What
makes you tick? What is your authentic self, do you know? Of course, there is an
argument to be made that we don’t have one, stable ‘self’ throughout our lives. What
I am really talking about here is trying to strip back the things that your upbringing,
your culture and your current situation are imposing on you. Underneath, what do
you really feel and what do you want to do? Try not to worry about what you ‘should’
Self-mastery is the next step. It is one thing to know what you are like. It is another to
have plans to try to be the best version of yourself. Suppose for example that you
decide that your genuine self is lazy. Are there ways that you can change this or to
work with the knowledge that you are lazy to make sure that it doesn’t hold you back
from your dreams?
Once you have worked out your values you need to stick to them as much as
possible (while at the same time leaving yourself open to the possibility that your
values may change over time). Also, you should challenge your values to see if they
stand up to scrutiny. One of the easiest ways to do this is to meet a diverse range of
people who have different values from yours and really listen to them. It is a great
opportunity to practice your listening skills, a key way (as mentioned earlier) to be an
As you uncover who you are, you need to let some of the real you to be publicly
accessible- be vulnerable. If people don’t get to know you why would they let you
influence them? It is not that you need to share every single thing about yourself but
you need people to feel that you are a real person with brilliant aspects and flaws. In
this book I’ve shared a few of my flaws and the things I find hard, with you. This is
very much a journey we are taking together!
You need to be ambitious, however modest your ambitions are- ambition here just
means going after what you want, with full commitment. Maybe, for example, you
decide that a career isn’t important to you but that you want to create a regular
income so that you can spend time doing the things that bring you pleasure (but no
money) in life. That is a legitimate ambition! Not everyone wants to be CEO of the
The concept of ‘flow’ in your work is something that really matters. For this you need
to look at the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is when you are so absorbed by
doing something, that nothing else seems to matter. Try to find work that allows you
to experience flow- it is magical. I’ve experienced it when working on The Influence
Expert, a wonderful signal that I’m on the right track.
You need to have people who inspire you, but try not to compare yourself too much.
Aside from people with iron confidence- or narcissists, most people compare
themselves to other people in a negative way. We need to remember that we are not
privy to the internal dialogues that happen in other people’s heads. That person who
we find arrogant may be trying to cover up crippling self-doubt. Unless we get to
know them really well, we will have no way of telling. Allow the work of others to
educate you and show you what can be achieved but focus on following your own
Importantly, you need to value yourself for others to value you. You don’t have to
love every aspect of yourself, but do try to realise and keep in mind your positive
You need to try to be the real version of yourself as much as you can.
This includes facing your fears head on. The real version of you isn’t good at
everything and the real version of you finds some things scary. I’ve always been a
confident person. I was the first to put my hand up in class, the first to stand up and
make a speech. Even so for some reason I hated drama lessons. I would still rather
make a speech in front of a million people than act in front of two people. In fact, I’d
love to speak in front of a million people- any offers, get in touch! Luckily, I don’t
have to confront my fear of drama very often but I have still put myself in situations in
the past where I tested my fear and I try not to let it dictate choices I make too much.
If you want to be real, you need to think about what feels right to you- don’t just do
things because other people are doing them. Beware oversharing (for example on
social media) just because other people are doing it- find a balance that works for
you. There is a pressure in the modern world for people to share everything, but you
certainly don’t have to and people will respect it if you don’t.
Another aspect of being real is trying to get away from being a perfectionist- no-one
can be perfect. Put things into action without overthinking or taking too long in the
planning phase. Of course you want your work to be of high quality but if you don’t
take the plunge and put things out there you will miss out on a lot of opportunities.
Trust your instincts- sometimes the analysis can come later.
An important aspect of being real is to do what you say you are going to. You can
change your plans but if you do, try to explain that to other people. Don’t leave
people confused for too long about your intentions or your actions.
If you are being real, sometimes you will get criticism. This is inevitable and shows
that you are being brave- not everyone will react well to everything that you do. As it
is inevitable, think about how you will react to it before it happens.
If you are being real, you will stick to your own values and not allow people to push
you in directions that don’t match up with who you are and what you believe in.
Essentially you will be resisting the influence of others that, intentionally or
otherwise, doesn’t serve you and the person you are.
Make sure that being authentic doesn’t mean that you are rude! Consider other
people in everything that you do.
Also, understand that your ‘authentic self’ will evolve over time and can be hard to
pin down sometimes. Questioning who you really are will help you to gain deep
understanding about how you want to relate to the world and to interact with other
S- Same (in different areas of your life)
‘Same’ here doesn’t mean that you will be exactly the same all the time, of course
you will be a slightly different person with those you feel most comfortable with.
Same means trying not to be so radically different in different areas of your life that
people find it hard to trust you.
It also means being consistent in your message and way of acting so that people
know what they can expect from you and what you stand for. What are the things
you want to be consistent about? What are you prepared to vary?
Same is also a reminder to treat everyone the same- with respect. Note this does not
mean that you will be exactly the same with everyone. Some people will be ‘your
sort’ of people, you will naturally get on with them and have a lot in common with
them. But if you are only nice to some people and especially if you are only nice to
people you think will be able to help you (like important influencers) you will be found
out. My first job in the charity sector was for a charity that supported vulnerable older
people on low incomes. When I went in for my interview, I was greeted by a
volunteer in his mid 80s. I enjoyed chatting to him and when I ended up getting a job
I was told that the volunteer had spoken to my new boss about my pleasant manner.
This was pretty important, as it would have been strange if in my interview I had
spoken about my passion for supporting older people but faced with an actual older
person had shown that I didn’t care! As for the volunteer, (who I later found out had
actually been a beneficiary of the charity in the past) he ended up becoming a great