Knowledge is not power.
You may know everything, but without influence you can’t do anything.
If knowledge were enough then all you would need to do to raise perfect children would be to watch a video on parenting, reading a business book would be all you need to run a successful business, and attending a conference on personal development would grant you a perfect life.
How many CEOs have read the latest and greatest book on how to run a business, told everyone in their company to read it, and then were surprised when nothing changed? (I’ve done this a hundred times so trust me, it doesn’t work.) The know-how is right there, the formula is laid out, it’s easy to follow, but…
Influence is how great leaders:
- Attract top talent to build world-class teams
- Motivate their teams to dream big and execute
- Build powerful brands
- Generate new revenue
- Create sustainable growth
In 1999, I started a marketing agency called MWI.
For seven years, I rode a rollercoaster of profit and loss until I was buried under a mountain of debt. In addition, I hadn’t paid myself a dime in four years.
My wife and I lived in a studio apartment above a garage and shared a small car with no air conditioning.
I worked 100-hour weeks, often slept on the office floor, ditched family events to get work done, and ignored important relationships.
My health also suffered. I weighed 239 lbs, about 70 lbs more than I should. I couldn’t walk up a single flight of stairs without wheezing for five minutes afterward.
I was unhealthy, broke, and miserable.
I also had no idea what to do.
I couldn’t afford to quit, but I also couldn’t afford to keep living like this. Something had to change.
A Turning Point
I knew I needed to fix my business, but I had read all the books, and they failed me. Or rather, they weren’t enough. I recognized that my team wasn’t the problem, I was. I needed to fix myself. But again, how? Where to start? There was only one thing I could think of–I could go to the gym, start exercising, and get in shape.
It was the beginning of 2007 when I started to lift weights. A few months later, I had a crazy idea…what if I started doing triathlons? This was extra-crazy for me, because I had never run over a mile in my life.
One year after I started to exercise, I had raced in two short triathlons, run a half-marathon, and was training for my first half-Ironman. I lost 60 lbs, ran a marathon, then ran another. I got into trail running and ultra-marathons. My longest run to date was a 14-hour, 70K (43.5 miles) over three mountain peaks.
While I was on my journey to improved health, something else interesting happened. I learned when you achieve excellence in one area of your life, it pulls up other areas of your life. Almost like magic, as I got fit I saw my relationships improve, I made better business decisions, and I was able to start paying myself and pay off large amounts of debt at the same time.
I successfully influenced myself, and by 2012, my life had improved dramatically, both personally and professionally. However, I wasn’t satisfied.
My agency was doing well, but it was still a small, local business, rather than the international agency I dreamed of when I started it.
I began to look for a partner, someone to share my vision of what my business could become and who would work with me to make it reality.
After a year of searching, I found the partner I was looking for, and something else happened that would change my life forever.
In 2013, I was invited to contribute articles to Forbes.
I had blogged for years before, published a few articles in small business publications, and even got an article in Fast Company, but writing a regular column for Forbes took things to a new level.
As I wrote, I earned attention, then respect, and finally trust. But it wasn’t just me, because as my personal brand grew it rubbed off on the business.
Over the next few years I would trace more than $10M in revenue to the articles I wrote for Forbes and we opened offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and across the US. Even though I stopped writing for Forbes in 2016, those articles continue to generate leads.
My work with Forbes opened the door to other writing opportunities, and I eventually published over 300 articles in more than two dozen publications like Time, Fortune, Inc., Mashable, TechCrunch, and Entrepreneur.
This exposure led to a TEDx talk, paid speaking engagements around the world, appearances on national and international TV, radio and podcast interviews, a book deal, and an engaged social media following. I was even invited to spend a week with Richard Branson on his private island.
I first learned to influence myself, then I learned how to influence others.
My experience with influence gave me a taste of what was possible, and led to lots of questions, questions like:
- Who am I?
- What do I truly value?
- What is my calling in life? Where can I make the greatest impact?
- Why are some people more influential than others?
- What can I learn from the most influential people throughout history?
I was on a quest to find a formula, a reliable, predictable system I could use to improve myself, build my business, and serve others.
Instead, I found seven systems.
The 7 Systems of Influence
SYSTEM 1: VISION
Who am I? What do I want to accomplish? What’s my big dream?
SYSTEM 2: GENIUS ZONE
Why me? What combination of knowledge, skills, and experience makes me unique?
SYSTEM 3: AUDIENCE
Who is my ideal audience? What is their dream?
SYSTEM 4: CONTENT
What’s my message? How will I deliver it? What do I want my ideal audience to do?
SYSTEM 5: ACTION
What will I do today? What are my goals, what’s my plan?
SYSTEM 6: COLLABORATION
Who will I work with to 1000x my impact?
SYSTEM 7: LOVE
Excitement, empathy, good will, and kindness.
Everyone with influence uses these systems, whether they know it or not. If you engage all the systems, you will become highly influential–thousands of years of history prove it.
Progress starts by answering three questions:
- What do you want?
- What’s in your way?
- What are you going to do about it?
The 7 Systems of Influence will help you answer all of them, and then execute your plan.
Want to learn more? Read How to Turn Your CEO Into A Thought Leader.