On Influencers and Becoming Influential
Content by Anna Fikes
Ever consider the difference between knowing someone and knowing about someone?
Take it a step further. Think about people and influence. Who influences you? What does influence mean? How are we influenced?
Who or what we allow to influence us must be a result of care, not carelessness. In a professional sense, I have been very fortunate to know people—not just know about them—who have positively influenced my mindfulness, creativity, and analytical process.
I started my career as an Executive Assistant to the CEO here at Big. This role gave me a unique and unfiltered top-down perspective of an advertising agency. Most importantly, I learned lessons of tenacity in both business and business relationships.
Now my perspective is reversed as an Account Executive. Rather than seeing top-down, I look up at the opportunities and possibilities, and I am learning the intricate, day-to-day operational aspects of an agency.
While I received a new title and a new list of responsibilities, a couple things have remained constant—my approach to professional relationships and who I allow to carry influence in my working life. The influence of my peers and colleagues helped me learn many new perspectives, including these valuable lessons.
We only have 24 hours in a day and 8 hours in a typical work day. How do I prioritize my task list? How can I conduct efficient meetings? How do I manage work and life?
In this day and age, being “busy” is celebrated. Don’t get me wrong, I love attending networking events, joining professional organizations, and getting competitive on the work softball team. But, at what cost?
Someone once talked to me about the importance of defending my calendar. Defending my calendar means being empowered to say “yes” or “no” while also remaining committed to the team and team goals.
Actively defending my calendar creates a necessary balance between personal and professional commitments. Otherwise, we end up burning the candle at both ends, and when that happens, we can’t be our best for anyone.
So many things are out of our control, but we can control how we respond. Our attitudes are a gateway to solving problems, thinking outside the box, and managing tasks and deadlines.
As it says in Big’s Operators Manual, “Any time spent focusing on how a situation or solution is impossible is time taken away from making it possible.” We all have the power to choose positivity, so let’s do it together because we are in this together.
One of my favorite quotes is written on a sticky note on my wall at work. In the words of former University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball coach Pat Summit, “It is what it is. But it will be what you make it.”
Don’t settle for doing something for the sake of doing it. Ask why, and ask again. Be intentional, thoughtful, and relentless in pursing the best ideas and best outcomes.
Big’s Operators Manual puts it this way: “We are relentless in our pursuit of the best idea, not the easiest idea, not our own idea, and not the idea we have spent the greatest time developing. We learn rapidly, eagerly, passionately, and relentlessly.”
Even when we do our best, sometimes people will be let down. Don’t make it an excuse, but recognize the reality of the situation. When we fall short, treat it as a learning example and continue the pursuit of being better.
No matter what role you play in the professional sector and beyond, there are always lessons to be learned from the people around you. If you take all this knowledge and experience to heart, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be the one influencing your peers.