Since I first started my journey as a professional keynote speaker, trainer and coach, my vision has always been to help people do work they're absolutely passion about. In a perfect world, I would have everyone turning their passion into their profession.
As I've grown in that journey, I've come to realize that my vision may be a tad selfish in that I want everyone to want what I want. But not everyone wants to work for him or herself, take the entrepreneurial path or make a living doing what they like to do on the weekends.
Most people are content with their 9 to 5, would be completely satisfied in their dream job, and like to leave their bliss at the door until quitting time.
Many people have dreams, goals and aspirations outside of their professional situation. They like to golf, hunt, fish, fund raise, build houses for the less fortunate, and volunteer to feed the homeless.
I've had to learn that, whatever a person dreams of becoming, doing, contributing or having is their dream, and it's more than okay. Even is it doesn't resemble my vision.
That being said, my greatest epiphany to date is that, no matter to what a person aspires, influence is the key to enabling their impact on the world.
Without the skills necessary to influence and move people to action, the greatest of dreams goals and visions die on the vine.
I refer to one of my mentors, John C. Maxwell, who pointed out two fundamental truths that we all stand to embrace:
1. "Everything rises and falls with leadership."
2. "Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less."
When influence others, we do so by adding value to their lives. That means understanding what they value, what they dream of, hope for, aspire to, and then helping them to get closer to that ideal by serving them.
The ability to "influence" others in such a way depends not only on our talents, skills, experiences and abilities, but also on the soft skills we so often minimize and ignore in our efforts to make an impact.
Without the ability to lead, communicate, listen, negotiate and present our ideas to others, we limit the influence, and therefor impact, that we can have on the lives of others.
Influence enables impact. Impact empowers the lives and dreams of others.