The #1 Ingredient Of Greater Influence

Influence Basketball

In a few weeks, my daughter will begin her 7th grade recreation basketball league.

And I will begin my first stint as a 7th grade girls recreation basketball league coach. As the “Oh-this-should-be-good” grin spreads across your face, let me tell you why I’m pretty excited about it.

Since I only have one boy and one girl, I typically refer to them as “the boy” and “the girl”. I do this mostly to protect their privacy as I broadcast their lives to the world, but, honestly, sometimes it’s hard to remember their names. Or I mix them up. Or I call one of they by the dog’s name. Parents know exactly what I’m talking about. I find it much easier and more accurate to simply call her “the girl.” I say it very affectionately, fyi.

So the girl tried out for 7th grade basketball at school and didn’t make the team. I gotta hand it to her, she took it well. Instead of disappointment, she expressed frustration that she wasn’t better at basketball. It’s really not surprising because last year she ended up with two really lame coaches for her rec league team.

When I say she had lame coaches, I mean REALLY, REALLY lame. Her coaches were two high school girls who had never played basketball and spent more time twirling their hair than running drills. Their entire coaching vocabulary consisted of yelling “HELP HER OUT!” during actual game play and “Get some water” during half-time.

I asked the girl if she wanted to play in the rec league again to build her skills for next year’s tryouts.

What’s the use?“, she replied, “The coaches are terrible.”

I paused, then in my most hopeful-and-encouraging-but-not-too-desperate voice I asked, “What if I coached you this year?” Then I quickly looked away, acting all casual, but really fearing that my face would look too eager and completely freak her out.

Really? That would be pretty cool. You’d make it fun.

My heart leapt for joy.

Moments later terror kicked my joy to the curb.

I played basketball. I understand the game and it is my favorite sport. I loved wearing my basketball jersey every game. Who else remembers those old school uniforms for sports (such as basketball)! They’ve changed so much since I last wore one. If I was going to ever coach any sport, basketball would be it. However, I don’t know the first thing about coaching basketball. And if I’m completely honest, 7th grade girls scare me.

I stepped back and reviewed what I had just committed to. Coaching anything takes time, even a 7th grade girls basketball team. You need to plan practices, learn and teach good drills, exercise unbelievable patience, and give up several hours each week to practice and play games.

My unspoken goal is to create a great basketball experience for the girl so that she will enjoy the game, stay interested, and build her skills to a level that will give her a real shot at making the team next year if she wants to try out again.

My desire is to positively influence her. And there is only one way to do that.

To positively influence the girl, I have to invest my time, my energy, and my brainpower. In short, I have to invest myself.



Tweet ThisTo influence others, you have to invest yourself.



Most people seek influence without investment. Our culture has been taught that it’s possible to achieve fame, fortune, and influence with very little work or cost. My parents would blame MTV and “the rap music” for this.

In our workplace, we think that because we have such briliant ideas that our boss, her boss, or the CEO should listen to us, adopt our ideas, and put them into practice. Yet, we haven’t invested our time, energy, or resources into proving our ideas or building relationships with the people we would like to positively influence with our brilliance.

Instead we get frustrated that “nobody listens.” My question to you is this: If you haven’t invested yourself, why should they listen to you?


1. Invest your brain. Do your homework. Know who you are trying to influence, know what makes them tick, and provide the information, product, or service that they want or need…the way they want or need it.

2. Invest your skill. Do great work. No, do excellent work. No, do the absolute best work you can possibly do. When you do that, people notice you. When people notice you, you have opened the door that leads to influence.

3. Invest your time. Think of influence like the stock market. Very few people get rich overnight. The true path to wealth in the stock market is to invest your money consistently over time and let time work it’s magic. The same goes for relationships. Who influences you the most? Very likely the people you’ve known for a long time, right? Who do you want to influence? Start building a relationship with them today and give it some time to grow.


Our most recent Rockstar Academy webinar, “How To Influence UP!, includes 45 minutes of ideas to help you understand how to get noticed by the people who matter, and how to share your ideas so they get heard and acted on.

What participants are saying about this webinar:

Just a quick note to let you know that I really enjoyed the webinar today – good stuff! I loved the nugget about being an idea funnel vs. and idea factory – big takeaway there.” — Mike Pechinak, VP, Marketing Manager for Mortgage Banking, J.P. Morgan Chase

I am excited about using some of the techniques I learned to make some presentations regarding recruiting and retention. I’ve been studying and using new recruiting software as of late, and I feel like the information presented here makes me confident enough to finally use new software.Thank you for giving me a different perspective!” — An HR Director in healthcare

CLICK HERE to access the webinar.





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