You’re more influential than you think!

I had the opportunity to share my favorite leadership lesson with a small group recently. Not only is it my favorite lesson….it’s been the most valuable.

I was in my 20s when I read John Maxwell’s book “Developing the Leader Within You”. The most important words of that entire book for me were these:

Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted person will influence 10,000 people in his or her lifetime.

I was astounded. To think that I would impact 10,000 or more people in my lifetime was amazing. And humbling.

I still have the copy of the book I read twenty something years ago. The 10,000 statistic is a pre-social media number. It’s not a stretch to guess that the most introverted person will impact an exponentially greater number of people in his or her life……50,000. Maybe even 100,000 with Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and all the other ways of connecting with others.

The statistic might have changed but the main point of John Maxwell’s book is a timeless truth: At its most basic, leadership is influence.

I know God used that truth to inspire the way I live my life. That’s why I’m so passionate about Living Like it Matters.

Jesus said Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16  light-bulb-1246043_1920

We’re mistaken if we think our influence only happens when we’re speaking in front of a crowd or leading a team or managing employees.

Part of the thousands we touch are the people we meet day in and day out. In the grocery store, at the bank, in the park and at the drive-thrus.

Part of your thousands is the tired unnamed waitress that served you lunch on Sunday. It could be a young man in your daughter’s class struggling with his identity or the homeless couple sitting on the curb near the mall you drive past each day. The flustered cashier ringing up your medicine at the pharmacy or the UPS delivery guy.

Do I see them? Do I smile and connect with these that come across my path? Do I ignore them or dismiss them? Or think they’re less than?

Our influence reaches even to those that are watching us from a distance. How we live matters. Our attitude and actions toward others. How we work and play and love and give. It matters.

I’ve missed too many opportunities to be light or to speak life-giving words or to simply smile and acknowledge the person beside me.

I don’t want to miss any more…..I have thousands of lives to impact.

So do you.

Live like it matters.


For the next several weeks I’m going to post ideas on how we can Live Like It Matters. I began my Live Like It Matters challenge 2 years ago on this blog. Some of the challenges will be new ideas and some will be reposts of past challenges. Either way I know I can use the reminder to live like it matters. Maybe you can too.



Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity. Proverbs 20:28

If you do a Google search on leadership, millions of pages of information are available. Information about leadership styles, stories of great leaders, tests to determine what kind of leader you are, leadership quotes, how to become a better leader, TED talks on YouTube, and on and on and on. A seemingly endless amount of knowledge about leadership.

I can find the information I need to support whatever kind of leader I want to be. I can be a purpose driven leader or a values driven leader, a vision driven leader and even an energy driven leader. I can be a “get it done now, whatever It takes” kind of leader. I can be the kind of leader that is separated from her followers or one that is in close relationship with them. There are books available that will recommend and even praise any leadership style I choose. I know because I have some of those books.

I definitely want to be the best leader I can be. Who doesn’t? But instead of trying to sort through and decipher all of the conflicting information about leadership, I am going to follow the One I trust wholeheartedly and who wants me to experience life abundantly.

Jesus’ answer to the question of how to be a great leader is found in Matthew 22:37-39. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Jesus meant this for our home life, our school life, our play life, and our work life. His words are meant to be followed in every part of our lives. The business world and the church world. Whether you work at a construction company or a church. Whether you’re a mom at home, a pastor, a waitress, a bricklayer, an artist, or an engineer. Single, married, young, or old.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People were summarized by Jesus two thousand years ago.

…..it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. Romans 12:3 (MSG)