Influence – What does it mean to you?

As many of you know, I usually reserve Wednesdays to highlight women of influence, but this week I would like to hear from you on the subject.

I recently read Stephen R. Covey’s definition of influence:

“The real beginning of influence comes as others sense you are being influenced by them – when they feel understood by you – that you have listened deeply and sincerely, and that you are open.

I love this description.  It’s really saying that influence is about putting others first… sincerely listening to them – as a result of that attitude you earn influence.

So, who do you know that does this well?  Who needs to be highlighted as a person of influence?

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  • pollyh June 12, 2008  

    Thank you–all the guys from TN. who have reached out. You’ve answered all sorts of questions, including the dumb ones, you’ve listened, and you have all earned respect and an attitutde of appreciation. Thank you for the laughter and the tears. The dumb jokes, the calling me “stupid” and the arguments about Payton Manning and his entourage. (GI, you can’t win this one), but most of all for just being who you are. Transparent.

  • fullofboys June 12, 2008  

    Besides you? 🙂 I can think of a few people. Eve is one, always ready to listen and give wisdom. I also think Ashley W is up there, too. She is so kind and willing to do the extra mile for others. Someone maybe not at the top of your list would be Michelle P from the CP Dickson Campus. I think there are several women who really respect her. She has a husband who gives so much on Sundays (and she does too) and she never complains, always smiles. Sometimes I think we need to look past ‘leadership positions’ to find those that are truly influencing us!

  • Jan Owen June 12, 2008  

    I am always attracted to a person who genuinely listens to me, takes me seriously and in doing so helps me work out what God is calling me to do. Just talking AT me gives me information, but interacting with me helps me move forward in a much more concrete way. There is something powerful about being listened to – it affirms you in the deepest part of your heart.

    I have three people to nominate for their influence in my life:
    1) Sibyl Towner – Director of Mentoring at Willowcreek. She has patiently listened to my story (which has been ugly at times) and helped me discern what God is speaking to my heart. She has encouraged me to take the “next steps” that are on my heart and opened doors for me that I could have never opened on my own. She cares about me and truly has had no reason to do so, she is just a godly woman who has learned to love me. She celebrates each small step of victory in my healing as well, which has been touching to me.

    2) Ruth Haley Barton – her books are phenomenal and her retreat leadership is even more so. I came to her retreats a truly broken person, having gone through the fire in more ways than one. She was patient with me and took my pain seriously, and has also listened to my suggestions and journey with an open heart.

    3) Gilbert Bilezekian (okay, I know he’s not a woman) – but he has encouraged women across the globe! (author of “Beyond Sex Roles”) Sibyl (mentioned above) introduced us via email and I am so excited to be meeting with Dr. B in July to discuss different things on my heart, questions I have and what I feel God is calling me to do. I was floored that he not only agreed to meet with me, but seemed pleased to do so and genuinely interested in what God is leading me to do.

    All of these people have influenced my life in dramatic ways in the past two years particularly.

  • Holly Black June 12, 2008  

    The best listener and encourager I know is Eve Annuziato. She uses reflective listening skills well and asks probing questions that make you feel important and understood. Thanks for asking this question Jenni! I am glad to have a venue to celebrate my friend Eve because she is truly awesome!

  • June 12, 2008  

    My great friend and recent promotion to pastor at our church: Kate Groneman…Kate is so full of the holy spirit and constantly pushes me to make sure my heart is right in every situation. She lets me talk and talk and then gives me amazing Godly advice. I recently posted an email of encouragement she sent me on my blog. It’s amazing!

  • Lori K June 12, 2008  

    We are so blessed at CP to have MANY awesome women of influence. I think it would take me too long to name them all so let me just say that I am loving our church and the leadership displayed by so many women!

  • tam June 12, 2008  

    i love reading cross pointers blogs! you all have such a great love for your staff and attenders. it truly is a family. i love that!!!

    k… i have several women of influence in my life and all of them are blogging friends. and too many to name. they are directly responsible for much of my recent growth. and i am forever grateful for their friendship!