I have always felt that all people have the potential to touch many lives and even change lives–one of which may be their very own. Everyday ordinary people can make a profound difference in the lives of their families, friends and even strangers. I do believe that the mark of an outstanding individual is his/her ability to make others feel special in their presence, to bring out the best in them, and to help them to truly believe in themselves, so that they can pursue their aspirations.
No contemporary person can define himself/herself with a single word. Today, we take on so many different roles in life. However, no matter what audience you are addressing or what face you are wearing in those specific roles, it is in the way you serve others that your greatness will be felt. No matter what face you are wearing in what role, the important thing to remember is that people will remember how you interacted with them and made them feel in your presence—not necessarily what you said or did.
For me, it is always reaffirming to know what other people think of me as I go about doing what I do—not required, but somewhat validating of what I believe in. I never know what people expect of me, but I try to give them what I think is the best of myself in the roles that I play. It is important to know who you are and what kind of a person you want to be in all interpersonal situations. Because in every role you are taking, you are influencing someone—whether you like that or not.
Let me share my five-step approach to becoming a person of influence:
- Have that special look …one that is visibly apparent to others that you are non-threatening, kind, welcoming and approachable to others;
- Take advantage of the magic moments in life when you can help a person in a particularly challenging situation, help to solve a problem, or simply by being nice and ‘being there’ for a person;
- Communicate to understand and to be understood. Everyone wants to be understood. Listen, listen, listen and use clear/simple language with an open heart to get shared meaning (information vs. Communication);
- Be consistent in your behaviors (actions speak louder than words) – who you are speaks so loudly. People cannot hear your words; and
- Give/provide second chances/opportunities to allow people to perform better in life. Put an SOS out there = ‘second opportunity to shine’ given here.
As individuals, we take on many roles in our lives — in our families, in the workplace, and in our communities. We assume many roles in life and we wear many faces within those roles. Each role that we take tells others how important it is to us by how well we perform in that role. Each person brings their own knowledge, skills and, experiences to the roles that they take in life.
“According to traditional Chinese thought, the most important goals to a successful life are the five happiness’s – good luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness and wealth. However, the sixth happiness – the one that encompasses all five goals and is considered the impetus to achieving all five goals resides within you. The sixth happiness is the one that you define for yourself — your passion — that which motivates you and makes you happy in life. The sixth happiness is specific to you. – no one else. It brings purpose and meaning to your life. Achieving this sixth goal is pivotal to the significance of the other five goals. All six personal goals are essential for a fulfilling life.
It must be remembered that one’s impact in life is not what is acquired, but what you leave behind – in how many lives you have touched. Your profound and lasting influence can be far-reaching and touch many lives – in particular, those that you love. You can’t take these things with you; but you certainly can leave them behind for those you love and whose lives you have touched — to make their lives much better.
We all can choose our destination — how we get from one place, one time, one goal to the next and still, it is our own personal journey to our heart that can thrill and excite us. The most challenging and fulfilling part of life’s journey, is when and how we meet the bumps along the road — the challenges, the disappointments, the unexpected surprises that perplex and sometimes vex our souls. It is those times that we can celebrate our victories and experience the exuberance of times well-spent and in the company of those that continually add life to yours.
I have found that whether people do it knowingly or not, each person plays an important role in transmitting values to future generations by helping to clarify important values and by helping to clearly express these values in ways that are relevant and meaningful to ourselves and others. As we move progressively into life, we are supposed to accumulate wisdom, not necessarily by getting older, but by reflecting on the things we learn along our personal journey of life. However, sometimes we aren’t aware of the wisdom that we have, or we are reluctant to share it, or we don’t know how to express it. As people of influence, we must try your best to share our lessons in life…so that others do not have to make the same mistakes we did or learn the important lessons you learned the hard way.
Along my own journey in life, I have been fortunate to have special people in my life that have taught me lessons that were practical and meaningful in my life:
Lionel M. Andrade – My Loving, Patient and Responsible Father – “Don’t forget where you came from, but always remember where you are going – because you will take yourself there.” This resonates with me daily. It is my measuring tool as to my personal growth and the values that were passed on to me from my early days in Pu’unene, the place that never left my heart –that special place that gave me the inspiration and strength to achieve my sixth happiness and lead a fulfilling life.
Elizabeth Danley Andrade – My Loving and Compassionate Mother. “Make friends even if you don’t need them.” This reminder made the world of difference in having the friends that I do. Every person that you meet is a unique and special person – knowing them can make your life fun, interesting and fulfilling.
Douglas Milton Wheeler – My Loving Husband and Father of Our Three Sons. “You have a story to tell. Tell it!” It is this kind of encouragement that kept me writing and sharing my thoughts and stories with others.
Dr. Edward Bernays – Father of Public Relations – “eloquence is action. Talk is cheap…it’s when you do something that it becomes eloquence. “Dr. Bernays was also the nephew of Dr. Sigmund Freud, world renown psychiatrist, scholar and founder of psychoanalysis.
Brother Ed Mulvaney – An English Teacher at St. Anthony’s Boys’ School on Maui, who wrote a masterpiece in my yearbook and left his legacy as an educator for me. His encouragement for me to go on despite any life’s setbacks that might come my way was inspiring and was like a beacon in my pursuit of my personal and professional goals.
Dr. Mike Rockers – Superintendent of Hawaii Catholic Schools – “who you are defines how you go about doing things – which makes it special and unique.” He taught me that no matter what age you are, things can be made clearer through the clarity of someone else’s goodness and vision of you.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama – The Current Spiritual Leader of Tibetan Buddhism. “if you can’t help people, don’t hurt them.” As I sat in the audience listening to this wise person, his words were so powerful in bringing about peace in the home as well as in the world.
Rell Sunn – Hawaiian Surfing Champion Surfer “Queen of Makaha, the Heart of the Sea” – “Enjoy what you like doing best!” She showed me what joy there is in the simple things in life that can make a world of difference in your own life when you know what you truly love and why.
Father Paul Zegers – Catholic Priest and my Godfather. “if you want peace, then you must be prepared for war.” He opened my eyes and mind to always being prepared for whatever task that i was doing with people.
Rosa Parks – The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement. “Your appearance may be subdued, but your actions can be wide-reaching”. In meeting her, I was overwhelmed at the quiet, petite, and humble woman before me that had made such a loud, impactful, and important change in people’s lives forever.
Chief Justice Ronald Moon – Former Chief Justice of The Hawaii Supreme Court, “public service is the debt you pay for your space on this earth. “a reminder that one must care and contribute to our communities in the roles we take and to give back to the place and everything in it, because it’s the right thing to do.
As individuals, we take on many roles in our lives. We assume many roles in life. Each role that we take tells others how important it is to us by how much time we spend in that role and how well we perform in that role. Each person brings their own skills, talents, experiences, and knowledge to the roles that they take. Always remember that the person makes the role…not the role makes the person. Titles don’t mean anything without a person of influence with the title. Assume the roles that you take seriously and be the person of influence that makes a difference in your life and the life of others.
Want to know more? Check out Dr. Wheeler’s bestselling title: