All of us influence someone. We may not be leaders, but we are in leadership. We may not be powerful but we have power. We may not have responsibility but we are responsible. An old adage* states, “No man is an island.” Even those people living the most isolated of lifestyles have influenced someone, are influencing someone or will influence someone. You cannot be human and not influence someone or something in your world.
Do you know the power of your personal accountability and the influence you have on the world around you?
As parents, we influence our children. Early childhood experts tell us that a child’s personality is fixed by the age of 5 years old, and in those early preschool years, children lay the foundations for everything they will need to learn for the rest of their lives. As they watch their parents or other significant adults in their lives, they learn as we teach them values, morals and the behaviours they see portrayed in us. We influence our children in more ways than we sometimes understand.
As members of a work team, we influence the people we work with every day, even if we do not have leadership responsibility over them. As we interact and work with our colleagues, we challenge work ethics and habits. We help colleagues learn new ways of doing their jobs, and to approach time management in a new way. Our influence can help create a harmonious and happy working environment but a lack of team focus by any member or members of a workplace can create an environment of hostility and jealousy that reduces productivity and decreases job satisfaction
When we realise the influence we consciously or subconsciously have over other people, we are more willing to accept personal responsibility for our actions and reactions to particular circumstances and situations. It challenges us to consider others needs and the consequence of our actions and words.
There are however those who live with a very self-focused view. This attitude is characterised in advertisements on television that suggest we have every right to focus on our personal rights and to indulge our dreams and desires. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this attitude unless in the process we forget we are not an island and what we do will always influence others. We lead others by example.
What do you think? Do you agree with the above? Let us know in the comments! 👍🏻
*English poet John Donne, writing in the 17th century, famously wrote that “no man is an island,” comparing people to countries, and arguing for the interconnectedness of all people with “God”.
In the book, No Man Is an Island, religious scholar and theologian Thomas Merton writes sixteen essays delving into aspects of human spirituality. If you’d like to check out this book, it’s linked here (please note, this is an affiliate link – refer to our disclaimer for further details).