In the 21st century, wealth is no longer measured in money—not really. Rather, wealth today is measured by Influence. It is the currency of our age. Arguably, that has been the case in every century. But, now things are different. Today, extraordinary influence is no longer reserved for a privileged few—no longer the exclusive domain of the rich or well-connected. Thank God. Their monopolistic reign is over. Now, it’s your time.
Influence is no longer dictated by media moguls, political pundits, and exclusive societies. Today, influence is available to everyone who wants to positively impact lives at home, work, church, and across the global community. Your influence depends on the vitality of your message, the force of your personality, and the boldness of your imagination. But, the incalculable wealth of extraordinary influence is reserved for those with three additional masteries—the ability to listen, to love, and to lead.
Influence is Wealth
Financially wealthy individuals are different than those of us with more modest means. They think differently. The wealthiest individuals pedal influence not money. They understand that it isn’t the money that creates the power. It is the power and influence that create the money.
Those among the upper financial echelon know that true power lies in the breadth of one’s influence. For them, money is simply a byproduct of such influence. This is an important distinction because it determines one’s starting point. The wealthy focus on solidifying their base of influence—often taking on substantial “risks” to do so. The rest of us attempt to first establish a solid financial footing—only to be frustrated by the way expenses always seem to outpace the revenue.
Because influence is their starting point, the wealthiest individuals don’t think about risk like the rest of us. Rather than thinking of money as a finite resource to be conserved, the wealthiest individuals believe there is an almost inexhaustible supply. Money can be created—not with a printing press but with access to influential people, places, and things.
This quid pro quo exchange among the traditional influencers left the rest of us outside of the gate looking in—wishing, waiting, and wondering when, if ever, our time would come. When would the gatekeepers give us a shot?
The Gatekeepers’ monopoly is gone
My friend and online entrepreneur, Lamar Tyler posits in his book of the same title, “the gatekeepers are gone.” The gatekeepers are those select few who controlled access to the public by controlling whose writing gets published, whose voice is heard over the radio, and whose face appears on television.
I think it is a bit premature to suggest that the gatekeepers no longer exist. But, there is no question that their monopoly on determining if, when, and under what conditions your voice is heard is indeed history.
With a bevy of technological tools at your disposal, your extraordinary influence is effectively boundless—providing you unfettered global access to anyone interested in your voice.
With simple planning, your book can be made available to most of the world through Amazon’s CreateSpace. Your film can be viewed by tens of thousands on YouTube. Your music can be heard globally on SoundCloud.
I could go on. But, I think the point is clear. If you have something of value to share, the gatekeepers no longer control the distribution channels. You are the only gatekeeper that matters.
Do you have what it takes?
Opening Your Own Gate
Though the traditional gatekeepers no longer obstruct your path of influence, there are still major obstacles that do. That’s the bad news.
The good news, however, is that nearly all of these obstacles are in your head. It is what Steven Pressfield calls “the resistance” in his classic book, “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” (affiliate link).
The resistance tells you all of the reasons why you cannot open your own gate.
The resistance conjures fears—real and imagined—to paralyze you.
The resistance temporarily satiates your conscious by blaming extrinsic factors for intrinsic foibles.
There is only one thing blocking your gate. It’s the resistance. Only you can free yourself from its vice-like grip.
The world needs your voice. You were born all of those years ago to impact people today and tomorrow with the gifts and desires that burn within you.
Your decision to broaden the reach of your influence will positively change the trajectory of lives that you will never even meet in person. That, my friend, is power. That is wealth.
You just have to open your own gate.
I would like to suggest that each of us must have three keys to swing that gate wide open.
3 Keys to Creating Wealth in the Influence Economy
There are a number of steps to maximize how far open you can push your gate. I highly recommend downloading my free e-book “10 Proven Steps to Your Extraordinary Influence” from my website, HaroldArnold.com. This e-book gives you the tools to understand this new “influence economy”. The influence economy has its own set of rules, which you have to understand to be successful.
Once you understand the rules, there are three keys to acquire. Without all three of them you will never reach your ultimate influence. With all of them in hand, as William Shakespeare said “the world is your oyster”.
Key #1: Listen: Follow the Sound of Passion
Many individuals struggle to be influential because they are lost—unsure of their own purpose in life. For them today was like yesterday and yesterday like the day before. They expect tomorrow to be no different than today.
The first key to increasing your influence is to truly listen to the cry of your soul. For what does it long? What gives you joy and makes you come alive? This is your passion.
When you listen to the sound of your own passion it naturally leads you to others who are attracted to that same sound. There is your community or what Seth Godin coined your “tribe” in his bestseller “Tribes: We need you to lead us“.
Many people struggle to open their gate because they are distracted by other people’s passions—rather than their own. The reality is this. If you don’t follow the sound of your own passion, you will be paralyzed and disoriented in a cacophony of noise coming from everyone else.
The first key to throwing your gate wide open is to listen to your passion and let it lead you to shared experiences with others. When you discover your community, share your voice with them.
Key #2: Love: Care for Your Community
Once you find your tribe, you will feel a renewed sense of vitality. You will have this deep sense of belonging. They get you.
But, truly influencing this community requires authenticity. I love Oprah Winfrey’s quote, “I had no idea that being my authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
When you are expressing your authentic self it must be done from a posture of love. Love for yourself. Love for your shared passion. And, love for your tribe. If any of these are lacking your influence will be short-lived—without exception.
Whether in the home, workplace, worship center, or broader community, it is love for people that will always be your most valuable contribution. You’ve heard the adage “people want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.”
Show them authentic love and the wealth of influence will follow.
Key #3: Lead: A.I.M.
Leadership in the influence economy, as in all settings, is multi-faceted. I use the acrostic A.I.M as a simple mnemonic to help you remember its dimensions. This acrostic represents Amplify, Innovate, and Monetize.
Amplify the Strengths of Others
Zig Ziglar said it best. “You can get everything you want in life if you help enough others get what they want.” Leadership is not about you. It is about those you lead.
Self-interest has historically been one of the greatest gaffes of would be influencers. True leadership (at least the kind that fosters extraordinary influence) is about listening, understanding, and amplifying the passions of others. As you consistently encourage others’ gifts the magic happens. You see the influence of your own gifts getting amplified.
Innovate Your Success
In the influence economy everyone is jockeying for position—trying to outdo the other—to get a marketing edge. But, what sets you apart is your creativity. Rather than being satisfied with a regurgitation of yesterday’s success, new wealth is found at the intersection of your creativity and public need.
Because you were able to listen and follow the sound of passion, you understand the needs of your tribe—better than most. You also aren’t satisfied with the status quo. You take on the challenge to create innovative models, courses, and storylines that promote a deeper level of engagement with your tribe. Your innovation is the beacon that other follow (and emulate).
Monetize Your Message
Influence is not free. It takes money. Calculate the expenses for graphic designers, website hosting, email distribution services, audio/video hosting platforms, computing equipment, and more.
Growing influence always comes with growing expenses if you are to add maximum value to your tribe.
Many would be influencers err, to their detriment, in not thinking soon enough about the financial cost of doing business in the influence economy. In order to sustain your influence, you must find ways to offset your costs. This is done by monetizing your message—developing products which add so much value to your tribe’s lives that they are willing to purchase it from you.
To be clear, your motive is not monetization. Your motive is service. But, when you have authentically established your posture as a servant, your tribe will pay the fare of your innovation. In turn, you can increase the value of your product and service offerings.
Monetization is a win-win leadership strategy for you and your tribe.
There you have it—the three evergreen keys to your influence gateway. Wealth—relational, spiritual, and financial—are just on the other side. Now, go stake your claim. Be Influential.
What does your passion sound like? Leave me a comment and let me know. Blessings on your journey.