I was reading an article by Rabbi Jonathan Sachs regarding the difference between power and influence recently; I was profoundly impacted by what I read, and would like to share the thought with you in my own words.
Power is a ‘zero sum’ concept, in that if I give some up, I thereby have less. It is also forced on others and creates jealously and envy, and so many seek to dethrone us from power– even if it’s a great ball player, someone is always trying to be better, or take the throne of a politician, king, etc. These are all positions of power, and when one loses power, someone else is gaining power, and vice versa. Power isn’t lasting, and for the most part, we don’t look up to people with power, and even when we do, it’s typically not for their power.
Influence– on the other hand– is a multiplier. When I influence you, I carry my belief, and you carry the belief as well, and then you can teach it to others. Additionally, the more we influence, the more it grows, and the knowledge then becomes everlasting.
The real question for me at least, is how do I come from a place where I seek to influence rather than wield power– especially in my most important role– which is that of a parent? I pose this question to you, and would love to know how you do it.
Hands down– parenting has got to be the hardest job we can do. We don’t have any guide book, and no matter what we do, and no matter how hard we try, we inevitably all make mistakes.
I think the single most important thing I can do to influence my children is to listen, and to pay attention, and to let them know that they are important to me. I find that both in general, and specifically with my children, if I value what they say, they will listen and value what I say. It is only when I impose my beliefs without explanation or freedom of discussion that I am destined to fail.
This week, let’s pay attention to each other, let’s listen, and let’s show others that we value them and that they matter. I promise you: you will see that people will be so much more interested in what you are sharing if you show them that what they are sharing is valuable to you as well.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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