Who Influences the Influencer?

My accent is very uncharacteristic neutral. American, yes, but different from where I’m from.

I grew up in the south, where the southern drawl is so thick you need a machete to cut your way through it. My parents have it. Their parents definitely had some twang going on. But for me, not so much. My best guess why I don’t is TV and film. Growing up with 90s cartoons, and a world slowly coming online gives you a broader perspective of what people sound like across the world.

I was also constantly mimicking voices, so unconsciously I noticed that how people speak is a skill and aesthetics that can be changed.

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of “influence”. Not influencers, per se, but how we pick up values, personality traits, interests, and lifestyles from people we surround ourselves with.

Do you really like punk rock? Or do you like it because a cool friend from middle school liked it? Does it matter?

Do you really dislike country music or are you just rebelling against your parents?

Does it matter where our influences come from?

It’s a big question to ask, with lots of nuances.

My answer right now is—

Mostly. Absolutely. Probably. Definitely.

I have an old friend who’s never like reading. Ever since I’ve known him, I’ve never heard him talk about a book he’s liked. In school, he would read a book from cover to cover—meaning the front cover and the back cover and nothing in between. I get it, he’s a people guy. He’d rather have a conversation or watch a show then read. And school reading assignments obviously left a bad taste in his mouth. But I love reading! Half of what I know is from books. I can’t imagine who I would be if I wasn’t voraciously passionate about books.

Small things can influence us in a big way. Little decisions that set us on a certain path. It doesn’t take much to push us down a path that leads us to places we don’t want to be. And on the other hand, a random whim or chance encounters can lead to open doors and wonderful opportunities. Friend of a kind of situation. Stumbling into someone at a coffee shop or bar that leads to your life calling. Or—just leads to your next oat milk latte.

There’s certainly a heavy sprinkle of chance when it comes to influencing.

However, that doesn’t me we are helpless to its power.

Instead of thinking of ourselves like a leaf on the wind, aimlessly spinning around, following wherever the wind takes us, think of it like you’re an origami paper airplane. You can cut, follow, and weave through the wind. You can change yourself, and therefore have a hand in where you’re going.

Not the best analogy, but you get the idea.

It comes down to willingness.

Be open to change and possibility. Try things before you judge them or write them off. Curate your influences. Surround yourself with a higher quality of influences. And examine and question why you do what you do.

Are you making a decision out of curiosity or good admirations, or are you doing it everyone around you is?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1145

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Becoming a Thought Leader

Have you noticed the butt-load of people out there trying to build their personal brand without actually living what they’re saying?

I don’t think it’s possible to be great influencer without doing what you are preaching. (I’m telling myself this more than anyone else)

Are you trying to be your own version of GaryVee? How about Seth Godin, Sophia Amoruso, or Tim Ferriss?

Well, then you better d🙉mn well be creating your own business and doing the work.            

Love or hate his in-your-face personality, GaryVee’s created a $100+ million dollar agency. And that speaks volume. In fact, he’s said so himself — his highly successful personal brand is his side-business.

Without the practice behind the preaching, it’s all icing and no cake. (The first bite is amazing but immediately downhill from there)

I can self-help you all day, but if my strategies don’t work for my own life, how could I possibly think they would work for yours?
Arrogance is not confidence.

How can we teach business without having a successful business of our own? (Or even a failed business of lessons learned?)

How can we teach anything without the experience to back it up?

If you want to be a thought leader like I do, you can’t just say it — you’ve got to live it.

Q: How are you living it?

Thought leadership requires practicing what you preach.

(And I think you have to have a balance of both practicing and preaching)

I can see three approaches to becoming a thought leader (two good, one bad): 

  1.  Preach what your learning
  2.  Preach what you’ve learned
  3.  Preach what you’ve heard.

The first two require incredible amounts of energy and thought, but are well worth it by the amount of influence, connections, and success you will create.

The last might get you a following, but it won’t be real. Your following will only consist of other shhmoe’s trying to do the same thing. (#followforfollow)

I don’t label myself as a Renaissance Man, instead, I see my mission as becoming a Renaissance Man — there’s a big difference.

One says I’m there. I’ve made it. I’ve got nothing left to learn. (closed-minded and destined for mediocrity.)

The other says this is a lifelong journey. It’s not about becoming the dream, it’s living towards the dream.

Remember: If you want to be a thought leader, go out there and live.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner



An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching

— Gandhi

We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.

— Joseph Campbell