INFLUENCE…How am I impacting people around me?



“Each of us is surrounded by people who look to us, count on us, and depend on us to make a difference.” – Blaine Lee

It’s like breathing air. It’s the most personal and the most universal human experience. What am I talking about? Influence.

Every day we’re surrounded by forces trying to influence us. We breathe it in (Marketing, Media, TV, Radio, Friends, Books, Magazines, Tablets, Smartphones ), opening ourselves up to be influenced by others; and then we exhale it out (Parenting, Leading, Managing, Socializing), attempting to wield our own influence-powers. Push, pull. In, out. Give and take. We influence others and are influenced by others.

When measuring our own influence, I’ve found that most people fall into 1 of 3 categories:


We see it in others. It glares at us.  We recognize influence in others, but do we see it in ourselves? John Maxwell relates that according to some sociologists, even the most introverted person will influence 10,000 people in their lifetime.

All day today, you’re carrying around two kinds of influence: Active and Potential. Typically, people who underestimate their own influence do not value their own potential. They doubt their ability to make a difference. So, they hold back, stay in the shadows, sell themselves short. They don’t flex their influence muscles.


David and Heather Kopp, along with Larry Wilson, define an influencer as “a living person whose life and work has far-reaching impact–whether for good or ill–in today’s world”. We also refer to these people as “World-Changers”. And who doesn’t want to be considered a world-changer?

Sadly, this desire to be thought of as important and powerful leads some people to over-reach in their attempts to exert influence on others. They’re not so much confident as arrogant. They reek of ambition and sweat forcefulness out of every pore. Unfortunately, they tend to rub their nasty sweat all over everyone else around them. And it stinks!

We’ve all known people like this. Perhaps, at times, we have been people like this. I know I have. One of the best ways to discover if you’re behaving this way is simply to ask your family, friends and co-workers for feedback. Ask them:

  • Am I overbearing?
  • Do I give advice when you don’t really want me to?
  • Do I come across as too forceful?
  • Am I tactful or too direct?
  • Do you feel respected by me?
  • How do I make you feel?

Takes courage…but it’s the quickest way to learn whether you’re overestimating your own influence.


The Apostle Paul taught, “…I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.” 

What’s he saying? He’s saying properly estimate your own influence. Don’t over-reach and don’t under-reach. When you stand in front of the mirror, don’t ask it, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Just go to the mirror and be honest; be willing to see yourself as objectively as you can. Warts and all!

Then go out and activate your properly estimated influence to change the world!





There is no such thing as ‘The Ideal Leader’, but there are leaders with ideals! Ideals guide our lives like rudders direct ships. The captain chooses which way to turn the rudder (which ideals to live by) and then that rudder (ideal) steers the ship in the set direction. Our ideals are the rudders in our lives. We choose our values, then our values steer us.

While there is no such thing as ‘The Ideal Leader’, there are leaders with ideals. Socrates lived for his ideal of wisdom. The founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, lived for his ideal of “justification by faith alone”. Gandhi lived for his ideal of freedom. Martin Luther King lived for his ideal of justice. President Reagan lived for his ideal of a restored America. Billy Graham lives for his ideal of salvation in Jesus for every person in the world.

“The great men and women of history were not great because of what they earned and owned, but rather for what they gave their lives to accomplish.” – Dr. John Maxwell

So, what ideals are you living for? Perhaps when you hear the word ‘ideal’ you’re tempted to blow it off as pie-in-the-sky, ivory tower, only for dreamers kind of non-sense. You’ve heard the label ‘idealist’ thrown around as a criticism against someone and you’ve concluded that ideals just aren’t practical. “There’s the ideal” you say, “and then there’s the real.”

We all have to deal with the gap between what’s real and what’s ideal; with what is and the way we wish things were. Ideals, for some, feel more like wishful thinking.

A practical way for you and I to think about ‘ideals’ is to see them in their solid form, as when water freezes and turns to ice. Ideals (liquid concepts) harden into solid substances the way water turns from liquid to ice. Ideals in liquid form are concepts. But in solid form they become our expectations. For us, the ideal becomes what’s real.

Let me explain. When I was growing up, my mom taught me to hang up my clothes in my closet in a certain way…the hanger was hung in a specific direction. When I got married, my wife hung my clothes in my closet one day in the exact opposite way my mom had showed me. When I mentioned it to her (NOT the ideal thing to do:), she said, “Well, then, you can just do it yourself!”

What happened here? The way my mother showed me how to hang clothes in my closet had morphed into a solid expectation for me. I came to see the way my mom hung clothes as ‘the ideal’. Without realizing it, I had made my mom’s method ‘ my ideal’ and it had solidified into a solid expectation. The ideal (Brad, here’s how you can hang your clothes in your closet) became my expectation (Here’s how clothes SHOULD be hung in a closet).


I’ve matured since then, and now understand that not all ideals are equally important. I choose my family over my career. I try to choose what’s right over what’s wrong. I value what’s true instead of what’s false. I prefer to honor people rather than dishonor them. I decide to be better not bitter. These are just a few of my ideals. What are some of yours?

 “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” ― Louisa May Alcott



1. I can FINALLY grow a beard:)..sort of

2. In 3 to 5 years I’ll be considered smart (My dad told me this:)

3. The world is bigger than our perceptions of it (Thks to Thoreau)

4. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purposes that prevail. – Proverbs 19:21

5. Control is an illusion; people are largely self-directed.

6. I’ll always need my mom.

7. Beliefs, and the behaviors that follow from them, should be based on strong reasons not just strong emotions.

8. Some people walk around on the outside but live in emotional wheelchairs on the inside…Accept that fact and show mercy.

9. I can’t fix something on the inside using something from the outside.

10. I CAN fix and repair mechanical things (Thks. M. Scott Peck)

11. I can’t talk my way out of problems I behaved my way into (Thks Stephen Covey)

12. I am stronger than the doubts that linger.

13. Love. Period.

14. In relationships efficiency is not very effective…take time.

15. Honor given by me to others and to me from others is power.

16. I always have a choice.

17. Our happiness begins with the identifying of true and false things.

18. What I eat in private I wear in public (ouch!)

19. It’s easier to get into something than it is to get out.

20. If anything can be misunderstood, it will be misunderstood…so OVER-communicate if I need to.

21. When it comes to raising children…the days are long but the years are short.

22. I can connect what I’m learning with what I already know to create foundational knowledge.

23. Personal growth can make me feel foolish as I admit my ignorance, but that’s the price of admission to the school of success.

24. Success has many definitions.

25. Money does have its uses…and abuses.

26. People grow by “decision-managing” more than “decision-making”.

27. Life expands or contracts in proportion to my willingness to act courageously.

28. I can make my point without making an enemy.

29. There’s more than my way of doing things.

30. God does exist and Jesus is God.

31. It’s more emotionally fulfilling to serve than to have someone serve me.

32. Thinking is hard work.

33. Wealthy people have large libraries not just big tv’s (Thks Jim Rohn)

34. Doing what’s taboo isn’t as much fun as it looks.

35. Faithfulness is worth fighting for in faith and relationships.

36. Finding mentors to help coach me to go to the next level has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

37. This present pain is temporary.

38. I know how hard it is to beat addiction.

39. Thoughts cause emotions. Control your thoughts and you direct your emotions.

40. Heaven exists.


41. He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. – Proverbs 18:22










What does it mean to have integrity? To have integrity means ‘to be in reality what I appear to be’. It means that my core beliefs are congruent with my common practice. It means my walk matches my talk and my behavior mirrors my true beliefs.

Integrity implies more than just being honest, but certainly no less. Integrity means I’m honest AND whole. Integrity is having the courage and honesty to handle the demands of life with grace and truth. To better lead myself I like to ask myself this Growth Question: INTEGRITY…Am I practicing what I teach?


What can we do to develop integrity? Do the following…
1. Tell myself that integrity is important…Value it.
2. Talk to God asking Him to give me integrity…Pray for it.
3. Make someone a promise and keep it…Work at it.
4. Ask a friend to hold me accountable to have integrity…Submit to it.
5. Read what God says about integrity in the Bible…Study it.
6. Explain to myself why integrity matters…Understand it.
7. Spend time with people who have integrity…Catch it.
8. Teach on it to others…Model it.
9. Listen to my conscience…Sense it.
10. Condition my mind with self-talk for integrity…Program it.
11. Create a document outlining what it would look like for me to have integrity…Script it.
12. Collect quotes on integrity…Seek it.
13. Read books about integrity…Read about it.
14. Listen to sermons/talks on the subject of integrity…Absorb it.
15. Dialogue with My spouse and friends about it…Discuss it.
16. Study lives of men and women who succeeded and failed at integrity…Learn it.
17. Analyze and evaluate choices where I choose not to act with integrity…Change for it.
18. Write a document describing what would happen and what life would be like if I don’t choose integrity…Contextualize it.




Dr. Blaine Lee states “honorable people incorporate ten basic principles (into their life)…persuasion, patience, gentleness, teachability, acceptance, kindness, knowledge, discipline, consistency and integrity.” 

Honorable people honor people! If you have honor, you’ll give honor…especially to your father on Father’s Day. But you say, “You don’t/didn’t know my father! He isn’t/wasn’t an honorable man.” I would reply that honorable people honor people regardless of whether the person they’re honoring is worthy. Honorable people honor even those who they feel don’t deserve it. Why? Because honoring others is right. Because God commands us to do it. And because parents are just people. too!

How do you honor someone like your father? And what if he wasn’t a ‘good dad’? Or, what if he was a great dad and you just want to know how to show him your love.  Would you believe that either way, the process is the same?

  1. USE PERSUASION – Don’t coerce. Respect your father’s right to make his own choices.
  2. SHOW PATIENCE – Be long-suffering toward your father’s habits, hang-ups and hurts.
  3. EXPRESS KINDNESS – Avoid sarcasm or making rude remarks to things your dad might say.
  4. EXUDE GENTLENESS – Don’t compete or intimidate your father. Humble yourself.
  5. LOVE CONSISTENTLY – Value your father and love him when you don’t feel like it.
  6. GIVE ACCEPTANCE – Stop trying to change or improve your father. Just experience him.
  7. BE TEACHABLE – Ask his advice on a situation you need help with and really listen.
  8. SHARE KNOWLEDGE – Invite him into your family by sharing what’s going on in your life.
  9. BE DISCIPLINED – Don’t retaliate no matter what your father says or does that annoys you.
  10. HAVE INTEGRITY – Be honest with yourself and your father in all you say and do.

“Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:2-3 (KJV)





I can still see the smile across dad’s face. “Boy, you hit that thing a country mile.” It was the one and only baseball season I ever played. I was 8 years old and I had just smacked the leather baseball to left field. Boy was dad proud! I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live. Basking in dad’s approval was like basking in the life-giving rays of the Sun. At that moment with my dad’s eyes gleaming I felt like I had conquered the world.  In that moment Dad and I had…wait for it…bonded!

Allow me to share with you two basics of bonding with the hope that it will help you be the best dad you can.

1. Bonding with your children means being with your children.

As a father of three I am learning that children spell love T.I.M.E. More than money my kids want my time. More than toys my kids want my time. More than anything my kids just want “ME”. They want me to be around, to be interested in what they are thinking, saying or playing.

Your kids are no different. No matter how old your children are they still want your time. Relationships take time to build. You can’t build a relationship without spending time on it. You can’t bond with a child without spending time with them. Bonding with our kids requires us to be with our kids. That may sound obvious but how many overworked and overcommitted men do you know that can’t seem to find time to spend with their children? And yet not one of those overworked, overstressed, and overcommitted dads would say on his deathbed, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

2. Bonding with your children means building up your children.

Dad, building them up means complimenting them. It means catching them doing something right instead of always mentioning when they do something wrong. It means intentionally taking your son or daughter aside and telling them why they are so special to you.

Dr. Phil suggests asking your son or daughter this question, “Honey, what did I do right to deserve such a good little girl as you?” “Son, what did dad do to deserve such a good boy as you?” Even if they are young they will feel your heart as you say it. And if they are older then they will be amazed and encouraged by the sincerity of your heart.

General Douglas MacArthur, one of the greatest military leaders of all time, once said in a speech he gave:

“By profession, I am a soldier and take great pride in that fact. But I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build. A father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentialities of death, the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle, but in the home.”