How to Influence People
(And Sleep Well at Night)

Senores y Senoras, nosotros tenemos mas influencia con sus hijos que tu tiene… pero los queremos.

Translation: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have more influence over your children than you do… but we love them.”

I always thought this introduction to the Jane’s Addiction song Stop on 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual was poignant. It’s an interesting way to open an album, but the message is also important.

When Ritual was released, I was four months shy of college graduation and twelve years away from being a parent myself, so the attraction was largely rooted in rebellion. I relished the power this alt band had over me that my parents didn’t. Now, as a parent of two children that essentially define my life, the statement remains compelling – terribly frightening on one hand and mildly comforting on the other.

Yes, rock stars have incredible influence on kids, as do actors, athletes and other celebrities. It would be nice if all these people had your child’s best interest at heart.

But we know that’s not true.

These days, bloggers also enjoy the power of influence. We’re not rock stars or starlets – just ordinary wives, sons, daughters and husbands. Business people, customers, politicians and citizens can all reach a previously unattainable audience with the right words and the click of the mouse.

Whether your audience is 10 or 10,000, actual people are listening to you.

It’s important to carefully consider your influence, and how you use it. Or, as lead singer Perry Farrell puts it in an earlier Jane’s Addiction tune:

I’m thinking about power… The ways a man could use it, or be destroyed by it…

Start thinking. Do you actually care for your audience? Or is it all about you?

The answer will determine your level of success. And how well you sleep at night.

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