The Four Levels of Influence

What is Influence?

What is influence? That’s a good question, right?  

It’s a very common term influence, but there’s so many different definitions.  

And I have actually spent my entire life and career studying influence.  

And here is my own personal, simple definition of influence.  

Influence is the ability to inspire action.  

That’s it. 

Influence is the ability to inspire action.  

The most influential people in the world can inspire action.  

They can cause action. They create the action. 

They are a catalyst for action to take place.  

And I have only realized this fairly recently that my entire life and career has been studying influence.  

I am fascinated with influence. I love influence.  

I’ve tried to accumulate a bit of influence, but I’m also very curious about influence as a dynamic and as a concept and what causes it to work and why do some people have influence and other people don’t and how do you lose influence and how do you gain influence? 

And I now see clearly that everything in my professional career, and really even in my personal life, all comes down to this idea that I study influence.  

And I also teach influence. I teach other people how to become more influential. Now I teach it in a variety of ways.  

Take Action

In fact, what I’m going to share with you right now is something that I refer to as the four levels of influence.  

These four levels of influence will explain to you how to build influence from the inside out. It will probably bring some clarity in your own life.  

And by the way, if you’ve ever been curious as to all of the different things that I talk about and teach, and what I’ve done in my life, and what is the through line of all of them? This will answer that question. The four levels of influence from the belief and understanding that influence is the ability to inspire action. 

So what is the first level of influence? It’s very simple.  

The first level of influence is the ability to influence yourself to take action, right? It is the ability to inspire yourself to take action.  

This is why my very first published work, which was my New York Times bestseller, Take The Stairs is all about the psychology of overcoming procrastination and increasing your self-discipline. It is about personal growth. How do you get yourself to do the things that you should be doing, even when you don’t feel like doing them.  

My second book, Procrastinate On Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Time, also had Ted talk that went viral called How to Multiply Time. It was also about influencing yourself to take action. How do you multiply time?  Personal growth and productivity are two areas around influencing yourself, getting yourself to take action, getting the most out of your own life, and getting the most out of your own time. 

That is the first level of influence and too many people overlook the importance of that first level of influence. If you want to have more influence in the world, it starts by you being better at influencing yourself.  

And if you’re struggling to influence yourself and getting yourself to take action, I would highly recommend that Take The Stairs book and my second book, Procrastinate On Purpose, or at least watch the Ted talk, which is free.  

The second level of influence is influencing another person, which makes sense, right? If these are four concentric circles, at first, I’m going to influence myself at the core. And then one level out from that is the second level of influence, which is influencing another person.  

How do you influence another person to take action? 

And this is commonly known as sales and persuasion. It is the psychology of what you say and how you listen. And how do you use your words and your non-verbals in your communication to inspire, not to force, not to coerce, not to pressure, but to inspire another person to take action.  

That is a form of sales.  

Whether I’m parenting, or I’m negotiating, or I’m coaching a person, I’m trying to get one other person, one direct person who is not me to take action. That’s the second level of influence.  

My wife and I built a company that was an eight-figure business. All we did was sales training. We taught salespeople and sales teams on how to sell, how to influence, how to persuade, and how to move other people to action.  

It’s something that we teach at Brand Builders Group. Right now, we have a course called Pressure-free Persuasion because we believe in ethical persuasion, but it’s still persuasion. It is using your own life to influence another person to take action. That is the second level of influences influencing another person.  

The third level of influence is influencing a team that is a small group of people.   

How to be an Effective Leader

This is why I talk a lot about leadership and entrepreneurship. You may not know this, but my undergraduate degree was actually in Leadership. I got two degrees, one in Leadership and one in Management. I have spent my academic career studying leadership. We also, as I mentioned, have launched several different companies. We’ve had five, seven-figure businesses and are on our way to a second eight-figure business because that is entrepreneurship. It’s leading a team of people.  

Now you might not be an entrepreneur. You might be a corporate executive, but you’re leading a team, but did you know that your ability to lead a team is improved dramatically by your ability and skillset and learning to persuade just one person, which is the second level of influence.  

And did you know that your ability to persuade and influence one other person starts by improving or enhancing your ability to influence yourself, which is the first level of influence?  

And unfortunately, there is a strong disconnect in the world between each of these levels of influence. 

If you want to grow your influence, you must systematically develop these skill sets and preferably in order, because if you try to influence a team before you know how to influence yourself, I promise you’re going to have breakdowns.  

You’re going to run into a limit. You’re going to run into a threshold to a ceiling. You’re going to cap the potential and the performance of your team because you haven’t yet figured out how to master influencing yourself.  

So that brings us to the fourth level of influence. 

What’s the fourth level of influence?  

The fourth level of influence is influencing a community, a large group of people. This is causing movements, creating phenomenon and creating mass organizations of people taking action, which is why we study and teach personal branding and marketing.  

Personal branding is what we do at Brand Builders Group. Why are we so interested in it? What is the connection? 

Well, personal branding is basically drawing your uniqueness out of you and packaging it in a way that you can take that message and you can use it to drive action amongst a large community. How do you build a community, cultivate that community, and then activate that community to take action, to get them to move into a direction? 

This is why we work with politicians, right? We have clients that are politicians. 

That’s why we work with some of the biggest online social media influencers, because they’re influencing a community.  

They’re playing in that fourth level of influence and they want to change the world, right?  

This is Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Jesus of Nazareth. Like the people who change the world, they know how to move a massive group of people.  

This is also why we study professional speaking. Professional speaking is a subset of personal branding.  

It is a subset of the fourth level of influence, which is activating an entire community, but your ability to inspire the world to take action is directly enhanced by strengthening your ability at getting a small team to take action, which is directly strengthened by your ability to learn how to get one other person to take action, which is directly affected by your ability to get yourself to take action.  

So if you want to build your influence, start with learning how to influence yourself and build from there. 

How about you? Where would you say is your current level of influence? I love to know in the comments below.  

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