According to an ancient Chinese legend, there is a huge feast in hell, laid out on the table, but everybody’s knives and forks are so long that they can’t get the food to their own mouths. Struggle as they may, in the face of all this food, they starve.
In heaven, the story is almost exactly the same. There is a wonderful feast laid out and the knives and forks are so long that you can’t get your food to your own mouth. The difference is that the people in heaven stop trying to feed themselves and use their long knives and forks to feed each other instead.
I was reminded of this story while reading a blog post on Your Writer Platform by Kimberley Grabas titled “Your Path to Influence”, in the context of promoting one’s books. You can read those points of hers that mostly resonated with me, but, as far as I’m concerned, everything has already been covered by the Chinese legend above and Zig Ziglar’s immortal words.
1. Don’t push. Pull.
Stop trying to convince people to like you, follow you or buy your stuff. Find the people who already desire what you have to offer, and draw them to you.
2. Do something that matters.
When you believe in the significance of what you do, and can articulate why you do it, people are often compelled to listen.
3. Be fearless.
Avoiding risk is inherently risky. The cost of settling is far more than you may think. So be bold! People are not inspired or moved to action by meekness.
4. Act with purpose.
Don’t make decisions and choices out of habit. Be intentional in your actions, your message, and the outcomes you seek for your work.
5. Live your legacy.
What will people remember from you, when you’re gone? You should give others a piece of yourself, and see how it changes their life. Ironically, when you shift to living your legacy, your interest in prestige and acclaim dwindles, while your influence (and fulfillment) rises.
6. Find ways to help.
Focus on what you can do as opposed to what you can get. This small shift in mindset is HUGE. Don’t ask “What can you do for me?”, but rather, “What can I do for you?”
7. Know yourself and build your talents.
Knowledge is power: the clearer you are on what you have to bring to the table, the easier it is to exploit your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.
8. Find Mentors.
Model the people that are getting results. Mentors can empathize with where you are at, but they won’t indulge your excuses for not going further.
9. Learn networking 2.0.
Networking is no longer about handshakes, elevator pitches and collecting business cards. People with influence build valuable and meaningful connections by ensuring others get as much (and maybe more) from the relationship as they do.
10. Think long term, not 15 minute fame.
This is a marathon, not a sprint, so plan your race accordingly. Adjust your expectations to take into account that momentum requires time to build–and you’re just getting started.
11. Screen your inner circle.
Surround yourself with people who pull you up; not hold you down. Let go of those who aren’t committed to the dream. Learn to do what can’t be done by hanging out with the people who have already accomplished the “impossible”.
12. Get comfortable being a little uncomfortable.
Find the edge of your comfort zone, then take two steps past that. (You’ll find it’s the spot just past anxiety and right before panic…)
13. Change how people feel.
People don’t change based on what they know, they change based on what they feel. Focus on emotion, sentiment, passion and empathy. Change how people feel about your work before you try to change what they think about it.
14. Kill excuses.
Yes you do have enough time, money, skills and resources. Skip the hobbyist mentality and go all-in.
15. Innovate, not just imitate.
There is no clout in a copy. Originality is the heat behind significance, and absolutely no one does YOU better.
What other ways can you think for making an impact?