A counterintuitive approach to influence

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

Zig Ziglar famously said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

It may seem counterintuitive, but by focusing on what others want to achieve, you will find that you are more easily able to accomplish your dreams as well. I believe that life gives to the giver. The other day I heard the word “pronoia” for the first time. It is the opposite of paranoia. So instead of the universe conspiring against you, pronoia means that the forces of nature are working for you behind the scenes.

If you want to increase your influence and impact in the world, help others first.

Your first mission: practice deep listening with everyone this week.

Deep listening is a great way to build relationships.

When was the last time you felt truly listened to — like you were the only person in existence? Deep listening is so rare that when you do experience it, it almost feels like a spiritual experience. The key to deep listening is to say very little. Fight the urge to interject, even if you think your story connects. If you do choose to speak mirror back what you heard — Let me reflect back to you, what I hear you saying is … did I get that right?

By committing to deep listening, you are permitted access to people’s goals and dreams.

Your second mission: Help people achieve their dreams

People will share their life goals with you if you practice deep listening and it’s your job to help them achieve those aspirations.

Done well, deep listening will create the space where people will open up and share information they may have never told anyone before. Sometimes this takes the form of dreams, goals, and desires. That information is a key resource for relationship building. Help someone act on (and achieve) their goals and they will naturally want to reciprocate. This is exactly how you live out Zig Ziglar’s quote I shared at the beginning of this article.

And once you have helped others accomplish their dreams, now it’s time to accomplish yours.

Your third mission: Share your desires and ask for help.

Why do waiters leave candies or mints with the bill?

This small “gift” is the final gesture of kindness before a patron considers leaving a tip. Physics teaches us Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. By helping others accomplish their dreams, they will be more likely to extend help to you in accomplishing your dreams. Now it’s your job to share your goals and ask for help. Zig Ziglar is right because of the mental model of reciprocity.

The best part of this strategy is that it creates a win-win scenario where everyone gets what they want.

If you enjoyed today’s post, then you most likely will like this one that digs deeper into helping people accomplish their dreams.

Host of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast with over one million downloads 🚀