Extended influence to me is how you influence people that you will never meet. The first thing that must be done is to answer the question, why do we want to influence those we will never know? While the idea of leaving something valuable behind is appealing, for me, it goes beyond the concept of personal legacy.
It must be about the betterment of others. The scripture said as we have freely received to freely give. I am blessed with a beautiful heritage, and I want to give others something beautiful as well. The greatest thing I can pass on are the opportunities and resources that I’ve been given, with some additional things added that I’ve picked up along the way.
It’s about equipping, empowering, and elevating others to a higher level than where I started. I’m a member of a cycle of blessings, those who have influenced me, now influence others through me. My life is the product of multiple examples, all of which have helped to make me more than I could have been on my own.
I am a very real product of my Grandfather, I know his sayings, his mannerisms, etc, but it is primarily through the vehicle of his daughter. While I loved and spent a lot of time with him, his personality and experiences were gifted to me through my Mother. He influenced her, and she influenced me.
These three things can be accomplished by providing those we do influence with four specific tools. First we can, make available but not force, our knowledge to them. It’s not something that can be pushed, only offered. Knowledge placed in open hands will soon reach others.
Teaching, sharing knowledge, and providing information multiplies, or extends our influence. It goes beyond where we will go, have been, and are currently. Copernicus, who believed the Earth was round, lived generations ago. To this day his knowledge still benefits science and scientists.
A second way of influencing beyond your reach is through showing compassion. Be the pattern of kindness in someone’s life for them to follow. We live in a world that can be harsh and self motivated, but we can be the reminder that there is still good in our world. People will give chances to others because we gave them one.
Third, be passionate about what you believe in. Let those you reach know that there are some things worth fighting for. Show them that conviction can be nice, well mannered, and unbending. There is a way to make your beliefs known in a productive manner.
Someone is going to be passionate about what they believe, why not you and I? We can make ourselves heard without drowning out those around us. Our country was built on respected differences, and I see no reason to change now.
Fourth, and finally, leave something behind. If you’re a writer, mentally walk back in time. Write what a younger version of yourself needed to hear when you were first starting out. If your a businessman, invest in something that will create an opportunity you didn’t have.
Monuments, statues, and institutions such as colleges and libraries, aren’t really built for the people they’re named after. They are built for the child that wasn’t born when the foundation was poured. An yet, that foundation equipped them to get an education. It’s very existence empowered the child with the opportunity to learn. Lastly, what they learn there, will enable them to influence generations they will never see.