7 Oct 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
On September 28th, professional golfer and coach Lim Siew Ai talked about how all of us can be influencers in DUMC, for the Faith@Work ministry.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
(Matt 5:13-16 NLT)
So, what is the meaning of influence?
Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something. It causes a positive change in the lives and career of the people we encounter from a physical, emotional, and/or spiritual perspective.
She introduced the ‘cycle’ of influence, which involves us desiring to be like a person (or model). Having a model motivates us to become better, which results in a mentoring relationship that ultimately trains us to become mentors for others.
Hank Johnson who was one of the top-50 golf instructors in United States was Siew Ai’s golf coach who taught her to be excellent in her chosen field. While the world thinks a position of influence must come with status/position, money, and power, this is a myth!
Beyond these so-called prowess’s, influence comes from:
- Being excellent in our chosen field.
- Make time for people
- Care and concern beyond the job
- See people from their potential
- Inspire people to be greater than who they are
- Reproduce other people of influence
QUALITIES OF AN INFLUENTIAL PERSON
#1 Excellence in Work
Firstly, we need to be excellent in our chosen field because it prepares a strong and credible platform to share our faith. This is because excellence naturally commands attention. Even Jesus at one point caught the attention of men with his wisdom. (Luke 2:52) And Daniel displayed such excellence that the king placed him in a position of authority and influence (Dan 6:3)
Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. (Luke 2:52)
Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. (Dan 6:3)
Siew Ai identified with the spirit of excellence because she would need to achieve a certain salary bracket to remain her professional career. Hence, she had to constantly push herself to be excellent. And Johnson exemplified excellence from a teaching perspective.
#2 Make time for people
A wise man once said, “Unless you have time for people, you are never able to influence them.” We need to make time for those around us. Jesus spent time with his disciples on a boat (Mark 4), with his friends at dinner (Luke 19), and with people in various settings such as the fields and by the lake. (Matt 12-13)
Sharing about her pastor’s advice in United States, Siew Ai never overschedules her day with back-to-back appointments. She always gave herself extra time, so that she could immediately meet the needs of the people God sent to her.
#3 Care and concern above the job
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
As a golf coach, Siew Ai sees her student as a person first, prior to being a professional golfer. Hence, instead of harping only on their scores, she is also concerned with their character-building and emotional wellbeing. For example, she doesn’t allow her students to use inappropriate language and requires them to get an average of B in school.
#4 See the potential in people
God has always saw the potential that people have and not just who they were. If He sees us from what we currently are, none of us would be chosen by Him to do His Will.
Noah was drunk (Gen 9:20-22). Abraham was too old. (Gen 17). Jacob was a liar. (Gen 25) Leah was unattractive. (Gen 29:17) Moses stuttered. (Exo 4:10) Gideon was afraid. (Judges 9) Samson was a womanizer. (Judges 14) David was an adulterer and a murderer. (2 Sam 11:3-27) Elijah was suicidal. (1 King 19) Jonah ran away from God. Peter denied Christ. (Matt 26:69-70) And Magdalene was possessed. (Mark 16:9)
We also need to see the potential in people. There is a reason why they are in our life.
#5 Inspire people to be greater than who they are
Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame Football Coach, once said, “A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.” In other words, an influential person is able to inspire people to be greater than who they are.
Jesus saw the potential in Zacchaeus the tax collector and invited him for dinner. Because of that, Zacchaeus vowed to give half of his possessions to the poor and pay back four times the amount of anyone he cheated from.
Siew Ai shared how Johnson also saw in her something she did not know she had. But his encouragement made her better than her expectations.
#6 Reproduce other people of influence
Siew Ai shared how the Dead Sea had no living creatures because of the saltiness of the water, caused by the evaporation that left the minerals behind. Likewise, if we were to gather all kinds of knowledge and skills in this world, they amount to nothing if we do not teach others what we know.
She shared the story of a domino effect of obedience, known as the ‘Butterfly effect.’ This term is used in the chaos theory to describe ‘how small changes to a seemingly unrelated thing or condition (also known as an initial condition) can affect large, complex systems. Here is an example of how a ripple can cause a tsunami effect:
“It all began when Edward Kimble felt the tugging of the Spirit to share his faith with a young shoe salesman he knew. At first Kimble vacillated, unsure if he should talk to the man. But he finally mustered his courage and went into the shoe store. There Kimble found the salesman in the back room stocking shoes, and he began to share his faith with him. As a result, the young shoe salesman prayed and received Jesus Christ that day. That shoe salesman’s name was Dwight L. Moody, and he became the greatest evangelist of his generation.
But the story doesn’t end there. Several years later a pastor and well-known author by the named of Frederick B. Meyer heard Moody preach. Meyer was so deeply stirred by Moody’s preaching that he himself embarked on a far-reaching evangelistic ministry. Once when Meyer was preaching a college student named Wilbur Chapman accepted Christ as a result of his presentation of the gospel. Chapman later employed a baseball player to help him prepare to conduct an evangelistic crusade. That ballplayer, who later became a powerful evangelist himself, was Billy Sunday.
Years later, a group of businessmen invited Billy Sunday to hold a evangelistic campaign in Charlotte, North Carolina, which resulted in many people coming to Christ. The businessmen were so touched by Sunday’s preaching that they brought in another evangelist, Mordecai Ham, to hold another crusade. Ham’s crusade went well, even though it did not have many converts. On one of the last nights of the meetings, however, one tall, lanky young man walked up the aisle to receive Christ. That man’s name was Billy Graham.
Talk about a chain of events! And it all started with an ordinary Christian named Edward Kimble, who reached D.L. Moody, who reached Wilbur Chapman, who reached Billy Sunday, who reached Mordecai Ham, who reached Billy Graham. Look at what God has done over these many years because of the faithfulness of one person.”
Hence, Siew Ai shared that we do not need to be a CEO of a corporation or a professional athlete to be someone great. But like the man in the video above, it is the little things or ‘ordinary’ things he does in taking time to care for others, which make all the difference.
Who has influenced you the most? Why did you choose this person and what qualities did this person exhibit? Lastly, how can you apply what you learned today in the context of your job? Remember… you CAN be a person of influence—right where you are with the people you are with now.
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