Leadership and Influence

influenceThe reason for my lack of posting in the last two days was because I went on a trip to a leadership camp. There were many words and ideas thrown at me in those two days, but I also managed to make a few connections between leadership and positivity.

Firstly, leadership is influence. It is estimated that you influence a minimum of 10,000 people during your life, just through being alive and present on the Earth. 10,000 is probably an underestimation for most of us, particularly considering the huge role internet and social media plays in todays society. There are plenty of celebrities on Twitter who have millions of followers, that millions of people reading the thoughts and words of one person every single day. Now think about your own life, the people in your life, whether it be friends or family, acquaintances or connections, distant relatives or just random people you encounter on the street, and then of course all the people online that your are connected to. Every time you do something, say something, eat something you are influencing the people around you. This is clearly evident in the spread of trends, one person does something and then a few more follow and before you know what has happened millions are influenced by that one person’s actions or decisions. So the statement leadership is influence applies to everyone everywhere, because you have a great deal of power over other people, whether you’re willing to accept that or not.

So to relate this to both nutrition and positive thinking, we can influence others through our thoughts and actions. Have you ever noticed how contagious moods are? One person comes along with their head down, grumbling and moaning about how crappy their life is and before you know it everyone else has fallen into this depressed and depressing state of mind. Fortunately, it works in reverse too. If one person is really happy, positive, smiling and optimistic chances are before too long everyone else will have picked up on this vibe. Studies have proven time and time again the logic behind this phenomenon and also shown that people are naturally more attracted to the happy, positive people. So if you wondering why people seem to gravitate away from you, it’s probably not your deodorant, it’s your attitude. This highlights the importance of smiling, of laughing and of saying positive things. I know that I always try to smile at strangers and bring positive energy with me any place I go and I am quietly confident that people appreciate this.

Similarly with nutrition, the influence you have, especially over those you’re with every day is incredible. Again studies have proven if your friends are overweight or obese, you’re far more likely to be overweight or obese too. Now I am not recommending you go and dump all your larger friends, but perhaps you could think about how their food choices might be influencing you, or vice versa. By choosing to love yourself and nourish yourself with the food you eat, your setting an example and influencing the people around you. I am sure nearly everyone has been in a situation where some bright spark has said “Let’s order pizza!” which is usually followed by a noisy group approval. But what if you did this for some healthy option, what if you said “I feel like some sushi!” or “Let’s whip up a salad.” So simple, but your statement will influence others to eat healthier. One of my biggest ways of influence is by talking to people about my own nutritional choices and explaining to them why it’s better for me. Some people choose to switch off immediately, saying they like what they eat and don’t plan on changing it, but plenty of others listen intently and ask a multitude of questions about how they can apply healthy eating to their own lives. I must say it is extremely rewarding to have a conversation in which you have been able to enlighten someone about real nutrition, but even if they still don’t understand, at least the seed has been planted.

So next time you drop your wrapper in the street, forget to thank someone, choose a burger over a salad or repeatedly say negative things, think about the influence your having on others. Every person has influence, therefore we are all leaders in some respect. Choose to lead in a positive and healthy way :)

Keep smiling, keep healthy!

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