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How to intentionally leverage your influence

In our “influencer economy,” some have come to see the term “influence” as representing selfies and social media likes.

“We think, what can I get from other people? Really, when we think of influence, we need to think about, ‘what do they value?’”

Career strategist Erin Urban, however, warns that this view of “influence” is wrong.

“What's interesting about influence is we think of it backwards,” said Urban in an interview with Freedom Media Network founder Curt Mercadante. “We think, what can I get from other people? Really, when we think of influence, we need to think about, ‘what do they value?’”

Urban is a certified career strategist and executive coach who helps driven, experienced professionals remove career roadblocks and unlock their potential for more influence, impact, and income. She is an international speaker, published author, behavioral scientist, the host of the Career Coffee Chat Podcast and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.

“What’s interesting is, when it comes to impact and influence, we all have impact and we all have influence,” she explained. “The problem is we're not responsible with it because we don't own it. We don't recognize it, we're not intentional with it. We are largely on autopilot, most of us. We have unconscious biases, unconscious ways of acting, just automatic programs running all the time.”

Urban said these “automatic programs” allow us to conserve energy and brain power.

“So we have all these automatic programs running, but we're not intentional with our impact and our influence,” she added. “So when it comes to a job search, for example, it depends on the individual. So you have different types of people who are seeking jobs. One person is comfortably in a position or uncomfortably in a position, but they're gainfully employed and they tend to be a little bit more picky, maybe they can leverage their influence a little bit more, that sort of thing. Then you have those people who are in transition and depending on how comfortable they are financially, they may need to find something right away and they don't really care about impact and influence, they just want a job.”

Urban said the key is aligning your next step with your strength, or your “zone of genius” so that you’re fulfilled in your career. She also stressed the importance of being influential in your “strategic network.”

“When it comes to influence, and this is particularly prevalent, and I see it so much right now, people are not influential in their strategic network. They're not active, they're not engaging it. They're not keeping it warm,” she said. “So when it comes to the time for them to find a job, they're behind the eight ball. Influence and keeping that strategic network active is a continuous process. It's not something you wait and do when you need to find a job. If you do that, then you're way behind the ball and it takes a while to see results because a network, typically isn't a one and done. It takes time to build relationships and connect with the right people.”

How does she define “strategic network”?

“A strategic network means it's a network that'll help you get where you want to go. So we want to begin with the end in mind. When it comes to developing your strategic network, we have to have a plan,” she explained. “Most people, quite frankly, spend more time planning their vacations than their careers but you need to have a plan. Start with the end in mind. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go and who will help you get there? Is it an organization? Is it a certain set of people? Can you develop relationships with those people? If you know your communication and work style, and what drives you.”

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