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What and where is your sphere of influence? – in other words; who are the people within your reach? Our friends at 40 Acts today challenged us all to look at who we influence, how we can influence them and to perhaps use that influence in a way to make the world that little bit different.

Whilst thinking where I had influence, who I have influence on it also struck me that it’s just as important to think how you gained or built that influence in the first place. How do we build influence? Do we hold influence just because of our work grade or job title? Do we hold influence simply because we’re a father or mother? Do we hold influence due to having a fancy church title – “Worship leader”, “Warden”, “Youth Pastor”?

I could only really answer that by looking at the areas in which I (hopefully) reach people.

Work                                                                                                                              I’m good at my job. I’m really good at my job. But most of all I want to be good at my job so that our customers benefit. I take my job title seriously – “civil servant” – and see it as an honour to be in public service, to join the civil servants in God’s ranks (Nehemiah, Matthew, Joseph) and I do it with a smile (most of the time) and aim not only to serve the “civitas” out there, but to serve my colleagues. And that attitude is seen, by colleagues, by managers, by customers. And that’s where my influence comes from. A willingness to help, even if it means what I’m doing has to wait a while. That’s what gives your voice weight when it counts. Building a reputation based on integrity, honesty, positivity and encouragement. And that takes hard work. But today, I didn’t just want to rely on my reputation to bring a little love, kindness and generosity. I wanted a little bit of randomicity coupled with anonymity (although that’s now scuppered for any work colleagues reading this). So ladies in our loos found themselves faced with little post it notes of wisdom, encouragement and positivity. And a couple of other random places too (some seats in atrium, right next to the weighing scales [don’t get me started on why we have weighing scales at work, we’ll be here for hours]) I know it made a difference, because people were talking about it (rather than whinging about appraisals). I know it made a difference because people were smiling. I know it made a difference because there were people taking credit (who would do that??). And I guess my reputation and influence are too well known  as I got this little email from a lovely lady and kind friend. It simply said                                                                 I am sensing your influence in Ops 2 Loos, there is suddenly a positivity emanating in there with scrolled words of wisdom! Loving it.                                                              True words those Tina, thanks for noticing. x

Family                                                                                                                         I have a lovely niece and two great nephews (I have other family too, but these I think are the ones I have the greatest influence on). How did I build my influence with them? That’s the easiest one. I’m the most bonkers person they know. I’m happy to spend time with them, just for the sake of spending time. I’ll give cuddles, wisdom, chocolate and discipline when each is needed in equal measure. And how do I use my influence? Well, Luke shouts “I’m not pathetic, I’m marvelous” at random intervals after a motivational moment a few weeks ago – sometimes he tugs your sleeve and whispers it in your ear. If i give them nothing else, I’m satisfied with that.

You guys                                                                                                                                                                                     Simply by reading this, you’ve let me reach you. So first off, thanks for letting me into your lives. Some of you who read this are people I talk to, know well, and interact with on at least a weekly basis, if not daily. Others of you I’ve never met. Either way, you’re my guys. Thanks for sticking with me. I hope and pray the words I pour out onto the keyboard would in some way, with God’s help reach each of your hearts and encourage you that little bit. Encourage you to know you’re not alone. Encourage you to know you are precious and loved. Encourage you to share who you are and the goodness within. Go! Go do it 🙂

Last bit of randomicity                                                                                           When II read the title of today’s act, “Reach” the first thing that popped into my head was the S Club 7 song “Reach” (yes, I say that at the risk of losing cool points). But for me, that song actually sums up what I want to say to all those within my own reach. That you should reach for the stars, and you have friends around you. It’s one of those songs that just makes you really really happy. You have to join in when it comes on. It’s a ‘together’ song. It’s about friendship, community, encouragement. And it’s my sign off message for today.