My life, like yours, is not a jet-set life. I’ve read biographies of significant people in music, politics and church history and they all seem so much bigger than my little life. I don’t hop on planes, speak to huge crowds, sing to huge crowds, or get interviewed by Time magazine like those kind of people I read about. My life is a very day in and day out rhythm (a much more poetic word than “routine”) of waking, exercising, reading my bible, trying to pray, eating breakfast, working, meetings, lunch – maybe, more meetings, maybe making a small difference in the life of my family or someone in my community, eating dinner, taking the dog for a walk, and going to bed so that I can wake up and do it all over again the next day. On the surface of things, my slow existence doesn’t seem influential at all.
But in the last few years I’ve learned a little secret, that someone probably told me when I was young and I simply didn’t believe it:
Lasting Influence = Enduring Presence + Length of Time.
I’ve learned that real influence in my family, my career, my community, or in anything is directly related to two things. First, my influence is directly connected with my enduring presence. If I am present in a particular place, relationship or cause, and I have chosen not to leave for something “better,” “more lucrative,” or “pretty” then big things can happen. Second, if I’ve chosen to be present over a long period of time so that I’ve gained people’s trust, I’ve developed real relationships, and I have gained the capacity to work together with those around me (rather than all on my own) to transform what needs to be transformed then even bigger things can happen. Therefore, my encouragement to all of us non jet-setters is simply this: Stay put, keep fighting, don’t give up, and you will have great influence!