“Be a Positive Influence!”

Raymond D. White
7 min readAug 22, 2021

#RaysReflections: Volume 1

Yo! Welcome to my little reflective corner of the internet.

One of the key actions I’ve been working on since a young age is journaling and reflecting. I feel that we can learn a lot of lessons in life when we internalize what we are experiencing and figure out how we can take action with what we have learned.

But, one important piece of that process is to share your insights for others to learn with you. After all, we all have the capacity to teach and learn from one another.

Here are 5 reflections from the past week that I want to share with you! Take a look and share with me your reflections as well!

1. How are you measuring your influence?

One of my favorite podcasts, Nicky and Moose, broke down a survey Complex Collective performed. The Future of Influence report asked Gen-Z and Millenials who were most influential in their generation (BTW, they said Travis Scott).

What caught my attention, which is what Nicky and Moose highlighted, were the criteria that make someone influential (see image below, taken from their YouTube Channel).

The six indicators include:

  • Association and Collaborations
  • Quality Skills
  • Multi-Dimensional
  • Giving Back
  • Authenticity

Why am I highlighting this?

Becoming an influencer is a coveted title within our culture. But us everyday folks may not receive such title, or even desire to achieve that social status. Regardless, we all have some level of influence on those around us. What I plan on doing is reflecting on this list with my current societal positions and titles and intentionally develop those areas with this lens.

For example, as a husband, am I consistent with collaborating with my wife with various initiatives? As a father, do my children see me as authentic in my interactions with them? As a friend, how am I serving others who are in need around me? As a community member, am I working with others who are creating opportunities for unity with a will for social change?

The goal is not perfection, but progression. And with our presence and perspectives, we can use our influence to positively affect those we are in a relationship with.

My reflection for you: “How are you intentionally using your influence to positively impact those around you?”

2. What is your model of leadership?

The next reflection comes from my research into all the theories of leadership. And let me tell you, there are a lot of them!

One of which is the Behavior Theory of Leadership. This theory highlights that everyone can be a leader, which moves away from the thought that leaders are born (also deemed as The Great Man Theory). What I value about this perspective is displays leadership as an attitude and a perspective, not just a position or a title. Wherever you are in the organization, community, or age, you have the capacity to be a leader.

Why does this matter?

Well, similar to the first reflection, our influence impacts our relationships. If we understand that we are influencing others, then we can determine the actions that would drive our influence for change. We would be able to look at the work that we are producing and address problems that will give us solutions. We can build stronger connections with people and place them in positions of success. We can design our attitudes around the possibilities that we could create that would bring people together and forward.

But all of that requires us to assess our mindset, our actions, our worldview, and our belief system. We would have to create a critical assessment of what we think about ourselves and others, to then ask, “is what I am modeling as a person achieving the outcomes I wish to see?”

If the answer is no, then let's course correct. If it is yes, then see what can you do to sustain it.

My reflection for you: “Is what I am modeling as a person/leader reflecting the outcomes I wish to see?”

3. Do you have space to focus?

I was going through some of my On The Mic w/ Ray White podcast episodes to find clips for social media. This one below comes from an episode that encourages creating the capacity to focus on the initiatives related to your goals.

This is something I am notoriously poor at doing… I hope to put it on a podcast is to be a reminder for myself when I forget… which is often.

Anyway, creating space allows us to get into deep work. We can get into our state of flow where our focus and energy are directed to the task at hand. By creating the capacity to focus on specific work, we can achieve more. The alternative, which I know very well, is to try to do it all at once. That creates overwhelm, stress, and stagnation because of competing priorities.

I have trouble saying no but I am afraid to miss out on an opportunity that sounds cool. I want to do 3 or 4 things at once because I think that if I do it all at once it would advance me much faster (LIES!!!). Also, my day is primary consumed with how to help others achieve their goals because it relates to the first problem of not saying no.

So knowing that about myself, I have to get real in defining the type of work I want to do, the time of day that I work the best, and the specific outcomes I want to see. I have to do that every day and define seasons where I am sticking to that. Otherwise, I would be left spreading myself too thin or putting my goals on the backburner.

As an example, starting on October 1, 2021, here is my scope for three months:

  • Focusing my content and speaking opportunities centered on leadership development
  • Placing my strategic attention towards local initiatives that advance my community
  • Pouring into 3 individuals to help advance their goals

You might say that still seems broad. But to me, that was tough to type out because there are 3 other things I want to put on that list. But less is more and I have to create more space if I want to be successful in these areas.

My reflection for you: “How are you creating space to focus on the things you want to do the most?”

4. How are you learning from your actions?

Our young family tries to make it to the neighboring elementary school at least twice a week. Along with playing on the playground, we also play basketball. One instance when my wife and I were shooting around, she leans over to our oldest child (age 4) and askes him what she could do to make more shots.

He then replied, “You practice and then you learn.”

Who coached that kid up?!

Not only do I treasure the fact that he said that, I also internalized that statement. I have often asked myself how do I get to the next level. As a former college wide receiver, I would think what can I do to run my routes better. As a leader of a small team, I daily think about how I can keep my team engaged and producing quality work. And as a content creator, I process what I can do to have my message be impactful for others to experience.

What my son stated makes sense, you practice the activity and you learn from the result. Experience is one of our best teachers. We lose sight of that when we do not take action in the areas we are interested in.

Fear, judgment, comparison, and insecurities are all factors that hinder our progression. Yet if we remember that through consistent actions and reflection we get better, and have quality people around us with the tools we need, we will see that success we desire.

Let’s not make it too complex. Practice. Learn. Practice again.

My reflection for you: “How can I consistently practice and learn from my actions?”

5. Am I a person of positive influence?

First of all, this reflection caught me by surprise! Did y’all know Kel Mitchell, from Kenen and Kel, is a youth pastor?!

Talking about influence, that show was one of the most formative experiences in my childhood. I loved Kel’s goofiness and the scenarios both actors were always in.

But to see him as an adult, continuing to form the next generation is amazing for me!

I stumbled upon one of his recent sermons, where he is encouraging the youth to lead by example as they enter into the school year.

In short, he emphasized that reading the Bible, praying, and imitating Jesus daily will impact the lives of others in a positive way. Also that it’s a quality mark of leadership we all need to abide by.

I want to tie this into my influential criteria (reflection #1). I believe that my faith influences my actions. If my actions influence others, then I need to be rooted in wisdom, hope, grace, truth, and love. These things and more are found in the life of Christ.

To find out that one of my influences is continuing to influence others positively for the last 25 years, who is getting his source of influence from a man 2000 years ago, means that we need to consider the longevity of our actions.

Literally, every day, we need to be intentional with what we say and do. If it has not been stated over and over, the impact of our actions influences the people around us. And the effects of that last long after we leave this earth. You or I will never know how we truly affect someone unless they tell us. So rather than leave it up to chance, what would happen if we intentionally became a person of positive influence daily?

My reflection for you: How are you positively influencing others around you?

Thanks for engaging! Tune in next week for more reflections.

But I don't want you to just read and click off to something else. Share with me what you have learned or what you have been reflecting on this week!

Feel free to use the comments or get at me on Instagram and Twitter!

— Ray

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Raymond D. White

I collaborate with leaders to integrate DEI into their people & culture strategies. Need help developing a belonging team culture? Let’s chat!