You may not have the reach of a Tom Joyner and, you may not be able to provide a scholarship to Rachel Jeantel as he so generously did. But, in our own way, we can all have influence and make a difference.

Influence is a powerful responsibility. Everyone has influence on different levels. The key is to:

1. Understand your position of influence (where are you at this point in your life).

2. Use your influence (who listens to you and what do you tell them).

3. Expand your influence (reaching more people).

Influence can be used for positive or negative – to enhance or to destroy lives. How you utilize your influence is up to you, but be assured you have more power than you realize.

The secret weapon of influence is to approach from a position of strength. You can only do that if you understand what you possess. What do you have or have access to that others want or need? It can be money, access to powerful people, creative ideas, technical skills or insights about your community, social media outlets and, of course, your vote.

If you get involved politically by campaigning, gathering a group of individuals to engage and vote, then your influence could literally change the course of a nation.

Social Media has tapped into anyone’s ability to influence millions with a few words and with the click of a button.On Twitter alone, more than 1 million posts about the verdict went up in the 12 hours after it was announced Saturday night.

One woman’s activism on Twitter and a campaign put Juror B37‘s book deal to a screeching halt.

Obviously, the more friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter and hits on your website that you have, the more potential impact you will have. The question is once you get it, how are you going to use your influence?

Social media has become the great equalizer. You don’t have to be a big star, leader or media personality in order to get your message out and tap into your influence.

But you must start by focusing on what you can do, as opposed to focusing on how powerless you may feel.

Using Your Influence

When you write, speak or simply live your life; who is watching you, mimicking you, looking for direction from you? How does what you do or say impact their lives in a positive or negative manner?

Politics is the ultimate strategic game because decisions made by elected officials effect the direction of our lives and direction of our world. Let’s be very clear, there is a direct connection between how we engage in everyday life and how those same principles can apply in the world of politics. The question is how does it affect you, and how can you affect it? A good start is to vote. Now that’s “owning your influence” in a way that really counts. We influence our legislators when we pull the lever or push the button and vote on Election Day. And in case you’ve got a bitter taste in your mouth and wonder why you should care, let’s review.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines “politics” as policies or affairs of a government. Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) describe politics this way, “politics is about who gets what, how much, when, where, and how? When you consider the dynamics in our country in terms of who has what, and who’s without, do you consider politics as a factor? If not, you should.”

Even if you don’t care about politics, you care about what happens in your life as a result of policies and politics such as: healthcare, college tuition, global warming, job creation and the economy. And if you don’t care, who will?

A person or group is only able to capitalize on their influence if they know what they want, how to ask for what they want and how to use their influence to get it. For instance, if you’re one of those women who can organize a trip and leverage the amount of people in your group to negotiate a good price for the travel and hotel fares, then you already understand this concept. It’s all about the numbers and we’ve got them.

That, my friend, is the power of effective organizing, lobbying and politicking.

With that said, and with all of your concerns in mind, what group do you belong to that is lobbying on your behalf? What politicians understand and respect that you and your group have issues which must be addressed?

Do you realize that all elected officials are beholden to the public? After all, they hold public office. Remember, they were voters before they became politicians. They politicked their passion into a career, which you now pay for as a taxpayer. If you so choose, you have that same capability. Bottom line, you need to be in touch with and influence those who are in a position to impact your life.

Do it Again

Finally, in order to really be an effective influencer or game changer, you must make your presence felt more than once. Once will never be enough. Repetition, practice and tenacity make people successful far more than talent does. Here are some basic things that you need to do over and over again in order to influence change personally, politically and professionally:

•    Say “I love you” and demonstrate love, so the people in your life can feel that love.

•    Pay your bills on time so you can have good credit and purchase what you want and need.

•    Get training so you can better your skill set.

•    Vote so you can hold your elected officials accountable.

•    Apologize when you’re wrong so you can mend broken relationships.

•    Stay relevant by being relevant. Be the one to provide the solution, the next trend and or the new hit.

The world is constantly changing, and it needs your relevance and influence. Because we live in a world that makes people feel like today you’re hot, and tomorrow you’re not, you can influence what they think by staying on top of your game.

DEYA DIRECTIVE: You have more power and influence than you realize. Your relationships, your perspective, your money and your vote all play a part in changing this world. Own your influence, and use it to make a difference.

Deya “Direct” Smith is a lead producer on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and host of Girlfriend FM & Beyond the Studio celebrity interviews. She is also the best-selling author of Touch Yourself, 30 Ways to Live, Love and Let Go (! Deya is a life-style and inspirational speaker.

Also On Black America Web:

18 thoughts on “Trayvon is Gone, But We are Here: Use Your Influence

  1. Robyn on said:

    I agree with you Tom that boycotting Florida would hurt people of color, and that the big corporations like the NRA are certainly behind a lot of these laws being passed with their lobbying of our government officials, I read an article online about a radio personality in Chicago, it stated that Steve Harvey talks too much, and Tom Joyner the hardest working man, is not working so hard any more. Tom, Sybil, Jay, it is not so

  2. Florida boycott is misguided. Who’s working in these hotels and resturants in Disney World….mostly black men/women. Tourism boycott only hurts lower income minorities, when they are laid off, who does it hurt?…Stop it with these knee jerk boycotts! If you want to hit them in their pockets, persuade the parents of black athletes from sending their kids to UF or UM…college football is king in the south, if UF/UM has to play without star black athletes and the forcast of losing seasons,(billions of dollars for their program and state economy) the stand your ground law with disappear overnight.

  3. Influence can be as complex as forming an alliance of nations to try to influence a rogue country’s leadership to change its policies or as simple as a child smiling and extending his hand in an offer of friendship. Every time we try to affect how other people think, behave, or decide, we are trying to influence them.

  4. 55th st silverbacks on said:

    the trial is over and we still are no where near where we should , WE AS A PEOPLE HAVE WORK TO DO THAT IS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. our kids lead themselves while we provide wealth for the 1percent. the answer is to engage OUR CHILDREN. I AM MY BROTHERS KEEPER AND OUR CULTURE IS ONE OF A VILLAGE NOT THE SELF SERVING ADDITUDE WE NOW HAVE. KNOW YOUR TRUE HISTORY THE SOLUTIONS ARE THERE.

  5. charles cook on said:

    if trayvon were straddling zimmerman when he was shot seem like trayvon blood would be all over zimmerman.was there blood on the concrete where zimmerman head was slammed so viciously.why was trayvon body where it fell distance from the much is unexplained.

  6. Gwendolyn Allen on said:

    I want to ask the parents with respect to their grieving still; will they redirect some attention to the plight of other families that have met with the same fate

  7. DKT5331 on said:

    Juror B37 does not believe R J because she does not want to believe her. R J’s story and the cell phone records time line, exposed another Zimmerman lie but the jury was too inept and racially biased to know that. So how can they ridicule R J? Zimmerman was not walking back to his vehicle?

    • JanCorey on said:

      I saw on a site a question posed by a commentor who said: Question: what’s dumber, Rachel Jeantel or a box of rocks? Answer: too close to call.

      I thought that was sad.

  8. Angela on said:

    As indivuals we need to use our influence to push our public figures to follow the example of Stevie Wonder and put their money where their month is. Ask Tom Joyner not to reward this states sanction of the murder of one our children on the one hand, while stealing the life of a young mother, Marissa Alexander, for actually trying to save her life, on the other, by pumping millions of dollars into their economy. Ask Tom not to hold the family reunion 30 minutes from the site of Trayvon’s murder. For a family of 4 to attend this event it cost $2699 do the math. Some in Florida may not respect the color of our skin but you can believe they will gladly accept our green. Money talks!

    • Dave on said:

      Mary Mary also has join the Boycott. Family and I won’t be coming to Florida anytime soon, Other states will Gladly accept my funds, IE Vegas, SC, Tenn, ATL, NYC. Boycott’s Work just look at what’s happening with Rolling Stones Maz

    • JanCorey on said:

      Deborah A Noblin, to be on the side of an effort to Boycott-Florida-Tourism proves to me you clearly do not understand the case of Florida vs. George Zimmerman about the death of Trayvon Martin. Good luck in your disillusions. Gun-Control is being able to hit your target.

  9. JanCorey on said:

    Yes, use your influence and use this opportunity to educate your young kids and adults that it remains a crime to be high on illegal drugs, especially while committing the crime of felony-assault against a victim by bashing their head onto a cement sidewalk and being armed with a metal can in their hoodie-pocket while committing such a felony.

      • JanCorey on said:

        Dave, I can draw a weapon any time my life is threatened no matter if it is a kid high on dope or a kid or even an adult armed with a metal can in his hoodie pocket that was also armed with the use of a cement sidewalk, and I definitely would utilize a firearm if I was placed into a situation like George Zimmerman was forced into, any day of the week.

      • JanCorey on said:

        Would you draw a weapon when you might be scared but not legally allowed too? I’ll bet many would.

      • JanCorey on said:

        It was great that Sybrina Fulton will use Trayvon’s name to expand his legacy, maybe with her own line of handgun-accessories like hollow-point-thug-bullets or perhaps some marijuana items like a Trayvon-brand-pot or maybe some bongs and roach clips or maybe some burglary tools like crow bars, lock-cutters, and glass cutters or maybe have a t-shirt with a gun-target on it with a picture of Trayvon inside the bullseye.

  10. John on said:

    What bother’s me about the verdict is when one of the juror The woman known as Juror B37 told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Zimmerman made some poor decisions leading up to the shooting, but that Martin wasn’t innocent either. well why did not her verdict include “involuntary manslaughter” ?
    There also was something fishy about the trial , it was not about seeking justice for Trayvon , but to entertain the American public in highly publicized case that made Zimmerman a media icon as well as it’s victim Trayvon.

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