INFLUENCE. It’s a powerful word. Intentional influence is even more powerful. To intentionally direct your energy in a conscious and purposeful way can make an incredible impact in someone else’s life.

Webster defines influence as: “the power to change or affect someone or something: the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen: a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way.”

We’ve all been influenced by others in both positive and negative ways, but what I’m grateful for is those who have intentionally influenced me in a positive way. I’m so thankful that they chose to invest their time and energy in me.

I’d like to thank my parents, who will be celebrating 40 years of marriage this year. They have shown me that no matter how tough life gets, you honor the commitment you made to each other to love for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad.

I’d like to thank my Grandpa and my church family for being invaluable advisors in my spiritual walk. They have had open discussions of their faith and continue to help me with any questions I might have. I appreciate the guidance and the prayers.

I’d like to thank all of those in public service who at one time or another have been there when I needed you. This includes police, firefighters, teachers, doctors, and nurses. I’m alive and well today because of the protection and care you provided.

If you’re reading this right now, I’d like to challenge you to take a moment right now and each day to thank those in your life who influence and inspire you. They may never know that their actions or kindnesses have made a difference to you. Just think of what an encouragement a simple “thank you” will be to them.

It doesn’t matter how small the action or kindness was. If it made a difference to you, that’s all that matters. Shake their hand, send an email, call them, or send a handwritten note.

INFLUENCE. It’s a powerful word. It’s even more powerful when you put it into action.