We are all influential people

There have been many books written on leadership and how to influence people. This idea can be misleading. You see, I don’t think we have to learn how to influence people. We do that every day. We have an inevitable effect on our families, friends, co-workers, members of our community, etc. The choice is not whether we influence others, but HOW we influence them. We may discover methods of improved leadership or how to make our influence more pronounced, but we cannot eliminate the fact that all of us help shape the lives of others around us.

Influence is not something we can turn on or off. It goes on all the time. Or attitudes affect our families and neighbors. They hear what we say and watch what we do; they even read the expressions on our faces. Everyone counts for something: generous or stingy, positive or negative, kind or hateful. Be assured that the world will be different when we are gone.

More importantly, perhaps, we keep on counting for something after we are gone. Shakespeare once said that the ill people do lives after them, and the good is often buried with their bones. That’s only partially true. On social media many celebrated the work of teachers this week. I was recently listening to a couple of teachers as they shared some of the trials of their profession. One stated, “it’s a tough job being a teacher in this day and age.” Yet both realize their profession has certain rewards as well. Their teaching and legacy will live on for many years in the children they have instructed. Most of their students will go on to achieve higher levels of learning and make valuable contributions to this world because of the important work of teaching.

I am grateful for community leaders, elected, appointed, employee, and volunteer, who remind us of our influence and call us to do better as a community. Let’s celebrate our diversity and make sure that Marshalltown is seen as a welcoming and thriving place to live. Not just for some, but for all. We are neighbors on a common journey together. The way we interact with each other can move us forward or backward.

There is no way to stop one’s influence in the world? It happens whether we want it to or not. For good or ill, our influence is never lost. All of us leave our “footprints on the sands of time.” In fact, we are making our footprints right now! The question for each of us is, “What kind of footprint will it be?”