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The Art of Influence

leadership & impact May 26, 2022

In both your personal and professional lives, your ability to influence others is a key element in determining how successful you will be in any given endeavor. However, in striving to become more influential and effective leaders, many people find that they are held back by self-limiting beliefs and mindsets.

Chris Widener, our guest in Episode 95 of The MINDSet Game® podcast, has mastered the art of influence. As a member of the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame who has been named one of the top 50 speakers in the world, Chris has spoken in front of audiences as large as 25,000 people. He is also the author of 22 books, many of which have earned spots on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists. In this episode, Chris shares stories from his life and career as he discusses various factors that may contribute to your ability to influence others.

Hard power vs. soft power

Chris explains that there are two main types of influence: hard power and soft power. Most people use hard power, by which they rely on their authority and try to command others to do what they want them to do. Soft power, on the other hand, may involve reasoning or negotiating with someone in order to convince them to take a particular action, rather than simply commanding them to do so or threatening them with consequences if they don’t. By mastering the ability to influence others using soft power, you’ll be more likely to inspire lasting transformation.

The role of mindset in your ability to influence

As with many other traits that can help you achieve your goals, your influence could be impaired if you harbor self-limiting beliefs. Chris explains that your mindset is kind of like a thermostat: while you may take the actions needed to accomplish a particular goal, your mindset will “reset” you to what you believe you are. For instance, if you think of yourself as someone who is not good with money or who will never be wealthy, you may find yourself struggling financially no matter how much you earn – your mindset will correct your reality to reflect your beliefs. 

Chris suggests an easy activity to help you start reconditioning limiting beliefs: write a word such as “money” or “love” on a sheet of paper, and jot down some of your true beliefs surrounding that word. This will help you examine your belief systems and identify any that may be holding you back from what you really want in life.

The importance of self-development

In order to increase your influence and accomplish other goals, Chris explains that it’s crucial to take time for self-development and improvement. Many high-achieving individuals feel that they are too busy for self-development – but Chris says that by spending as little as 15 minutes a day on activities such as reading or listening to empowering books or planning out the actions you need to take, you’ll be able to achieve your goals more efficiently.  


Improving self-awareness

Another thing that could have a negative impact on your ability to influence others is a lack of self-awareness – without it, you won’t be able to change anything and may not even know what you should change. To become more self-aware, Chris suggests asking the people who are closest to you – people you trust – to give you honest feedback about what you can do to improve as a person and as a leader. As you hear their feedback, resist the urge to respond or defend yourself. Simply ask yourself whether the feedback is true and if so, what you can do to improve. 

To learn more about Chris Widener, visit his website at



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