The Influence Advantage: Symbol of Hope

Recently, I got heard the sound of an ice cream truck. Boy did it take me back. Back to a simpler time. A time where I didn't have responsibilities or a job. I was carefree, able to cast my worries away because I had my whole life ahead of me. No matter what I faced during the day, the sound of that ice cream truck was full of more than just sweet, cold treats that would put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. It was the sound of possibilities. That the sun would shine and the dark grey clouds will roll away. That is the sound of tomorrow. That is a symbol of hope.

How do we see tomorrow? It is hopeful or hopeless? The sad reality is, there are too many people that see tomorrow and frown. And that frown remains seemingly permanent on them until something triggers a shift, something alerts them to the ray of bright light. Whatever that something is, has influence. That influence brings hope that whatever is, doesn't have to be anymore. Others of us are looking around the corner, just waiting for something to knock us off kilter, anticipating life to finally hit us with that knock out blow until the rainstorms we self-forecasted gets replaced with a report of clear skies. Whatever that thing is that removes doubt has influence. Both a ray of sunshine and a report of clear skies brings hope. What is that symbol of hope in your life?

Let me ask it another way. What evicts fear from us? In America, the uniform I mentioned in my previous article "The Influence Advantage" is not just a ray of sunshine for some but a remover of fear for others. The feeling of a "brighter day" or protection is what people get nearly instantly when they see a member of the Armed Forces in their uniform. It's that same kind of freedom we used to feel when the ice cream truck pulled up, that we knew that we would be served something that makes us feel important, safe and secure. Unfortunately these days, that's not exactly what the feeling is when the ice cream truck pulls up, but you get the picture. It's a symbol of hope, that our dreams are still achievable, our path has been trail blazed and we can give it our all. This is the influence a military member has with the community they serve. Without saying a word, without touting our accolades, rank or status, we are able to influence others into a place of serenity and security. That is a symbol of hope.

Gaining the advantage of influence through becoming a symbol of hope means we need to be something for other people. We can be something we aren't, and just as importantly, we can be something we don't know or understand. We'll get to the "know or understand" in the next few articles. But right now, being a symbol of hope as we gain influence with others and being who we naturally are is authenticity. We can tell a person that went to a surplus store and bought some military gear from the authentic military member, can't we? Authenticity erodes influence and without influence we cannot lead, and without leading others to something, it's tough to provide hope in anything. Being a person of consistent authenticity is a symbol of hope others can count on, and we don't have to be anything other than ourselves. As consistent as the smile on a face when the ice cream truck comes. That is a symbol of hope.

Caleb Roche