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The Power of Influence

One of the greatest stories of this college football season is the work Deion Sanders has done at the University of Colorado. He has transformed a team that won one game last season. They have surpassed everyone's expectations and off to a 3-1 record. Coach Sanders (also called Coach Prime) is not just teaching young men how to play football, he is teaching them how to win in life. His methods have been criticized for being unorthodox, but he is getting results. Most importantly, he is making an impact in the lives of young men by instilling principles of character, integrity, and resilience.

During Colorado's game against in-state rival Colorado State, Deion pulled a young receiver to the side and gave him some encouragement. The young man and his coach hugged and he was sent back into the game. Later in the game, that young man scored a touchdown that helped Colorado win the game in overtime. We discovered later that the young man's father was incarcerated. However, Coach Prime said something to this young man that inspired him to help his team win.

Some people believe that influence is only powerful if you impact large groups of people at a time. Those who stand before the largest crowds. Those who have the largest titles. Those who have the largest congregations. Those who have buildings, statues, and arenas named after them. Society believes these are the people who made the greatest impact. What about the mentors, coaches, trainers, teachers, and community leaders who work with individuals and small groups of people to create change? What about those who are never heard on radio, or seen on television? What about those who demonstrate a quiet consistency in sharing their stories, giving their ears, and lending emotional support to those in need?

The power of influence cannot be measured in numbers, but through the change in lives that builds better societies. The neighbor who shows another neighbor how to use an edger is an influencer. The troop leader who helps the scout earn a merit badge is an influencer. The worker at a fabric store who helps a novice designer with understanding patterns is an influencer. These are people who daily invest in the lives of others and help them become better people personally and professionally. Influence comes in the form of a kind word, a thoughtful act, an unexpected gift, some timely instruction, or an occasional hug needed at just the right time. If you reach one person with an inspirational moment of truth, your influence may impact lives without you knowing it.

Warren Sapp is an NFL Hall of Fame defensive tackle. In a recent interview Warren spoke of the influence Deion has on his life. Warren has coached in college football and desires to coach at Colorado. Deion told him that he needed to get his college degree because he is encouraging young men to value their education above athletics. Warren said in the interview that he has enrolled in the University of Miami to get his degree because he wants to be part of the movement Deion has started in college football. He wants to be on the staff with Coach Prime because he is making a difference in the lives of young men. Talk about influence.

Don't think you are unimportant because you don't have one million followers, or no one knows your name. Remember you influence people just by the way you say, "good morning." You don't have to be a Coach Prime to make an impact. Be the best you and people will remember you and talk about how you made a difference in their lives. That is the power of influence.

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