Previously, I’ve highlighted ways to create buy-in for ideas and “influence without authority” by educating, asserting, motivating, and establishing a vision for the future.

I’ve also shared how our brain processes the information it receives through our senses—to shape what we see and don’t see—and associates the data with prior memories and experiences, impacting how others perceive us, and judge our behaviors and actions.

How others may influence you.

We may not want to admit that we’re all a bit impressionable, depending on who is trying to sway us. In this case, I’m not referring to situations where you may need to adopt a new way of working or adjust your presentation style for a stakeholder. Here I’m focused on how you may inadvertently allow others to shape YOU—from who you are and want to be to what you do and the choices you make.

Here are some questions to think through to assess your susceptibility:

  • Are you willing to alter your persona based on another person’s feedback or request?
  • Will you cover up or adjust your behavior or opinions based on a group’s social norms or expectations?
  • Do you modify your approach to fit the “team culture” even if it goes against your values?
  • Do you remain silent and look to others to make decisions for you?
  • Is your mood affected by other people’s words or actions?

The impact on your personal brand.

There is no right or wrong answer to the questions above. Knowing and acknowledging how and when others move you is valuable to understand. If you’re not mindful, you may accidentally pick up their thoughts, beliefs, biases, and way of being as your own.

You give away your personal authority when you deprioritize what’s important to you and rely too heavily on others’ approval and validations. Further, you can lose sight of your brand identity, narrative, values, goals, and how you want to appear.

Clarity helps you elect when to stay firm and when to flex.

Here are five ways to express yourself more clearly and reduce the hold others may have on you:

Reflect on your regrets.

Evaluate the root causes and reasons for your choices. For instance, was the decision already made for you, a personal experiment, or a compromise with someone else? And if you knew then what you know now, how would you have handled the situation differently?

Revisit your non-negotiables.

We act upon what we deem is important to us. Where are your musts, wants, and needs on your priority list? To be more purposeful and at peace in what you say and do, consider establishing your own annual review and aligning your internal system with your outward persona and actions.

Assess the “voice in your head.”

Our perspectives are filtered by what we believe is true. Limiting beliefs and “inner critics” begin early in life. They can narrow our thinking, make us lose focus, and stop us from being enthusiastic about our desires. Ask yourself, “What is the voice in my head telling me?” and “Whose voice is telling me this? Is it me? Is it a former boss, parent, partner, sibling, or friend?”

Discern how you’re feeling.

Sometimes we need to be open to change, and other times not. It always depends on the person and situation. To ensure you’re part of the decision-making equation, check in with your gut and see: “What and whose energy and vibes am I picking up?” and “How do I feel AND want to feel?” before responding.

Establish boundaries.

Boundaries can be physical and tangible, or they can be emotional and intangible. They’re the limits you set in a relationship with someone or something. By taking a witness stance and observing a situation objectively, you can listen to and accept what the other person is saying, consider compromising, but not be impacted by it.

Believe in yourself and inspire others.

Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are all interconnected. As a lifelong student, certified coach, and consultant, activating the best in others through self-leadership, interpersonal relations, and team dynamics are passions of mine. My approach is personalized and customized, tapping into various assessments, disciplines, modalities, and techniques. To learn more, schedule a call with me.

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