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You may not have the reach of a Tom Joyner and, you may not be able to provide a scholarship to Rachel Jeantel as he so generously did. But, in our own way, we can all have influence and make a difference.

Influence is a powerful responsibility. Everyone has influence on different levels. The key is to:

1. Understand your position of influence (where are you at this point in your life).

2. Use your influence (who listens to you and what do you tell them).

3. Expand your influence (reaching more people).

Influence can be used for positive or negative – to enhance or to destroy lives. How you utilize your influence is up to you, but be assured you have more power than you realize.

The secret weapon of influence is to approach from a position of strength. You can only do that if you understand what you possess. What do you have or have access to that others want or need? It can be money, access to powerful people, creative ideas, technical skills or insights about your community, social media outlets and, of course, your vote.

If you get involved politically by campaigning, gathering a group of individuals to engage and vote, then your influence could literally change the course of a nation.

Social Media has tapped into anyone’s ability to influence millions with a few words and with the click of a button.On Twitter alone, more than 1 million posts about the verdict went up in the 12 hours after it was announced Saturday night.

One woman’s activism on Twitter and a campaign put Juror B37‘s book deal to a screeching halt.

Obviously, the more friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter and hits on your website that you have, the more potential impact you will have. The question is once you get it, how are you going to use your influence?

Social media has become the great equalizer. You don’t have to be a big star, leader or media personality in order to get your message out and tap into your influence.

But you must start by focusing on what you can do, as opposed to focusing on how powerless you may feel.

Using Your Influence

When you write, speak or simply live your life; who is watching you, mimicking you, looking for direction from you? How does what you do or say impact their lives in a positive or negative manner?

Politics is the ultimate strategic game because decisions made by elected officials effect the direction of our lives and direction of our world. Let’s be very clear, there is a direct connection between how we engage in everyday life and how those same principles can apply in the world of politics. The question is how does it affect you, and how can you affect it? A good start is to vote. Now that’s “owning your influence” in a way that really counts. We influence our legislators when we pull the lever or push the button and vote on Election Day. And in case you’ve got a bitter taste in your mouth and wonder why you should care, let’s review.

Trayvon is Gone, But We are Here: Use Your Influence  was originally published on

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