I’m the oldest of 19 first cousins. Our ages range from 24 to 8, so as you can imagine it’s always a party when we get together. I’m pretty tight-knit with all of them and have intentionally build those friendships with each of my cousins. As we all get older, things get even more adventurous. It’s fun to see how each of us mold more into our unique personalities and bring a different flavor to the family. Not too long ago, one of my cousins was visiting me in Nashville. She was only 10 at the time, and just like most tweens, she was pretty intrigued with the idea of being “famous.”
Living in Nashville, you’d be shocked how many people you run into during your day-to-day activities who are actually really “famous” in some circles or in another person’s eyes. It’s just a cultural norm in Music City. The tourists stick out like a sore thumb – not only do they flood the streets in sun dresses and cowboy boots (which no Nashville native ever wears, but for some reason it’s the go-to wardrobe for out-of-towners), but they’re the ones who ask to take a picture, or get an autograph from the person they perceive as “famous.”
The idea of so many people being enamored with fame kind of blew me away. I’ve had glimpses into the worlds of fame from a few different platforms. I’ve discovered that most people don’t see the emptiness that often lies behind-the-scenes of the popular view of what fame looks like.
So I took my cousin out to a local coffee shop that is often frequented by known writers, performers and artists. We ordered our coffees, sat down, and after a little bit of small talk, my conversation with my cousin went a little like this…
Me: “Hey, you see that guy over at the table in the corner?”
My Cousin: “Yeah.”
Me: “Did you know he is famous?”
My Cousin: “What? No!”
Me: “Yeah!! Do you see that table over there? The girls sitting there – they’re famous.”
My Cousin: “That’s so cool!!”
Me: (With a big smile, I turn and point to my cousin.) “This girl right here… You’re famous!”
My Cousin: (She looked at me with a puzzled expression, and gave a little giggle as if I was playing a joke.) “What? No, I’m not. I’m not famous.”
Me: “Yes, you are! You’re an influencer!”
With new reality shows popping up every day, YouTube, and social media, we live in a society that puts a crippling value on “fame.” The truth is, we all have influence! Our circles of influence or platforms may look a little different from each other, but that’s the beauty of it!! You have influence in places that I may never reach. Whether your circle is two people or 200 million people – you have influence! If you’re a parent, a friend, a daughter, a son, a sibling, a coworker, a classmate, an athlete, or even if your platform is one that shines the spotlight differently; you have an influence to those around you! Your words are valuable and important! Your interactions and actions speak to many. That’s an incredible gift! It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Nobody is. We are all constantly growing in different areas of our lives. It just means that you’ve been placed in an incredible spot to speak value and encouragement to those around you. You have a God-breathed purpose over your life that will impact the lives of those around you.
You are an influencer!