“What’s more important–power or influence? Why?”
That’s what these five women thought about and taught me a lot about in their responses. A true powerhouse is not someone who exerts power, but instead, someone who creates influence.
Morgan Pitts, creator-in-chief of #BlackGirlsWhoBlog and CosMORGpolitan
Influence is more important because it is power. When I think of power, I think of control; however, influence is simply effortless. The definition of influence itself is, “the power to change or affect someone or something: the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen.” For instance, when ladies tell me that #BlackGirlsWhoBlog has inspired — or positively influenced — them to create a blog, it’s not something that was done by force. The movement naturally impacted them to take action by just being what it is, and that’s power if you ask me.
Influence tops power any and every day. To me, the term “power” aligns with fear, being on top and preeminent discomfort, and that’s not something I’m ever aiming for. I’m not seeking to control anyone or make anyone feel less by possessing power and having others do my bidding. But, there is a power in having influence. Influence, to me, has to do with connecting on a human level. When something about you resonates with another person, you have the ability to influence thoughts, encourage actions and promote a different state of mind. It comes off as more positive. Influence also tends to equal longevity and goes a lot farther than having any sort of hierarchal power dangling in front of others without a known power.
If I had to choose which is more important, I would say ‘influence’ because power comes and goes. You can work your ass off day in and out to have power to rule over people, places and things, but what happens when it all disappears? As Kanye West has referenced in many of his recent interviews (and his hit song “Power”, “No one man (or woman) should have all this power” — and I’d have to agree. Power is a force that should be shared collectively, not individually. When one person acquires power, it’s impossible for it NOT to go to their head. They become hard to work with, selfish, insensitive to others’ thoughts and feelings, and feel as though they are invincible. And it isn’t until the house of cards come crashing down that they realize they should’ve done things differently.
But influence? That incites change. It allows people to remember not only what you did, but how you made them feel and then encouraged them to act upon that feeling. Influence isn’t necessarily a person aggressively pressuring others to do what they say you should do, but it’s that person’s confidence, actions and words that empower someone else to be their best self. One of my goals in life it to be a catalyst for change, encouraging everyone around me to DO THEM, and DO IT WELL.
Jennifer Pearson, founder of Understated Culture
The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement expressed in a delicate manner is the essence of Understated Culture. I live for culture. I mean, we are redefining it whether we realize it or not. The idea of uniting creatives and free-thinkers is something worth pursuing in my opinion. Thoughts of influencing individuals with my stories of delving into old and new customs and beliefs are worth the long nights. Ultimately, finding the missing pieces to cultural puzzles is what keeps me up at night. What music is creating change? Who’s realigning the frame nowadays? Has style been accepted as more than a compilation of materials? Iconography maybe? Obviously, these are unanswered questions keeps me up at night. Finding cohesion technically and creatively is what fuels my soul on the quiet nights. I honestly eat, sleep, and breathe this content driven solely by my experiences and curiosity of what other millennials are going through.
I am often asked if I believe my dreams are big enough. Well, my dreams will affect those whom I have never met, people who don’t exist yet, and those transitioning in life. My dreams are transcending and this feels like more than just a blog, but people are motivated to live life in a different light. I feel motivated to live differently and freely. I am in the middle of a movement in a sense. So much is entailed in a movement and it really tests your convictions. So the changes, the motivation, the support and challenges are key reasons I choose to be an insomniac. Why sleep when you are living your dreams, right? If anything should keep anyone up I hope it’s passionate and captivating. Those valuable late nights are well worth the lack of sleep.
Mary, founder and writer at Verily Merrily Mary
I choose influence over power any day. Power inevitably comes with influence, but it is coercive. Here, people propagate your ideas and beliefs out of fear, not out of admiration and agreement. But when one is influential, that is because enough people decided on their own to consider your ideas and run with it. They deemed your beliefs both worthy of consideration and worthy of admiration so much so that they must share it with those around them. With power, people are robots. With influence, people are human. I choose humanity.