The key to becoming an influencer is not to just be taken seriously. Credibility is important as you build influence, but only part of the equation. You must also create value. And value is subjective. It is based on your audience.

Baseball is a game that is loved by many and played at all levels of competition. In fact, varsity level baseball can be very exciting as both a player and a fan. A star pitcher for a varsity baseball team can be an incredibly valuable asset. However, if that varsity star had to throw in a major league game, it would most likely end in disaster.

Does that mean that fans of the major league game would never enjoy watching a varsity match? No, not at all. Does it mean that the young player could never develop the skills to compete at a higher level? Absolutely not. While a star high school player might never be taken seriously in a major league contest, it does not mean that the young player lacks skills. It simply means the major league audience is looking for a different level of capability.

Let’s apply that to your role. First of all, what is your position? What do you do better than anything (note anything, not anyone) else? Once you have defined ‘what’ you are, ask yourself ‘who’ needs me? Don’t be frustrated if you feel limited by a need to grow your capabilities to reach a ‘higher’ audience. Understand that even if you are not ready for the ‘majors’, there probably is someone looking for your skills and expertise. Who are they? What are the symptoms that indicate you might be a good fit?

Finding the fit for your audience’s need will not only build credibility, but also create value. That is the rocket fuel for increasing your influence. Credibility without value will not produce results. Value without credibility is a path to disaster.

So, as you are trying to build your influence and expand your brand, focus on being credible to those people who see value in what you offer. Resist the urge to access an audience that can’t appreciate you. Instead, reframe your value proposition.

Our young pitcher has very little value to a major league manager trying to find a starter for tonight’s game. However, the kid represents huge value to that team’s scout looking for a prospect who can be a starter in a couple of years. And in the meantime, may earn a scholarship to college where those skills can be sharpened and expanded.

Think about your value in the same way. You may or may not be aiming for the Major Leagues but understand ‘who’ most needs the ‘what’ it is you do. Take the time to find the right audience and watch your influence grow. With credibility and value you will become a powerful force.

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