An Inspiring Lesson Gleaned from The Art of Influence by Chris Widener

The Art of Influence: Persuading Others Begins With You by Chris Widener is a fascinating allegorical tale of the real, genuine and ultimate source of success. The protagonist, Marcus Drake, is freshly graduated from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is given the gift of a lifetime from his grandmother, to spend some quality, one-on-one time with a successful billionaire, Bobby Gold. Gold shares his four “Golden Rules of Influence” at the perfect time in Marcus’ career, at the beginning. Marcus is gifted with the good fortune to be able to initially build up (his life and potential) on a solid foundation for true and lasting success. The journey includes valuable lessons and insights into seeing beyond the obvious and ascertaining how best to stay on top ethically and honorably.

Beyond the “Golden Rules,” themselves, lie gems of incomparable gold that have ignited a passion for Influence, rather than mere persuasion in me. Perhaps the major insight I gleaned can be of great influential value to you as well. The Rules are:

1. Live a Life of Undivided Integrity;

2. Always Demonstrate a Positive Attitude;

3. Consider Other People’s Interests as more Important than my Own;

4. Don’t Settle for Anything Less than Excellence.


Operate in The Art vs. The Science of Business

“Influence is the key to Success,” Bobby Gold. Influence “denotes power, whose operation is invisible and known only by its effects, or a power whose cause and operation are unseen,” (Webster’s Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition, 2017). This definition clearly reveals that the “Art of Business, or Influence,” originates from within, unseen - hidden. It flows forth from my desire to not only succeed personally but to help as many others along the way, as I can. Influence culminates in the saying made famous by Zig Ziglar, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”

Persuasion is about convincing people of something. It is about what I can do to other people. It involves techniques - how to negotiate successfully, how to give quality and efficient presentations - which while important, are not the true reflection of the whole picture of how to be successful in business - and in life. Influence is about Me, personally - how my actions help facilitate change in others - affecting their thoughts, beliefs and actions. Influence is the core competency of leadership and sales – ultimately leading to success. People do business with people, not companies. Companies, themselves, are inanimate; and, therefore incapable of having meaningful conversations and forming relationships. Who I choose to be and ultimately become is my Influential Quotient (IQ) - an essential ingredient in my overall progress. Being the person, I myself, and therefore others would seek to follow and do business with must be a determining goal, if I intend to achieve and hold onto great triumphs and victories. The first step is ensuring that others’ perceptions of me are accurate and honorable. Only individuals of high caliber have the necessary stuff to truly be effective leaders and influencers.

My decision to become a Leader is only half of the recipe. To be a Leader, I must lead others. The followers, themselves, however, ultimately decide whom to follow; therefore, my honorable perception is the essential other half - the invitation I extend to allow me to lead. Each One’s acceptance is the gift of influence validating my intentions. In deciding, initially, who I intend to be, is the evidence others use to weigh in determining to follow me or not. Success is all about people. Failing to learn from life’s experiences, whether directly or indirectly, is akin to choosing (accepting) permanent failure - although One would not word it exactly as such. The fact of taking no definitive action to change, shift, and/or remodel after an experimental journey, is like accepting the default choice (of continued hurt and disappointment). Choices are the building blocks of an Amazing Life - one full of professional, familial, spiritual, emotional, wellness, relational and fun successes. Life (including some disappointing and down-right-mean and bad things) can happen to all people, so choosing how I will respond, before the calamity, is the hallmark of maturity and the necessary stuff to win - no matter what may come my way.


The Silver Lining: How Conflict Resolution Strengthens and Grows Leaders and Teams
“Conflict can and should be handled constructively; when it is, relationships benefit.
Conflict avoidance is *not* the hallmark of a good relationship.
On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication.”
Harriet B. Braiker (Author)


Conflict. Written or stated alone, this word conjures thoughts of negativity and unpleasantness; however, when paired with Resolution, the gloom is lifted and the dawning of the sunlight necessary for growth can be brilliantly witnessed in this positive union.

To fully understand a concept, theory, etc, it is always best to begin at the beginning. Plainly understanding what Conflict and Resolution are separately and then together, clearly indicates the necessity for their pairing, especially as related to Leadership Growth and Team Development. Understanding exactly how it can be useful in the workplace is prerequisite to growth and development. According to Webster’s Dictionary 1828 online edition, Conflict is defined as “a striking or dashing against; contention; struggling with difficulties; striving to overcome.” Resolution is the noun form of the verb to resolve, indicating “the act or process of unraveling, of disentangling perplexities,” (2017). Armed with the knowledge that Conflict Resolution is positive and affirming - the unraveling and disentangling of contentions against - helps One to effectively evaluate its merit. In working to resolve any issues of conflict and disharmony, while preventing further growth of the potentially negatively impactful toxin, immediate mediation in such situations is essential. In the book, The Essential Guide to Workplace Mediation & Conflict Resolution, co-author Nora Doherty, provides such an excellent working definition that it necessitates a verbatim quote: “Mediation is a structured process whereby an impartial mediator facilitates communication between those in dispute in order for them to understand each other better and for them to come up with mutually acceptable solutions that will improve the working relationship in the future” (2008, p.7). From Doherty’s explanation, it is clear that communication is key to resolution, just as it is in all successful interactions between human beings.

The negative potential of conflict is actually its benefit, because an immediate and intense focus is necessary to resolve the issue(s) which threaten to hurt the team and perhaps the company. Because more than a cursory glance is necessitated, it is a good time for team members, along with managing leaders and an impartial facilitator to be crystal clear and forthright in their communications. As each team member’s insight is important, it is vital that each contribute fully and honestly, while simultaneously displaying respectfulness for the contributions of other members of the team. This is the time to break away from the herd or “Groupthink” mentality and discuss issues of importance from each person’s perspective. Groups and teams are composed of individual members with different strengths and different points of views. While no team can be successful if one member is determined to be counterproductive, the cohesiveness and growth come into play when each individual asserts their uniqueness and contributions to the team - thus making it stronger. It is vital that all parties somehow experience (a) “win.” Being “right” is not worth risking the overall viability of harmonious relationships, especially among leaders and team members. Happy, strong and confident teams, composed of individuals possessing the same qualities, are the strength of a successful business enterprise. Creating an open environment for clear and unjudged communication and insights is imperative for fostering cohesion and halting the negativity of conflict in its tracks. Only allowing the “open forum” of clear communication to be the guiding principle in resolving - and further preventing - disharmony and success disruption is permissible.

References cited:

Conflict. Resolution. (2017). Webster’s Dictionary 1828 Online Edition:

Doherty, N., & Guyler, M. (2008). The Essential Guide to Workplace Mediation & Conflict Resolution : Rebuilding Working Relationships. London: Kogan Page.


Honor Marketing


Correct word choices are paramount to the clearest and most effective communication. In selecting the most appropriate words, understanding their true meanings are essential to saying exactly what needs to be said, when it needs to be said. There are a few resources that can be trusted to help make plain the meaning of what One intends to say. My go-to sources are Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (online edition), and Merriam-Webster’s (online edition) dictionaries. These sites help to clarify the message I desire to communicate with my truest intentions. To clearly convey my idea concerning Honor Marketing, let’s begin with some definitions to clarify the concept of honor(ing) and marketing.

Honor is defined as “the esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation (Webster’s Dictionary 1828, 2017); and, further clarified by, by adding “high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.”  Marketing is “the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods and/or services from a producer or seller to consumers and buyers” (, 2017).


Now that our foundation of understanding for our word choices of this concept is clear, let’s discuss the matter in detail; and, further illustrate an example of Honor Marketing in action. It happens over, and over, and over again, in every industry, from beauty-related to even vehicle repairs and everything in-between and beyond. WHY would companies be more "inviting" to strangers, than to family & friends? For so many specials, deals, features and offers, the caveat 99.9% of the time is that the highlighted offer is good for "new" customers/clients ONLY! WHAT??!!! While, clearly, it is completely understandable that businesses want and need to grow, and gaining new customers and clients is necessary. However, why does growth need to be excluding? Excluding and failing to HONOR and show appreciation to/for those "friends & family" who have already trusted your business, for ones who might or might not work out, is simply unwise.

Who knows and trusts you already? Even more importantly, who do you know and already have an established relationship with? Current and past customers are the BEST sources of additional client attraction. Consider this Honor Marketing concept. Instead of paying $100 to potentially attract a new customer, invest in a current customer an immediate $25 incentive (in the form of gift certificate or your "company currency" or Scrip) AND give them the exact same "incentive" to offer to a friend? The majority of the time, people spend more than the gift certificate award, AND it gets them into your store, so they can be exposed to ALL of your Amazing offerings. "Honoring" current, and even past clients, further endears them to your business; and, by giving them a gift, to gift (to another), immediately cements goodwill & likability from the "honored guest(s)." Not only would you avoid a potentially risky advertising expense, but potential for gain is huge in financial, customer service and goodwill awards, for investing a little honor and appreciation in those who have already proven their interest in your product and/or service offerings. Simply put, instead of paying out $100, invest $50 and potentially gain greater rewards, not just once, but again and again.


This concept is an example of the types of Big Ideas my company can offer in our service to you as your Profits Generation Professional Partner (PGPP). To learn more secure your copy of “Increase Your Profits with these 5 BIG IDEAS” now.



Cutressa M. Williams’ Personal Ethical Creed

The decision to live and serve with Integrity, Love and a driving sense of Mission must be made early and re-committed to on a daily basis. Regrettably, with far too many opportunities to choose a seemingly easy, yet destructive detour, it is imperative that true heart professionals take their stand now, and decide how they will answer life’s many questions. Taking the time to craft a personal ethical creed is paramount - it is the prerequisite of true success. My Personal Ethical Creed is foundational. It represents the source of my commitment to success as a true, servant leader and demonstrated, capable professional. It serves to protect and redirect me (as necessary), providing guidance and wisdom for those "gray" areas of life and professionalism. The following principles will serve me, as I serve others:

  • I commit to listening FIRST, and then Only speak, when/if necessary;

  • I commit to expressing appreciation to/for those who seek my help, by smiling and offering the best advice I, myself, would want to receive;

  • I commit to integral behavior - telling the truth “in love,” especially when it is constructive in nature;

  • I commit to timeliness. When I make an appointment with someone, whether face-to-face or via phone, I will ensure I am present. Time is one of the most valuable tools of life (as it cannot be replaced), so unless an extreme emergency arises, I will be there;

  • I commit to honoring others as unique and valuable human beings. Each individual has gifts and talents to share to help make our world better, so I commit to honoring and appreciating others;

  • I commit to quickly forgive (myself & others) and never to receive offense;

  • I commit to ALWAYS act in Love - treating others with the same level of respect and honor I desire for myself and my family.


Webster’s 1828 online edition dictionary defines Ethics as “The doctrines of morality or social manners; the science of moral philosophy, which teaches {One} their duty and the reasons of it” (2017). I usually use this dictionary first because the definitions are based on biblical principles. Each of my seven commitments is based upon my personal philosophies of how to treat others - as I desire to be treated in return. As a believer in The God of The Holy Bible, His love and teachings are foundational for how I choose to live my life. These foundations carry me personally, as well as professionally. As I am not two people in possession of two hearts; but, rather one person, who must honor her one heart, it is imperative that I consider the consequences of my actions. My decisions, both personally and professionally, can affect more than just myself, and even my family alone. It is important to me that I live my life according to the sound biblical principles taught in The Bible. Its foundational expression IS Love. Love is not merely something to say to illicit a certain reaction from another, but it is rather an action word. Love must be seen and felt more often than it is merely heard.  Love is Action(able). True love cannot exist in mere words only, as the weight of the Love must be supported by acts that cannot only be seen but heard, felt and ultimately shared.

As I continue living life, I am confident the heart commitments I choose to make today will continue to guide and direct me as difficulties arise. As I continue to grow and mature in love and as a professional, the tenets may enlarge to encompass areas not yet clear; however, the underlying foundations of Love (in action) and Integrity will always be present and evident.     





Real Talk - NOW IS THE TIME!


I am tired of living small, and greatly beneath My personal potential. Adonai is My Abba Father after all, so there is NO real need for fear to be allowed, at all. Laziness and complacency should NOT know My address.

I have ALWAYS known I was destined for GREATNESS - to be an EntrepreServantLeader, an enterprising servant leader. Although, I initially had NO idea what that truly meant, or even what it looked like - I just knew. My heart whispered that I would ultimately be a Leader - as I faithfully followed after Yeshua My Messiah - The ultimate leadership example.

I AM a Faith Girl, and as such, call those things that be NOT as though they were (SO that My reality WILL eventually match My words), just as My Bible instructs. But TODAY! Today is about real talk - it is stating the facts as they are right now - presently. Now, just because something IS a fact, still does NOT necessarily make it a truth for Me; however, real and lasting change necessitates that I must know and face the facts of today, in order to effectively deal with and change them into my desired and real truths for my new “today.”

I am tired and fed up with being afraid. Afraid of what might arrive in my mailbox, afraid of unknown phone numbers, afraid that I will not be able to provide the simplest requests for My daughter, afraid of disappointing her for living small. How can I expect her to think and act BIG, and Be ALL She can be, if I am content to exist in a small, complacent way? Which, of course, I am NOT content to do so.

I am tired of this “bankrupt body and life.” I am tired of not having the ability to take "well" day for myself - feeling much too good to work today - without fear of negative repercussion. I am SIMPLY TIRED. Tired of having to do work I do not love, when I do not feel like it and with people I would much rather not to have to do it with - (but, you know those responsible things adults should do). I am tired of not being able to help My friends and family, whom I love dearly, when they need me. It breaks My heart to see and hear about their struggles because I am unable to help. I am just tired of NOT being in Complete and FULL control of My own life and schedule! If I, myself, schedule a meeting or choose to work at a certain time, Fine; BUT, having to be where I do not want to be, with people I do not necessarily want to be with, doing what I do not necessarily feel like doing - that is NO longer Fine!

I am tired of first giving My best energies and talents to the building of the dreams of others while having little to no energy left with which to craft My own (dreams).

I am LONG OVERDUE for My Freedom and My True Reality - how about You?

... I just want My Real LIFE - it is time for Me to stop wishing and start LIVING!!!

So, here I go, ACTIVELY doing something about it - to change it - taking My own advice and "Shooting directly towards the Stars, at the Speed of Light"

Join me or just Watch Me GO!