Impact or Influence?

I feel like I have been on a social media hiatus…again. I go through these phases where I don’t feel super motivated to share, post, or engage online. I got really sick last week, my nephew is visiting from England for the first time, and I attended the CanFit Pro Conference. On top of all of that, there seems to be more and more nonsense online that I simply have chosen to not participate in for a little while. But, I am back and ready to share my ideas and perspectives with you.

Today I wanted to discuss impact versus influence and how what we post online can heavily impact and influence those around us. It was really brought to my attention after talking to my young 13-year-old female cousin, but I think we can affect any body, regardless of age.

I am going to speak from the perspective of a 25-year-old female fitness professional. I am in a position to help people change their mindset, confidence, and self talk. I am given the opportunity to impact someone’s hour with me and have them feeling differently for the rest of the day! As someone in the fitness industry, people often look to me for advice or inspiration, so it is important to make sure that I am adding positively to others.

Cousins ranging from 13-40+. It’s important we have strong role models to look up to and become strong role models for others.

Cousins ranging from 13-40+. It’s important we have strong role models to look up to and become strong role models for others.

What is the difference between impact and influence?

According to a quick Google search, influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something”. The definition of impact has influence as a synonym however I think there is a HUGE difference. When we decide to be an influencer and influence those around us, we are putting our beliefs onto others and encouraging certain behaviours and decisions.

I would much rather have an impact on someone else, strongly affecting them in a way that allows them to think more critically, make their own decisions, speak their mind, stand up for their beliefs, and find their voice. It is much more about leaving a legacy that reminds people to have their own opinions and beliefs rather than telling them to think and do as I do. Impact is about empowering others to develop their own belief system rather than listening to me just because.

Let’s think back to what we experience across social media. Lately, it seems to be that more skin and less clothes is the way to go in fitness. To be frank, I really don’t understand the purpose or the value in this. I want people to respect and value my opinion because I am educated, knowledgable and approachable, not because of the way my body looks. I also would never want someone to think that the way I look is the only way to be. 

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and ideas and I respect those who's perspective differs from mine. However, I think we need to ask ourselves why we are posting and sharing what we do. Is it to influence others to think the same as you or is it to inspire and motivate those around you to feel their best, regardless of how different that might look from you?

Just some food for thought as I process all of my own thoughts on the topic. Happy Friday!

Yours in self-discovery,