The Influence Phenomenon

In this post I am going to expose a force around us that is just as real as gravity.

All around us exists an invisible but all present force. Its impact on the world cannot be measured with scientific meters, and yet it is still observable. This force hides in plain sight, and yet once you come to the understanding that it exists, you can see it too. This invisible force is known as influence.

Influence is as real of a phenomenon as is momentum, electromagnetism, or weather.

If someone you know asks you to take out the trash or help clean up a room, would you do it? Yes, there might be a bit of pleading at times, or angry frustration that gets us to move. But this simple overlooked example, shows that influence is a real phenomenon.

I am telling you, this base human connection is the heart of moving all of us, in everything that we do. Its not always what some specific person says in front of us that influences us, but sometimes its ourselves.

Why this influence exists and how to use it, is best saved for another post, but the acknowledgement that we do things because we are influenced to do so, provides us the opening necessary to make and create desired change. All of us have this ability.

Influence is a core human connection.

Embrace influence and lead.


26. Why did we choose service over responsibility?

We didn’t.

The core values of Sanctuary Leadership are Trust, Service and Family.

Responsibility is implied with service.

Sanctuary leadership is about being conscious and intentional with our actions. Responsibility is good but we can do our responsibilities even without being intentional. People generally know that they are responsible for, but they are not knowledgeable about how they should serve. In fact, usually people intentionally decide not to do what they know they should.

But with service requires being intentional.

To know what to do requires being conscious. Those that join Sanctuary Leadership intentionally commit to performing service.

Why is service a requirement?

Service is a requirement, because it is the intentional manifestation of the belief that one’s fellow man is the greatest asset.

Service, or the act of doing actions for others, is the key to unlocking and opening up the potential for action from others. It is through the combined value of others’ actions, directed towards a purpose, that gives leadership its unique and powerful value.

Without adopting the belief of service, leadership is simply not possible. Without leadership, decay and collapse are inevitable.

Becoming a leader, requires accepting more than responsibility, it means accepting service.


25. Once you see leadership, you cannot un-see leadership

Do others care about your concerns? Who? How?

Are they helping you get what you want?

Here’s the truth.

People can feel bad about what’s happening to you, they can empathize and sympathize and put themselves in your shoes.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll get involved and help lead you to your own personal victory.

While they miss the opportunities to influence, you can.

You do not have to leave a person whom is asking for help, hanging in the breeze. You can give confidence to others by saying “let me get this.” By taking ownership and sharing the burden, you’ll gain influence, immediately.

You can put yourself out there. You can put yourselves in to what may feel like harms way.

It matters to at least one person. And that one person may be a spokesman for many. If you influence one, you influence the many.

You don’t have to be like everyone else. Instead of waiting for superman, you can be superman.


19. Death Cults

For some it may be hard to believe, but there are death cults just about everywhere. While this may seem shocking, when you detach from the things that make you to pay attention about what makes others, it becomes much clearer.

While there are certainly plenty of people who hang out at “death cult” clubs (online), or wear the “death cult” tshirt and stickers, usually death cult people look like everyone else.

What makes them part of a Death Cult, is their obsession with doom and gloom, and their diseased view about everything.

The world is always coming to an end. This thing or that thing is going to kill us, or is currently killing us always. There is nothing that anybody can do in life, but just accept the fate that “it’s all in the process of being over.”

That is what people who obsess about death want you to think.

Just because someone can analytically or categorically break down to show you its true, does it make it true.

  • Global Warming will kill us all!
  • No its actually climate change that’s killing us!
  • We’ll all be dead soon because the energy is going to dry up, and we’re dependent upon it.
  • A meteor is going to hit and there is nothing we can do about it.
  • The stock market is going to crash and the whole economy will be ruined forever.
  • Society has completely collapsed, just look at all of the bad things on the news!
  • They is too many people on earth!!
  • A disease is going to get us. See how many people its killed!!!!

And on and on it goes.

But life continues on. As it always will.

Human beings have never had it easier than they do today, this is why they worry so much. Becoming obsessed with imaginary, analytical and categorical bad, makes one forget about the simple reality that we have the ability to craft and mold our destiny.

Leadership is so compelling because of this.

People who are surrounded by “the sky is falling” really attach themselves to people with a purpose. With a plan. Something that they are striving towards. This is truly compelling.

Sure if you want to group everything into these abstract structures, and then want to be upset about them when they “are threatened” you can do that.

Or you can build relationships with people around you, to make something better.

Never forget, for those who really know, people are the greatest asset. Learn to empower, channel them, and release them from death cult obsessions.


14. Marine Corps Leadership Traits

When I joined the Marine Corps in 2004 I got my first experience really cramming “knowledge” into my mind. Shortly after you arrive at boot camp you are given a small three ring binder that is full of Marine Corps information.

Everything in this binder you have to memorize by heart.

They give you the rank structure. The history of the Marine Corps to include famous figures and famous battles. There were basic medical steps. Your general orders as a military man. And they provided you with the Marine Corps Leadership Traits.

To this day I still know the Mnemonic phrase that goes along with them.


  • Judgement
  • Justice
  • Dependability
  • Initiative
  • Decisiveness
  • Tact
  • Integrity
  • Enthusiasm
  • Bearing
  • Unselfishness
  • Courage
  • Knowledge
  • Loyalty
  • Endurance

Throughout boot camp knowing “J J DID TIE BUCKLE” was life and death

In boot camp you have inspections. During these inspections you have a drill instructor screaming in your face while you are supposed to recite some bit of Marine Corps knowledge, or you demonstrate mastery of manipulating your weapon.

“TELL ME JJ DID TIE BUCKLE” – The drill instructor would yell.

And immediately you’d have to launch into saying all of the words that make up the Marine Corps leadership traits. And you better not mess up because the drill instructors are definitely listening.

Memorizing is the first step to knowing them by heart

By being able to recite all of the leadership traits from memory it starts to bake in the ability to choose to value these traits when the time comes for them to be relevant. It is very difficult to have initiative if you don’t even know what the word means. It is also difficult to be decisive, or have good judgement.

The leadership traits point in the direction of how one becomes a leader. These traits happen to be the traits relevant for leading. Those whom demonstrate them earn influence with all those around them, consistently.

And for those that become Marines, soon to be young leaders, this fact is beaten into them at an early age.


10. In 2020 the Belief of Collapse is Everywhere

There is no bigger example of leadership voids than taking a look at the current zeitgeist of collapse.

These voids are why in the year 2020 the feeling of uncertainty is everywhere. There is a constant belief, everywhere, that people are going to lose their jobs, that the economy is going to collapse, that World War 3 is going to happen any minute, an apocalypse is around the corner, a super virus-bacteria will kill everyone, that “big government” is spying on them in that moment, the planet is collapsing, and in the end everyone is doomed.

There is clearly a leadership crisis. Where are we going? Nowhere? I guess that means we’re all dead!

This environment of uncertainty is allowing an unprecedented levels of predation to occur.

Just look at security sales.

Perhaps never in human history has safety and security been a bigger drain of resources than today. There is no shortage of examples of resource depletion from uncertainty from the expenditures at the highest levels such as a global bureaucratic military industrial complex and the growing gargantuan cyber security industry to the personal level of the sale of fire arms and home intrusion systems. Expenses on “security” are breath taking.

Even though statistics prove that human life has never been better, uncertainty is building and growing.

If you grow in leadership, you can dispel uncertainty

Before going into how to dispel uncertainty, remember that its a leadership void. It’s real simple.

Uncertainty dissipates when there is movement towards an honorable purposeful mission where the person who leads it keeps their concerns on the well being and forward progress of the people.

The four step approach to dispel uncertainty, now.

  1. Take a breath
  2. Imagine a future to build, starting now.
  3. Communicate this vision to others with intention.
  4. Create forward momentum, even if its tiny.

The reason that people have such uncertainty, is their lack of forward moment in a direction of their choosing. If this is you, or others you know, you ought to take a step back and get your breath.

You need to be able to see in your mind a better future clearly. Figure that out, even if its something small like “my house should be cleaner.”

Communicate what you see to other people. Avoid trying to convince them that this is the right course, instead speak with intentional and in a focused manner. You are going in a particular direction, because of something that you have noticed. Then consider inviting others to join that vision.

Once you’ve communicated it, get to work implementing it. Within minutes, the uncertainty that permeates in the environment around you will begin to dissipate. This is the power of forward momentum. Each step forward creates a clearer and clearer picture that where you are going, is real.

You have the power to dispel “collapse” in your life

While there are an unbelievable number of things that are outside of your control, there is still considerable amount that you know you already know you can begin stepping forward with to build forward momentum in your life, and others.

Be careful following “leaders” who radiate uncertainty.

Regardless of the problems that exist, there is always a way to survive. There is always something that can and should be done about it. There is always the need to face it, rather than run away from it. This is why you must begin dispelling uncertainty by being a force for the future.


5. Leadership Academy: A Fresh Idea

The U.S. is missing land steward leaders and I want to fix it.

Throughout my travels visiting farms and working with “permaculture entrepreneurs” it has become clear to me just how inwardly focused the mass culture has become. Not only is narcissism rampant, its often rewarded.

As a result, instead of “those-who-grow” growing communities and the earth, they sow destruction.

In order for these eco-doers to obtain their ideals, they need to look outward

Have you ever seen a person work their passion so intensely that they shut out others? Have you seen people lose relationships, miss growth opportunities, and fail to reach their potential because of their “passion?”

Steve the farmer started from the dirt up. At the ripe age of 30, he was living in a tent outside an old lady’s home. Yet he was productive. Within 4 years, having left the tent behind he began renting a house on 5 acres and built a successful farmers market and local sprout business.

If you visited his home, he will give you grand tours of his farm and sprout room he produces and delivers sprouts locally.

During this time, people became attracted to Steve because of his work ethic, quality crops, and extreme passion for growing and healthy food. Steve, always friendly at the markets, is quite the person to visit with.

If you visited Steve at the market you might see a new friendly face working with him.

“This is my girlfriend” – Steve would say.

Over the years Steve became very fond of a few girls, yet for each relationship, at least one that he married, they never worked out.

There has been many workers that worked with Steve. Things always start out great and motivational, but there was always something, in the end.

With everyone one of these relationship failures there was at least 1 reason. But there was something that Steve couldn’t piece between them all. He failed to see the common denominator. Steve.

Steve is responsible for his relationships. All of them.

Steve’s problems were not the outside party that was setting his wife off in a legal dispute, or that his fiancee was “abusive”, it was the fact Steve could not rise to the occasion to make himself available for his partners.

He distances himself from people who start to become unproductive. Why they’re unproductive, Steve, like many, have no consideration for, even though the efforts of others are crucial for his stability and survival.

Steve’s a doer, not a leader.

A Leadership Academy for the next generation

The many experiences and stories I have interacted with over the years, compels me to create a Leadership Academy.

This leadership academy (currently named the Sanctuary Leadership Academy) will take the next generation of people, teach them how to tend land, produce their own basic resources, and turn them into leaders who use influence for action.

Upon completion of the academy the students will be connected with mentor leaders who will put them into opportunities for them to lead.

Through the mentor’s guidance and their own faculties these newly minted leaders will take on responsibility far beyond what their peers, elders or parents might think possible.

This Leadership Academy will not only be transformational for the student, but for the communities they are deployed to.


3. Knowing Your Place

People can lead and influence others without knowing that is what they’re doing. I’ve nicknamed this “the unconscious leader.” The unconscious leader, generally is a person who has drive in a particular direction that has caught the attention of others. Through the natural processes of making friends this leader opens up space for others to interact with the drive that they have.

Because the unconscious leader, does not know that they are “leading” their abilities to maximize those around them is limited. Others can even come into conflict with their in-the-moment personal desires.

A Critical Situation Was Born

In 2002, I started a band named “A Critical Situation” with friends in high school. Because I had a drive to create music, friends around me, who had no desire to play, began picking up instruments. Kyle picked up the bass, Jon picked up guitar, and Chris played the drums. Magically, one day, a band was formed.

Little did I know how much frustration was going to follow by not intentionally leading this band.

Kyle didn’t want to play an instrument, he just wanted to hang out with us so his playing never improved.

Jon really was a better frontman and singer than guitarist.

And Chris had the worst rhythm and stamina. He needed intentional practice.

Worst of all, I really wanted to create music not necessarily perfect the craft of playing music.

Ignoring our inability to play musical instruments, it took two years to get “A Critical Situation” into a well ordered machine.

What the band needed was stepping back, getting intentional, and reordering everyone.

Instead of unconsciously bringing my friends into this music, fixing the band required getting rid of those not committed to improvement. Our friend Mark, who was already practicing and playing bass, became our bass player.

James another friend of ours, who was already a guitarist stepped in to replace Jon allowing him to become the frontman.

An Chris got the practice that he needed.

A Critical Situation became the punk rock master piece that I had envisioned two years before. What made the band possible was becoming conscious about decisions and choices.

Leaders don’t have to know they are leading.

At the time, I never considered why any of my friends wanted to play music. I assumed they were like me, but if they were they would have started a band before I did. I know now, they wanted to play music because I created a vision for our punk band and put everything I had into making that vision a reality.

Every time there was a new problem, we needed new gear, something would break, music didn’t work out, I’d step in to fix it. The band, and making good music, became a mild obsession of mine.

Even in this moment now, it is difficult to see the band outside of what were my own desires.

However, it was the vision of what could be and my determination to make it so, that drove my friends to help me create the band.

I began my life as an unconscious leader.

In the end, it took another 12 years before I finally understood why I have attracted people. That is when I became conscious.