Erica OGrady: “Make people around you more successful than you are.” – @ericaogrady
This quote was lifted from a tremendously informative article I read this morning called “60 Ways to Increase Your Influence,” featured on the Copyblogger blog. The whole article provides fantastic insight from pioneers who have built their influence all across the World Wide Web. But Erica’s quote stuck out the most to me because A) I firmly believe in her message, and B) It makes reference to my all-time favorite professional wrestler.
Anyone who knows me well is fully aware that I love professional wrestling. Through the industry’s ups and downs, I’ve stayed loyal and followed the product. Though sometimes turning away, something always brings me back. I’ve been watching since I was five, and 25 years later, my addiction to the “male soap opera” still burns on.
My all-time favorite is Nature Boy Ric Flair. For those who aren’t familiar with wrestling circles (or are too proud to admit it. C’mon, we know you’re tuning in every week!), Flair was the influential force behind the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1980′s. He owned the title of World Heavyweight Champion a record 16-times in his illustrious career and had the ability to play the babyface (good guy) or the heel (bad guy) to impeccable perfection. Whether he was the guy you loved or the guy you hated, he knew exactly how to get a reaction from the crowd.
Many casual wrestling fans relate the sport to Hulk Hogan, mainly because he had the marketing machine of the World Wrestling Federation, now known as World Wrestling Entertainment, behind him. But I share the same viewpoint as Flair himself: “If the NWA had the ability and budget to market their characters the way the WWF did, Hulk Hogan would’ve been in the first match of the night.”
One of Flair’s greatest attributes, of which he has several, and it’s the one that relates closest to Erica’s aforementioned quote, was his ability to make his opponent, no matter who he was, look like an absolute superstar. He could take a virtual unknown and make him look like wrestling’s “next big thing.”
His legendary feuds with wrestlers like Terry Funk, Lex Luger, Sting and Ricky Steamboat put those wrestlers on the map. And although they were “over” in their own right, Flair’s ability to transform them into championship material truly put them over the top.
Even today, at the tender age of 61, he’s still putting guys over and making them look like gods among men. Wrestling and managing in TNA Wrestling, he’s currently in a battle with youngster Jay Lethal and doing the same thing he’s done for every other wrestler he’s squared off against: making him look great.
The ability to make all those around you better not only builds your influence and authority, it shows you genuinely care about the results of others. And that, folks, is what it’s all about.
Focusing solely on yourself and your own results will trap you in a one-dimensional lull in which there is no escaping. The most influential people in any niche did not get to that point by focusing only on #1. They’ve taken on the responsibility of being an influential person full-bore and made it their mission to aid in the education and development of everyone they come in contact with.
The proof is in the pudding. If you want to be a success, your focus needs to be on the success of others. It’s a time-honored tradition as consistent as gravity. Instead of worrying about your results, focus on helping others get theirs…and watch your own seamlessly fall into place.
And from the Ric Flair supporters out there…can I get a big ‘WOOOOOOOOOOO!!’