The Influencers

shark-1454245_1280My friend and one of my 155 mentors in life and business, Ms. Angela Tristam of Whistle Inc. is going swimming with sharks. I am not sure if she is crazy or brave.  Maybe both?  I can assure you I will never be swimming with sharks.  Or dolphins either..look up dolphins and rape on the internet and you will find out they are actually pretty large assholes as a species.  Not as bad as sea otters, but still, not as darling as Disney would have you believe.

Her trip reminds me of when my husband and I were in training for foster care.  We had to do a group activity where you were stranded in the water and had to prioritize what you would take with you from the boat.  It was one of those activities that shows how you interact with others and to test your decision making process in times of peril.  I remember my group all pretty much insisted food was the most important item.  I, being far wiser than five other people decided that shark repellent was the number one item. If sharks eat us, then no time for us to eat our own food!  Yes, shark repellent is the answer!

Slowly but with a clear vision, I convinced our group to put shark repellent above food in our priorities.  I was maybe 28 at the time, and my group had various ages and professions but I was able to convince them all to put shark repellent above food.  They did not just get bored or annoyed with me; I actually convinced each one to change their vote and that not being eaten by sharks was THE most important part of survival.  I mean, didn’t they all watch Jaws???

I was maybe more than a little embarrassed when I found out that shark repellent wasn’t a real thing.  Read that again: There is NO such thing as shark repellent, yet I, Jenn Hayward, convinced other sane and logical adults that this was the most important item for survival.  I am glad it was just an interactive exercise, or I would have been responsible for the deaths of these fine people.  That is the one drawback to being an influencer; we are not always right.

An influencer can either be someone through charisma, charm, intelligence or just sheer snake oil salesmanship can convince other people what is trendy, how to do things, or even to floss!  I guess looking back I have always been this person.  Part control freak, part influencer, and part comedian, I have often been able to influence people that I have worth, that I am a good person and a good investment.  Whether that is fundraising for charities, attending a comedy event or lending me $20 to go gambling (okay this hasn’t happened in four years), I am able to influence others.

I have convinced my husband to let me go away for seven weeks on a global leadership change program with no income support for my family.  Is this one of the decisions that will be like shark repellent?  Am I taking my family down the rabbit hole, only to be eaten my the sharks of life?  I feel that pressure sometimes.  I feel that fear, but in the words of Susan Powter, I am going to “feel the fear and do it a anyways!”.  When life gives you once in a lifetime opportunities, you really do have to grab them!  So off I do on August 20th.  I hope to learn from these women leaders across the world, to help influence them and to learn how to come and influence others.   I hope to also get more comedy material as well, because all this weight loss is certainly taking my edge off and I am losing jokes with every pound lost (over 100 so far).

So cheers to Angela for her brave (if she lives) and possibly stupid (if she dies) choice to swim with sharks.  I want to influence her to get some shark repellent, but as a person of integrity I will only influence on things I know to be real, true and amazing.  With that in mind, please reserve seats for our fundraising show in Ottawa on August 16th!  You won’t be sorry!  Free shark repellent for everyone!

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