“Grown up” (and influence) is what you make it

September 13, 2009 at 3:48 PM 4 comments

This week I have been feeling old.  I know, I know.  Twenty-two is not old, but I couldn’t help but wonder how I’d gotten to a point where a friend I’ve known since fifth grade is having her first baby.  Today at her baby shower, surrounded by my oldest (and dearest) friends, I realized something: grown up is what you make it.

Growing up it seemed as though adults had their lives together.  They had a stable job, a house and a family.  So when do I get to be a grown-up?  I’m a college graduate still trying to find my place and settle down. When will I be a bona fide adult?

The answer came to me as I was jumping on a trampoline with my best friend.  Of all the places in the world to be!

I have many friends who are getting married and a few starting their families.  I have plenty of friends who are starting their careers in brand-new cities and places.  I also have many a friend who are still unsure where to go next.  Are any of us more adult than the next?

The conversation between bounces turned to those friends we know who are gainfully employed, but want to spend all of their free time going out, hittin’ the bars and just having fun.  We both ended up admitting we wanted to stay at our friend’s baby shower all night but could not.  She needed to return to Madison for pharmacy school, and I needed to drive back to Chicago for work.

So maybe, we decided, we’re grown up because we have to make those decisions.  We may not have all the responsibilities just yet, but our mindset is still the same.

A post written on Friday by a fellow UNC grad came to mind.  Katie Wall wondered how the online greats seem to come up with content that sparks conversation and gets them noticed.  Why can’t I have great influence online?

I think influence, much like “grown up,” is what you make it.  Twice already I have been asked to provide insight and suggestions related to public relations measurement, about which I’m very passionate.  I may not have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but those that do follow me know me for my passion.

I am influential because I have shown my passion for measurement and continue to contribute to the conversation.   It’s important to remember that there is not set number or metric to determine influence (or “grown up”).  Influence is what you make it.

Think about it. How are you influential?


Entry filed under: Growing up, Job search, Life as an intern, Measurement, public relations, Social Media, Twitter. Tags: , , , , , , .

DR. WHAW? – September 11, 2009 DR. WHAW? Sunday Digest – Week-ending September 13, 2009

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tom O'Keefe  |  September 25, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Great post!

    Interesting that you’re so interested in PR measurement, yet can make the distinction between when numbers are adequate and when they are not necessarily the best measure, like in influence. Others may have many more followers than you or I, but we both know that the number of followers someone has, does not necessarily translate to influence.

    How am I influential? I’m passionate about PR, sports, social media, education, and service. I really hope I can help people in those areas as well as learn from others in their sphere of influence.


    Tom O’Keefe

  • 2. Bryna  |  October 7, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    I realized during my time in politics (still there, but not in election mode, thank goodness) that most ‘adults’ fake being adults anyway. Why stress about it? Life is long, and too often we define our own by what others are doing. I have seen a lot of very grown-up, influential people make good and bad decisions. I’ve seen leaders of countries ask their secretaries for help making big decisions. Adulthood is simply a category we’ve made to define age. I hope to never be too grown-up that I can’t enjoy a good bounce on a trampoline, then throw on heels for a business meeting an hour later. Influence, is what you make it. I’ve had people come to me in surprising ways to tell me that my work has affected them. I always appreciate it, because I know a lot of the things I do stem from a childhood love and passion for others–especially those in developing nations. I don’t care about being the biggest name in PR or communications; I’ve discovered the joy of serving others from behind the scenes. I can’t reach everyone. I can’t affect everyone. But never underestimate the power of speaking to the heart of a single person. Doing that shows real maturity. Great post Rebecca!

    • 3. Rebecca Denison  |  October 7, 2009 at 10:57 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

      You’re exactly right. Sometimes it feels like some of my friends are trying to act more grown up because we’ve graduated and no longer supposed to be kids. But I think I show that I’m an adult in different ways, like you say, I can jump on a trampoline but know when it’s time to get down to work.

      There have been a couple folks on Twitter who consistently come to me for questions about measurement, and it always blows me away. It’s incredible to me that I have influence over even one person, and I’m happy to play my role. 🙂

  • 4. Charlotte Barker  |  October 7, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    Great post Rebecca! I think influence is all about passion. You influence people by being in love with what you talk about. This reminds me of a TED talk I watched where Benjamin Zander talks about classical music – his passion is incredible. http://bit.ly/gEhHA

    I’m passionate about social media, advertising and animal welfare. We all influence people differently and like everything else, it’s not about quantity but quality. Providing insight and influence to a small group of people who appreciate it and reciprocate is just as influential as the big guys just on a smaller scale. I always think that having a big positive impact and making a difference to one person is much more incredible than making a ‘sort of’ impact on many people.



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