The most powerful form of influence

648341_1379364303.1241What do you think most people would do if they found $40,000 on the street?  This is exactly what happened last September to Glen James, a homeless Boston man who found a backpack with over $40,000 in it.  James flagged down a police car and handed in the backpack.  The police located the distraught owner, an overseas student and reunited him with his backpack.  For his actions, James received a citation at Boston police headquarters and was widely praised.  But wait – there’s more!

James’s story compelled Ethan Whittington, a 27-year-old from Virginia – a complete stranger who had never been to Boston – to launch a fund for James.  In four hours, Whittington’s campaign raised $3,152, but in a few days, the tally soared to almost $100,000.  Whittington said he planned to keep the fund open for as long as people wanted to give.

Whittington said, “It’s just inspiring to see somebody do an honourable thing like that.  If everybody could have the humanity that he did that day, it’d be a special thing.”
And the money keeps growing as James’ actions move people all over America.  Whittington thinks a home is now a reasonable goal for James, a softly spoken man in his mid-50s who has been living on the streets for five years.  Glen James changed his life simply by being who he was: an honest human being.

This is the most powerful form of influence: influence not by doing, but by being.  And it’s so hard.  I know I often let out a precautionary shout in many situations, particularly with my family ‘Do as I say, not as I do!’ And in leadership this is also our daily challenge.

So who are you being?  Please comment, I love hearing from you.

Related Posts
  • john phillips

    His action was truly admirable and selfless. However just thinking more deeply about that; I would have to think hard as to whether in a similar situation would I be so charitable. How many other times and instances have ocurred where selfless acts like that have been done and gone by completely unknown or ignored etc.
    I suspect thousands of instances !!

  • Sundar Rajamanickam

    Truly a noble act of James and a human follow-up by Whittington to promote such noble acts. We must also recognize our maids and security personnel in the apartment, who are so selfless and take care of us and our assets all the time. Some small acts we can do in our daily lives is a) Return excess change returned by the store keeper or at the restaurant b) Find short billing and have the bill corrected. These small acts can prevent the staff from being penalized

  • Reply

    A truly inspiring story. Thanks for deepening my personal connection to the power and partnership between being, acting with integrity , showing up , deeply caring, getting beyond self interest and how these actions and choices by their very nature are the greatest ways we as leaders can influence. A fabulous insight thank you Yamini.

    With gratitude

    • Yamini Naidu

      Nicola thank you so much – you have beautifully articulated what this is all about. Such powerful lessons for all of us.

  • Reply

    hi yamini,
    a truly inspiring story; thanks for sharing this story with us; truly motivating and a great example of influence;
    thank you, dinesh

Leave Your Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.