You’ve heard of the power of compound interest and likely experienced it either in a positive or negative way when trying to save money. Einstein even called it the eighth wonder of the world. What is the most powerful element of compound interest? Time. The earlier you begin the process of saving, the more growth can happen!
Finances are important and can bring tremendous returns over time, but what has even more potential for impact with the right investments? People. The impact you can have by investing your most precious resource (time) into people is what I call compound influence.
We are all the result of the influence of many, but in my story, one person took the time to teach, train, encourage, and develop me as a leader for three years, from when I was eighteen until I turned twenty-one. That season marked my life and helped me see that I had significant potential to make a difference in the lives of others. For the thirteen years since then, I’ve lived a very different life because of that time of development.
My mentor impacted three actual years of my life, and therefore human history. But if I live to be one hundred years old, you could say he impacted eighty-two years of human history because my life will never be the same. Yet it goes far deeper than that. I’ve had the chance, over the past thirteen years, to invest in hundreds of other lives, as he did in mine. When you’ve been given a gift, the most rewarding thing in the world is to give it away!
The math is easy. If I impact only an average of ten lives per year, and those people have an average of fifty years of life remaining, I have the chance to impact more than 41,000 years of human history. Talk about a return on investment! That’s not even considering the impact those people have on others.
Considering compound influence changes the way we have conversations with our coworkers, sit in staff meetings, and invest in young leaders at our companies; it also impacts the way we see our own children. If you can believe in someone, speak potential into them, and help them grasp the power of the time they’ve been given, you can truly leave a legacy of change with the days you have been given.
Here are five key principles that can help you capitalize on your time to create compound influence:
Reflect on how people have used their time to impact your life.
Consider who in your circle of influence you can develop.
Remember that time is the scarcest and most valuable asset we have. Most everything else can be replaced in some way…but not time.
Schedule how you will use time intentionally today to move others forward.
Remove aspects of your calendar that aren’t bringing you a solid return.
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
—Henry David Thoreau
Time is written by Aaron Kruse