The Influencer’s Toolkit: 7 Essentials for Changing the World

Imagine hundreds, thousands or millions of lives blessed by your story.

Imagine your message spread far and wide.

Imagine consistently producing ideas that improve the world.

Imagine all the good that you will do.

The world needs you to fully amplify your creative work. I want to help you do that.

And when I say creative work I mean any…

  • Thought
  • Story
  • Idea
  • Or piece of content

…that you have or will share with another person.

We all have creative work in us.

There’s never been a better time to make your mark on the world.

The Internet and mobile technology give you an unprecedented ability to get attention, share your message and make an impact.

How to Change the World

For the last ten years, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs, content creators and thought leaders to help them build an online presence.

Each of them started with a desire to change their life and change the world.

I’ve seen a mother from Austin, Texas save a baby’s life in Oman, participate in leading research and get published in professional journals just because she had the courage to share her own experience of enduring a high-risk pregnancy.

I’ve seen a pediatric doctor turn one of his biggest failures into a thriving non-profit in India and a six-figure business.

I’ve seen one woman use her story of losing 170 pounds into a thriving community of other men and women dedicated to reclaiming their own health and happiness.

The story inside of you is your greatest asset for changing the world.

In a moment, I’ll share seven tools that you’ll need in order to influence others and change the world.

First, I have a confession…

A Confession of Doubt

For years I’ve let fear, doubt and perfectionism prevent me from creating my best content and sharing my best ideas.

I’ve suppressed my true voice and the conviction with which I share it.

I’ve procrastinated the execution of my best ideas. I listened to the voice that says.

  • What if my ideas aren’t as good as I think they are?
  • What if people criticize me?
  • What if no one even cares?
  • You’re not ready yet
  • So-and-so is better at writing/speaking/influencing than me
  • Any day people will figure out that I’m faking it

It seems silly that I still struggle with this after ten years of creating content online.

But the first step to overcoming the problem is to admit it, right?

It’s OK if you doubt. That’s why I share this. Because together we will overcome doubt, fear and procrastination.

My Promise to You

Here’s the commitment to myself and my challenge to YOU.

No more giving in to doubt and fear. It’s time to AMPLIFY!

I re-launched this blog to kick doubt in the teeth.

Through this blog I will help you (and me) to have a greater impact in the world by sharing your message, telling your story and executing your ideas more fully, freely and effectively.

As I prepared for the re-launch, I made a short list the tools you’ll need in order amplify your message and impact the world.

Incidentally, this list also gives you an idea of the topics that I’d like to discuss as we move forward.

So here you have it…

The Influencer’s Toolkit

1. The Desire to Change the World with Your Voice

If you are reading this, it’s safe to say you already have that desire.

The next step is to believe that you can and will make a difference.

2. A Belief that You Can Make a Difference

Renowned psychologist, Albert Bandura, calls the belief in your ability to succeed self-efficacy.

Without self-efficacy, your results are limited. Your subconscious thoughts work against your desired goals.

People often ask me the difference between entrepreneurs that succeed and those that give up.

My answer is:

The entrepreneurs that succeed just keep going.

People with a strong sense of self-efficacy cope better with unexpected challenges. They weather the storm.

To impact the world with your ideas, you have to keep going.

Topics to Discuss

  • How to persevere in the face of creative challenges
  • How to build self-efficacy, boosting your belief in your work

3. Clarity about Your Purpose

People are motivated by a desire to be part of something larger than themselves. This sense of purpose also boosts performance and income

A study conducted by Wharton School of Business shows us how.

In the study, researchers worked with two groups of phone center workers whose job it was to raise money for scholarship recipients.

The first group interacted for five minutes with students that benefited from their fundraising. The other group of call-center workers did not meet the students.

A month later, the group that had interacted with the students raised a weekly average of $503.22. The group that did not interact with the students raised a weekly average of only $185.94.

A sense of meaning boosts motivation, productivity and income.

Topics to Discuss

  • How to define a purpose for your work that benefits something “larger than you.” and boosts your income
  • How to effectively communicate your purpose to the world

4. Creative Confidence

According to Tom and David Kelly, creative confidence is the “natural human ability to come up with breakthrough ideas and the courage to act on them.”

Natural human ability. We all have it!

But you have to work for it. Creativity is not lightning in a bottle.

As Stephen Pressfield teaches us in, The War of Art, professional creatives show up every day. Amateurs wait for inspiration.

Stephen King sits down to write EVERY day at 8:30am. This creative habit has made him one of the most prolific and successful authors of our time.

Topics to Discuss

  • How to find your personal flavor of creativity
  • How to build a creative habit and consistently produce breakthrough ideas

5. Laser-Like Focus

Your desire to change the world makes you a visionary.

Visionaries by nature are multi-faceted, multi-talented people with ideas that multiply like rabbits.

Visionaries feel compelled to chase every rabbit. The problem is that rabbits eventually lead us to rabbit holes.

Chasing every idea is inefficient. It’s at odds with your other desire to make ideas happen and impact the world.

Without focus, you remain stuck in a spiral of frustration and overwhelm.

Topics to Discuss

  • How to capture and organize the ideas in your head.
  • How to create habits and systems to capture your ideas and hone your efforts.
  • How to focus on what matters most right now

6. Clarity about Who You Want to Serve

Who is the ideal person that you want to impact with your work?

Everyone? Too broad. You’ll get lost in the noise and serve no one.

To snap people out of their busy lives, get them to pay attention and make real change, you have to know your target audience like you know your best friend.

You must develop a powerful empathy for them. You must understand what they think, feel and desire.

This is how you become a welcome guest in the conversation already going in their mind. This is how you begin to generate influence.

The only way to develop the empathy required for influence is to niche down and then niche down again.

Topics to Discuss

  • How to define your ideal audience
  • How to develop empathy for your audience
  • How to read your audience’s mind

7. An Abundance of Attention

Your message only has impact if it gets heard. Attention, however, is scarce.

Thousands of communications a day interfere with your attempts to reach your target audience. Just think about all the notifications you get on your phone in a day. And that is just ONE communication channel.

Umar Haque says we now live in an “attention economy” where attention is the scarcest resource. This makes it the most valuable asset for anyone with a product to sell or a message to share.

Making an impact in the world and making money from your message all starts with getting the attention of your ideal audience.

You have to know how to stand out from the noise

Topics to Discuss

  • How to create content that captivates your target audience
  • How to keep attention long enough to make an impact and make money
  • How to build a brand that cuts through the noise like a saw through cheddar cheese

This list of tools is just the beginning. But for now we have a great list of topics to discuss together.

I’m thrilled to go on this journey with you.




Now that I’ve confessed to you, I’d like to know I’m not alone in this.

Can you share with me your struggles and feelings when it comes to sharing your message online?

Also, will you commit now to be an influencer and continually amplify your message?

Let’s chat about it in the comments below.

44 replies
  1. Cory Huff
    Cory Huff says:

    “For years I’ve let fear, doubt and perfectionism prevent me from creating my best content and sharing my best ideas.”

    If someone like you can admit this is a problem, then I can too. Thanks Jason.

    My biggest struggle with sharing ideas online is making the production values high enough quality that people will listen. I’m often afraid people will think I’m a 2-bit huckster who doesn’t put in the work.

    • Jason Van Orden
      Jason Van Orden says:

      Our highest priced product was $6000. The videos that we used to sell that coaching course were ROUGH. We had one mic that we passed back and forth. The resolution wasn’t great. We were just sitting in our casual clothes on the beach in lounge chairs. But we sold out.

      Granted, expectations have gone up a bit when it comes to production quality, but in the end is the value of what you say that matters the most.

  2. Jan Koch
    Jan Koch says:

    Wow, what a statement!

    Jason, you’re one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs and educators for me and during my journey so far I experienced every single aspect you mentioned.

    It’s challenging to keep going in tough times, but it’s just like you say. To keep going makes the difference.

    For me it’s not that I’m hesitant to share my feelings or thoughts online, but to hit the tone my audience want’s to hear. I like to write in my own voice, without thinking to much about how I say things. I feel like using certain pricinples of copywriting could destroy my original voice and thus I’m not paying too much attention to copywriting.

    When it comes to creating products and charging for content I need to learn that I can create high value products. Charging money for something that I know feels weird because I think everyone could / should know what I know. I’m getting used to the thought that I’m “special” compared to my followers and I start to feel more confident about charging more and promoting my work heavily.


    • Jason Van Orden
      Jason Van Orden says:


      When I write, I have too many “perfect” principles in my mind. Your approach to just write in your own voice is spot on. I’m glad to hear that your confidence in charging for the value you create is going up.

  3. Emma Davies
    Emma Davies says:

    The part about attention resonated with me. I don’t have enough time to read everything I want to – why should anyone read my stuff as well? A good reminder that attention is a commodity and we need to earn it.

  4. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    I Love it, Jason. Write more like this because I’m going to read it all. I need daily inspiration.

    I have the perfectionism disease also. I stew and fret, and when I think it’s all just how I want it I worry it’s not good enough for everyone else. But guess what? I’ve learned that I’m pickier than about 99% of the world and that one other little percent isn’t even looking at my stuff!

    My goal for 2014 is to jump in faster… and pat myself on the back after I do.

    • Jason Van Orden
      Jason Van Orden says:


      “…that one other percent isn’t even looking at my stuff!” A great mantra for the perfectionist. And even if they do come across your stuff, you don’t want them around so just let them move on.

      And thanks for the encouraging words.

  5. Brandy
    Brandy says:

    My God. Man is there anything you can’t do well? You are truly a thought leader. You truly know how to touch people with your words. I’m looking forward to reading more of your works. Great job Jason!

  6. Sara
    Sara says:

    Jason you have inspired me a lot already. I still have a bit of the what if no one is interested and the what if some one thinks I am a fraud issue going on

      • Danielle Brouwer
        Danielle Brouwer says:

        Thanks for the link on the impostor syndrome, Jason! Very helpful!!

        I landed on your site cos I googled for an explanation on Podcasts – and then I stuck around looking for the tools – but it seems I’ve landed somewhere very special indeed. Just what I needed!


        • Jason Van Orden
          Jason Van Orden says:


          So glad you found my site! I’m so glad you found this post helpful.

          The Impostor Syndrome is a huge problem. It was such a relief to know that others struggled with it like I have. And then when I found an entire site and e-book around the topic, I knew I had to share.

          I look forward to interacting more.

  7. Mike
    Mike says:

    Love this post. There’s so many things I can relate to here. There’s something comforting in the recognition that others face the same challenges and hurdles as you isn’t there? You are not alone. WE are not alone. There’s great strength in that simple realisation, I think.

    Looking forward to future posts!

    This section particularly resonated with me:

    “Visionaries by nature multi-faceted, multi-talented people with ideas that multiply like rabbits. Visionaries feel compelled to chase every rabbit… Chasing every idea is inefficient… Without focus, you remain stuck in a spiral of frustration and overwhelm.”

    I am constantly overwhelmed with ideas for new products & projects & blogs & widgets. It’s like an orchestra swirling around in my head. Man, I would ADORE some guidance on how to work out what matters ‘right now’ and how to stay focussed solely upon that. All three of these “Topics to discuss” are eagerly anticipated ones for me:

    > How to capture and organize the ideas in your head.
    > How to create habits and systems to capture your ideas and hone your efforts.
    > How to focus on what matters most right now.

    This looks like being another awesome, value-packed venture from you Jason – thanks and I look forward to your future posts.

  8. John Maurice
    John Maurice says:

    What can I say Jason – you deliver with class man!

    I liked your phrase in #5 about rabbits leading to rabbit holes – great phrase. I was chatting about this today with a fellow entrepreneur. At some point we have to make a move, even armed with less than sufficient knowledge. I’m in evolution with this, and expect to keep tweaking my performance.

    I’m early in my niche development yet actively pushing forward each day. I’m a little concerned about carving out space to stand out; I’ll be tracking carefully as I put more and more content out there.

    Thanks Jason, I look forward to future posts!

    • Jason Van Orden
      Jason Van Orden says:

      Thanks, John. “It’s never too late to learn guitar” is already an awesome way to connect with a specific audience. You’ll get it dialed in. It sounds like you have a solid mindset and approach to get you there.

  9. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    Jason – I love the re-launch of the blog! Thank you Thank you! I look forward to following along.

    My favorite quote from this post is “Chasing every idea is inefficient. It’s at odds with your other desire to make ideas happen and impact the world.” This is completely describes me right now. I want to read every book someone mentions, listen to new podcasts, follow new blogs and in the end I get nothing accomplished.

    So much has contributed to where I am right now and I’m trying to funnel that into one purpose that will drive me forward to best serve my targeted audience. I struggle with how to tackle this goal every day with a high-level day job with tons of responsibility (a day job I actually love), a family, a 5 year-old daughter, etc. Still trying to find the balance.

    In all of this – the one driving force is that I am creative and I haven’t tapped into that for it for so long (I’m a fine artist/teacher – now art studio manager). I’ve only painted one painting in the last 5 years since my daughter was born, posted it online and someone bought it. I was happy to share it with someone, but sad. Sad at what I’ve been missing by not creating and sharing. It was actually creating a WordPress site that brought me back to the creative world and reminded me of what I’ve been missing. Everyone needs to have that.

    Like you said “We all have creative work in us.”

    • Jason Van Orden
      Jason Van Orden says:


      In the last seven years I’ve written one song. It felt good, but there was a bit of sadness that there hadn’t been more. That said, I have created tons on of Internet content, become a parent and learned a lot about myself. I’ve expanded my definition of creativity and creative output.

      I get it, though. If we don’t give our creative soul its voice, it takes a toll on our happiness.

      BTW, here is that one song. My wife is on vocals. My brother is rapping. I’m playing guitar.

  10. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    Thanks for the reply Jason! I love the concept of expanding the idea of creativity and creative output. When I realized that I was just as excited to build a website in WordPress as I was to paint – I thought to myself…

    It’s not what you create – it’s just that you CREATE, period.

  11. John Kenney
    John Kenney says:

    Two words: “Comments Evolved plugin.” Ok that’s 3 words. Congrats on relaunching. It’s funny because I was thinking of something along the same lines for my new podcast. But I’ve niched down one more step. I’m excited to read more.

    Would you be willing to discuss relationships with me on my podcast in the near future? I’d love to get the “influence” perspective for building trust and that relationship foundation. Love what you do my friend.

  12. Matt
    Matt says:

    Great to find your blog Jason. Nice post and very impressed with your response to comments. Have downloaded the imposters syndrome book. I’ve also looked back and think I’ll need to find time to read the earlier posts!

    • Jason Van Orden
      Jason Van Orden says:

      Thanks, Matt. My earlier posts are from 2005 to 2009. They talk a lot about podcasting and new media. If those topics interest you, you’ll find solid info.

      As of this post, I’m rel-launching the blog and evolving my personal brand. Thanks for reading!

  13. Dan Perry
    Dan Perry says:

    Awesome stuff, Jason!

    I love the topic of influence and this article really resonates with one of my current struggles.

    I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast discussing super powerful principles that I’ve learned along the way, but perfectionism is definitely slowing the process.

    I know I have great ideas to share, I just want them to be presented extremely well.

    However, I don’t look at my perfectionism as holding me back, but driving me to create more value for my audience.

    The pursuit of perfection is only a bad thing if it stops progress.

    Thanks again for the great article!


    • Jason Van Orden
      Jason Van Orden says:


      You make an excellent point. Often these “weaknesses” like perfectionism are just one side of a coin. The other side of the coin is a strength. As you said, it pushed you to create increasingly greater value. Learning that was invaluable. I stopped being so hard on myself about perfectionism. Instead, I put systems in place to manage the downside and leverage the upside.

  14. Susan Rose
    Susan Rose says:

    I like your clean beginning site ~ similar to mine. Clean slate for 2014.
    Yes after losing all my sites – over 30 on BH I am starting all over = clean slate. So many ideas –
    TY and I will keep reading your blog.

  15. Layne
    Layne says:

    I could really resonate with so much of that Jason, and, as others have said, it was somehow very validating and reassuring to hear you say that you have struggled with some of these issues.

    I’m really moving forward at the moment and excited to make 2014 a very special year in terms of making my unique contribution to the world. I’ll certainly be following your blog, I love the topics you mention that you will be exploring. Thanks, I look forward to sharing the journey with you and everyone else here.

  16. Heidi Bender
    Heidi Bender says:

    I love this “The story inside of you is your greatest asset for changing the world.” Very inspiring and gives hope that anyone can change the world with their story.

    • Jason Van Orden
      Jason Van Orden says:

      Hi Heidi,

      I’m so glad that resonated with you. It’s something I truly believe in. I’ve made a mission out of my belief in that statement.

  17. Sandi Eveleth
    Sandi Eveleth says:

    I have to echo Cory’s comments. I often feel exactly the same way. There’s so much fear in putting ourselves “out there”. It definitely is part of being human.

    With posts like this, communities like “IBM”, and your continued encouragement and instruction, I feel like I can really make a “go” of my online business in 2014. Thanks for continuing to remind us that succeeding online (& offline, for that matter) is all about providing exceptional value to others, acting from our inner purposes, and being consistent with focused efforts.

    Looking forward to many more posts to come.

  18. Leanne
    Leanne says:

    Love your nice, crisp, clear site Jason. Good to hear you expand more on these insights.

    Yes rabbits are a huge problem for me still, but I am working on it. Reading more about focus and attention, especially as we begin a new year is something I will be looking forward to from your site.

    Duly placed in my feedly so I do not miss a post.

    Thanks for your continued influence, and wise meaningful words.


  19. Jason Richardson
    Jason Richardson says:

    Thank you for being so bold. Clearly, all of us reading can relate.

    Tony Robbins shared some poignant insight for those of us who are trying to “take action”. It hit me like a ton of bricks. You can skip ahead to about ~14:00.

    Wishing you Success,


  20. Greg Curran
    Greg Curran says:

    Just a brief comment or two, Jason and everyone:

    I feel like I’ve found home. So much of what you all say – resonates with me so strongly as I begin my coaching business.

    Thanks for the inspiration – for showing that we’re not alone – that others have felt like we do – and are soaring ahead. Power to you all (and me!)

  21. Rohan
    Rohan says:

    Thank you Jason. Your post really resonates with me and what I’m trying to achieve with my business, too. I am a strong advocate of purpose also – in my case, helping creative musicians (current and aspiring songwriters and composers) to cut through the years of angst I experienced and get to a place where they feel content and are contributing to the world through their art. For the longest time, I couldn’t find a ‘place’ for my music. But I never stopped creating (nor recording my work). Thankfully, I’m only now discovering why I do what I do – and, you’re right!, it meets a higher purpose. I’m now in the process of establishing my own ‘media company’ that uses my music as a soundtrack for my message. As I like to say, your music (or any form of communication or content) is not the end; it’s the means to an end. You have to decide what the end is – but make it a happy one that inspires and lifts people up – so that they, too, can create … Thanks again for a great post.

  22. Samela
    Samela says:

    I followed you guys around the New Media convention when you were in Las Vegas. I was convinced that I wanted to podcast and blog and all those things. Then I lost the momentum. I’m glad you’re back, because I’m back, too!

    Thank you so much!

  23. Robert Longley
    Robert Longley says:

    Glad to see the new site. You guys continue to reevaluate what works and make adjustments. Influence is largely about connection. Most people’s connection to you is through IBM, I see this as expanding your connections and your influence at the same time. Keep it going.

  24. James
    James says:

    My fear is always that someone else has already done my thing, or that people won’t even care about my thing after I’ve worked my ass off to complete it. In a product-launch fear cycle at the moment, and in a whole-site-launch fear cycle as well. Thanks for sharing, Jason. I hope you stick with this project.

    Also, slight typo in the article – Second section of the “laser focus” section, missing an “are”:

    Visionaries by nature multi-faceted, multi-talented people with ideas that multiply like rabbits.

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