I once had a spontaneous chat with a guy named Joe. He and his friendly pup were sitting outside a local convenience store. Stopping in for a cool drink on that hot/humid typical North Carolina day, I was unknowingly about to have a dynamic conversation with someone who appeared to be homeless. Joe seemed to be a storefront “resident” accustomed to being perched on his upside-down bucket. And he was collectively embraced by the steady stream of locals who strolled past him.

Our riveting conversation began with a simple smile and friendly greeting. As Joe and I talked, his captivating homeless journey began to unwind.

I sat down and Joe told me about the series of things that led to his homelessness. It all began with significant losses. The devastating loss that could happen to any of us, at any time.

Joe was bright, engaging, and wise. His knowledge base across multiple industries and professions was surprising. His awareness of neurobiology and physics was most compelling to me that day; we also discussed brainwave frequency, mindfulness, and meditation theory. He was educated, he was thoughtful, and he was articulate.

Still, Joe was homeless.

We closed our conversation that day with a hug and agreed to stay connected. I did see him the next year, and he excitedly shared his successes – he was working as an entrepreneurial landscaper, he bought a small truck, and had just leased his apartment. I was overjoyed to hear the positive update and witness his pride at his strides.

An influencer is defined as a person who can affect the character, development, or behavior of someone or something else.

What was truly remarkable about Joe was his winning attitude, his effervescent personality, and his contagious state of awe. He was a happy, engaging person, regardless of circumstances.

When I watch the video of us chatting that day, it reminds me that genuine influence isn’t something you buy or even something we buy into. Real influence is a gift to be given and received, and it is something to be shared, with integrity. It is more about reciprocal trust.

Joe was an influencer.

Joe is endearingly remembered and I doubt I was the only person he positively impacted. He reminded me of valuable lessons regarding influence.We might think of today’s influencers as celebrity movie stars, athletes, or media rockstars. And we have watched many rise and fall from social grace in epic missteps and tragic stories of human demise. There are influencers all around us — regardless of their social media numbers.

Sadly, we live in a world that fosters and encourages fame and monetary fortune, through the lens of cloudy cultural mores and norms. It’s eas to be ‘that’ type of  influencer – just purchase likes and followers in calculated efforts to be seen as an influencer, creating an illusion that resembles a magical transformation.

Joe reminded me of what an influencer really is,

That is, each, and every one of us is an influencer. Whether we want to be or not, we affect people around us. Whether we are working within our teams or our families, or our clients and friendships. Every relationship is influenced by our facial cues and body gestures, our verbal tone, inflection, and intonation, and our communication style. The colors we wear, and the condition of our environments influences others. The way we react or respond to outside influences matters.

We all have an impact. It starts with each of us and ripples outward.

One of the biggest influencers in my life was my beloved, late husband, Dave Jenks, shown at right. Dave was widely considered one of the most powerful influencers the real estate industry has seen in the last three decades. Much like Joe, Dave was full of awe at the possiblities the world offered. He, too, never met a stranger and lifted others up as he crossed paths. I learned such valuable life lessons with Dave that have shaped my work as a professional holistic coach.

Want to tap into your team’s social skills and empathy development?  Consider Emotional Intelligence Training and Development which is a perfect pairing to the extensive technical and pragmatic training seen so often across the Real Estate industry.This applies to corporate or small business relationships. Building better social skills diminishes the interpersonal divide, and it benefits everyone.

It’s a great time for EACH OF US to adopt, embrace the term INFLUENCER, and uphold it ethically.

Gina Waterfield-Jenks is a transformational speaker, trauma sensitive holistic coach, and clinical hypnotist.She brings a global understanding of human interaction and

behavior to her thriving speaking and coaching business. Her travel, through the military and independently, to different cultures around the world has given her a

deep insight that profoundly and positively impacts her ability to help people transform their lives. Gina is a mom to five children, grandmother to 14,

and currently lives in Dallas, Texas. She can be contacted at