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The 5 Levels of Influence—and How to Rise to the Top

A black pawn surrounded by increasingly larger rings of red, yellow and green pawns.

Mature entrepreneurs understand that leadership really boils down to influence: When people want to follow you, they will work harder to do a good job.

But, like anything else, influence is a skill. That means you must understand it, practice it and strive to improve it always.

A blue graphic laying out five different levels of influence someone can have on others.

The levels I’ve laid out above were derived from John Maxwell’s “The 5 Levels of Leadership” and Robert Cialdini’s “Influence—both recommended reads.

Level 1—We learn to lead staff who obey because we hired them. We improve as a boss by creating systems to follow, evaluating performance and creating opportunities for them to grow in their careers.

Level 2—We learn to inspire staff by talking about our noble purpose, sharing our vision and constantly showing staff how to grow. This includes focused attention on personal growth, which requires evaluation and feedback.

Level 3—We attract others who want to do what we’ve done. Good trainers leave their jobs to join our gym and follow in our footsteps. We inspire clients to become coaches and deliver our model to our clients.

Level 4—Others want to spread what we’ve done because of the difference it’s made in their lives. They bring their friends into our gyms; they encourage people in their networks to apply for jobs we offer. We have more than enough clients and more than enough applicants for work.

Level 5—People want to sign up for anything we do. When I’m at my best, clients at my gym come to see my seminars on leadership and business because they just want to see me. This is sometimes embarrassing—and scary because I don’t want to bore them or let them down—but I’ve learned to just thank them for being there for me.


Self-Improvement for the Win


Influence is the ultimate business model.

Local businesses ask, “How can I work with your gym?” And on a larger scale, I have dozens of requests every month to “partner” with Two-Brain Business.

You’ll get more opportunities, and better ones, when people want to work with you.

But it all starts with being likable.

Nobody wants to listen to an unlikable boss.

Nobody approaches the angry shift supervisor for advice.

Nobody wants to work for a jerk.

Nobody recruits their friends to spend more time with an asshole.

And nobody wants to partner with an angry person.

Look at yourself as objectively as possible: Are you angry? Tired? Overwhelmed?

It shows.

Do something about it.

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One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.