Student at SIM-University of Buffalo
Former Halogen Events Intern

What does influence mean to you?

Influence to me, is one’s ability to bring and also to take away another’s motivation to become better versions of themselves. Some of us are aware of the influence that we bring, whether it is one that encourages others to pick themselves up when facing various challenges or one that advocates nonchalance and passivity. It is in our own awareness of the influence that we can bring, that we have the privilege of being someone who helps others in the process of becoming. With that comes great responsibility to steward the influence that we have, to bring about beneficial progression or idle indifference.

What are some memories/experience of influence being exercised in your life? (Share a halogen memory if applicable)

When I was still an Events Intern at Halogen, I was conducting an academic training in one of the secondary schools and the class that I had the privilege of meeting was one that struggled with their academics. Halfway through the training, a female student raised her hand and asked me, “what’s the point of this leadership development training when everyone thinks that we are the worse class?”

I was taken aback by her abrupt question that seemed to stem from a place of low self esteem and motivation. Being “labeled” as being in the worst class she felt that the education that she was receiving didn’t matter anymore. It is as if everyone else in the class felt the same way too as they look up to me expecting an answer that would satisfy. I know that these students have heard countless numbers of “encouraging” talks in the process of making sense of where they were at, thus I shared my own journey from being in a neighborhood school and from being in one of the classes that is vastly like the one they were in now. Sharing from a position of a trainer had such a different impact as compared to the various times I’ve shared about my secondary school days; the students weren’t listening to just a speaker anymore. They were listening to an older brother who has felt what they were feeling and could tell them with confidence that grades do not define who they are and limit what they could accomplish. Even though I did not manage to speak to them after the session, I knew that my journey resonated with some as seen from the nodding of heads during my sharing and I left knowing that I’ve had the chance to plant seeds of hope in many of the younger ones that day.

How has your time with Halogen impacted the way you exercise influence (in your everyday life)?

When I first joined Halogen, I had no idea what I would be doing with regards to my future career. I had lost interest in engineering after 3 years of studying in Temasek Polytechnic and with the time that I had before enlisting for National Service, I decided to apply for Halogen’s Internship program not knowing what to expect. I think one thing that Halogen has equipped me with is the broadening of my world view and perspective with regards to what I want to do with my life in the future. The process taught me that it is okay to not have everything figured out in moments when we fear the unknown, but to take progressive steps whenever and wherever we can to make the best of our abilities. I’ve learnt that everyone has their own unique gift to offer and it is through the various instances interacting with the youths in their schools that made me realize that I have something to equip them with through my own experiences. As much as I hope to empower the youths of tomorrow, I have been empowered to live my life boldly by embracing my own set of gifts and uniqueness because of them. The way I exercise influence is from a position of knowing that everyone has something of value to bring to others and we should all respect each other’s giftings knowing that each of us offer something uniquely different. To proactively steward our giftings and to honor the giftings of others, that is how Halogen impacted the way I exercise influence.

What do you think is the potential of influence?

Influence can be for a moment, but it can also last a lifetime. I personally feel that the potential of influence is endless whether one stewards it positively or negatively. I believe that having influence over another individual can change the course of his or her life in a unique way. Influence does not necessary come only from having face to face communications but also through various ways. We read books from our favorite authors, we listen to music and pay special attention to lyrics that resonate the most with our hearts, we are also influenced by the actions of others through our daily life. The key is to ask ourselves whether we are aware of the influence we are under and the influence that we can bring about to the people around us. I’ve witnessed individuals having breakthroughs in their life challenges because of another’s positive influence on them, I’ve also wrestled with how negative influence from another can affect the lives of others in ways that are not desirable and lastly, I’ve had the privilege to witness how initial negative influences take root and then eventually transforms to brings hope and joy in the lives of others. The potential of influence corresponds to our stewardship of the influence that we bring, let us be mindful of our influence and choose daily to build others up in love.