Working with thought leaders on shaping their speaking platform is an incredible privilege. And one of my speakers, Dr. Wayne Pernell, is asking us to rethink what it means to be an influencer. He believes that by stepping into the role of outfluencer, we can move beyond influence to significance leaving lasting legacy that will rehumanize our global community.

Tricia: When did you come to know that being an influencer was no longer enough for you?

Wayne: Huh! Funny… I, uh, never really thought of myself as an influencer. I grew up going along to get along. Even though I earned my doctorate in clinical psychology and held executive positions in some pretty big companies, and even as I consulted with firms from finance to retail, from insurance to security, I never felt like an “influencer.”

Tricia: When did you become aware of what an influencer was?

Wayne: The trend went from boot camp to academy to institute to influencer. I guess I saw who “influencers” were online and never associated myself as “that.” So, being not-that, I knew I wanted to – needed to – make a difference.

I wasn’t sure that’s who I wanted to be to get my message out there. Being an influencer the way “influencers” showed up and showed off, didn’t align with me.

To really be aligned, I help people show up with more presence. They can’t do that if they hold the spotlight on themselves. Presence is about showing up in a way that deliberately, actively, and positively uplifts others.

Tricia: Talk to me about presence.

Wayne: Presence and being in alignment come out of the development of values. My personal values have evolved. Each of us have values that have evolved.

Our identity is tied to our values. Who you were 20 years ago reflects the values you had then. Sure, you have your core values of love, integrity, family, and even working hard. But the things you valued in your twenties – most of it was thrill-based – that’s not what you value in your thirties, which is pretty much about building a solid, stable foundation for yourself. And in your forties, you’re looking at building lasting legacy. In our fifties and beyond, we still hold our core values, but our peripheral values continue to change. We look at our health, getting some adventure back in our lives, and even giving back in some way.

That’s why being an “influencer” never aligned with me. I guess I’ve stepped into the role of being an “outfluencer”.

Tricia: How do you define outfluencer, Wayne?

Wayne: An outfluencer takes us past the “look at me” values, through the success values and into the values of lifting others.

Truly giving back and lifting others goes beyond influence and creates significance. Once people know that, you can step into significance at any age; even people in their twenties can engage in the path of significance by redefining success. And people in their seventies and beyond… it’s definitely not too late! Heck, my dad started a preschool when he was 95!

Tricia: Success at any age, tell me more about this idea as an outfluencer.

Wayne: It’s simple. Success is what you gain along the way.
Significance is all about how you lift others on the journey.
Part of my platform is deliberately, actively, positively lifting others in order to rehumanize the global consciousness.

Tricia: What does rehumanize mean to you?

Wayne: This is such a deeply heart-centered word for me. We have over seven billion people on the planet. We’re more connected now than ever before and yet, we’re so badly disconnected at the same time. We often miss the people right in front of us.

Even with something as massive as a global pandemic we’re still so disconnected. We’re so focused on everything else besides being human – Think about our co-workers, service workers, and even family members, we haven’t stepped out of ourselves to look someone else in the eye. Do you know the eye color of the last person you talked to? Can you hold eye contact for the count of two? I know that the delivery person dropping off my last parcel had brown eyes, even though he and I were probably a little more than six feet away. I could’ve focused on the parcel. I focused on him.

We help other people know that they matter when we put the human element back into our engagement. That’s rehumanization. It’s so easy to discount others because what we’re doing is OHHH Soooo important. And it might be important. That’s no reason to ignore other humans who are right there in front of you.

We each get to step into do this. Each of us has the power to make a difference that does beyond the personal that’s right in front of us. It literally Starts With One.

This is where the accountable “I* comes from. We have a problem in that, we believe that others will take care of something, if it’s that big of a deal. In social psychology, the concept is called Diffusion of responsibility. Each of us as individuals must be accountable to a global community.

And each of us can do that. It’s just a matter of practice, one person at a time!

Right now, we’re seeing people craving connection. Harlow did some studies back in the 1950s and 1960s with baby monkeys who were separated from their mothers. His research was widely quoted, not so much anymore. What we know now from that research and subsequent studies is that we have a literal “contact need.”

At the grocery store, I watch as people pass each other in fear. We’re afraid of connecting even though we crave contact so badly. It costs nothing to look up and smile. Look someone in the eye and smile from behind your mask. See if you can get the other person to light their light.

We used to talk about “being kind.” What we need now goes beyond kindness. We really do need to rehumanize those we encounter. The antidote to fear is rehumanization. We’re all in this together and we can, EACH of us can, make a difference to someone, each day, right now…
And that is living in legacy.

Tricia: What legacy do you live?

Wayne: I’d like to think that my legacy is one of lifting others and modeling the way. I do that by teaching leaders about presence. That helps them guide their organizations with clarity and open communication. I do this with my high level one to one clients, with my membership community, and on my podcast. You DO make a difference at work, at home, and in the world. Now, with your presence, you must choose what kind of difference to make. Living into the idea that each of us can make a difference requires us to step out of thinking someone else will. My legacy is that it #StartsWithOne.

Tricia: Why is this so important to you and to the world?

Wayne: Again, knowing that each of us makes a difference, we can build a global community of accountable individuals. It’s so easy to think that someone else will take care of it, whatever that is; when we’re busy in our own “stuff.” When we, as accountable individuals, must step in to connect, deliberately, actively, and positively to make a difference in someone else’s life, we shift to truly building a global culture of caring, one person at a time.

In addition to being an outfluencer and Dynamic Leader, Dr. Wayne Pernell is a bestselling author, speaker, breakthrough coach and hosts the insightful podcast, One Sharp Sword available on your favorite listening site. Wayne is on a mission to reach a billion people with the #StartsWithOne mission and it can start with you today.


  • Tricia Brouk

    International Award Winning Director, Writer and Founder of The Big Talk Academy

    Tricia Brouk is an international award winning director. She is works in theater, film and television. In addition to her work in the entertainment industry, she applies her expertise to the art of public speaking. She’s the former executive producer of Speakers Who dare, a TEDxLincolnSquare. She choreographed Black Box on ABC, The Affair on Showtime, Rescue Me on Fox, and John Turturro’s Romance and Cigarettes, where she was awarded a Golden Thumb Award from Roger Ebert. The series Sublets, won Best Comedy at the Vancouver Web-Festival. She curates and hosts the Speaker Salon in NYC,  The Big Talk an award winning podcast on iTunes and YouTube and directs and produces The Big Talk Over Dinner a new series. She was recently awarded Top Director of 2019 by the International Association of Top Professionals and her documentary Right Livelihood A Journey to Here about the Buddhist Chaplain at Rikers Island won Best Documentary Short at The Olympus Film Festival and You’re Gorgeous, I Love Your Shirt, An Inside Look at Bullying and Mental Health was honored at The Awareness Film Festival.