“What is influence?” This is a question I have thought about on and off over a number of years. I didn’t chase it down, but now I am doing so. And it’s mainly because I have been nominated as one of the 100 most influential people in events.

I am delighted to be nominated. I am honoured because, I am very conscious of the top- level calibre of event professionals across the globe. To be amongst them is quite something.

There are many event professionals (some on the list and some not) that inspire and influence me.

And this got me thinking.

What does it mean to be influential?

Are you influential if you head a key organisation and lead a team of people beneath you onwards for business success? Are you influential if you are often seen at events and on social media channels? Are you influential if you relentlessly work behind the scenes and people know that (despite no visible presence) you are creating change?

Or does being influential mean that you need to do a combination of things, have a strong network and some raving fans?

But I guess, your definition of what influence is, will likely be different to mine. And that doesn’t matter. Some people love influencer celebrities that endorse products. I don’t. However, that’s my view. Ultimately you decide what it is that means someone is influential in your life.

Negative influences provide learning

I have been lucky enough to have people step into my life and help me along my personal development journey. Some experiences have been more challenging than others. I had a business partner and whilst our venture worked, I needed to move on before the relationship became toxic. From this experience, there were lots of lessons that I learned and whilst they were not all positive, this person was an influencer. Albeit the influencing came from a position of negativity.

It goes to show that not all influencers are positive. You probably have experienced challenging situations as well. The key is how we use the experience in our ongoing development.

The influence of Kilimanjaro

Not all influencing activity comes from people. I remember climbing Kilimanjaro and later understanding that the mountain was a key influence on me. My journey, my sacrifice and how it influences me today came from mother nature. It came from taking on the tallest mountain in Africa. My journey to the summit was influenced by many people and the wind, the cold and one amazing mountain. Every day I am thankful for the opportunity of making that adventure and everyday in some way it inspires me to push forward.

You cannot please everyone

Teachers, lectures, parents, family members, club members, and more all have huge influence over what we do and who we become. There is no rule book on whom we should follow. We have to figure this out for ourselves and it’s not easy. Trying to please everyone doesn’t work. I have positive people in my life that inspire me everyday. I have memories good and bad that drive me forward.

I have learned over the years to never underestimate the influence we can have. Being aware of that means we are likely to help create positive action in the world.

Through my work I seek to do the best I can every day. If that work impacts on people and they can use it in a positive way I am delighted to have played my part as an influencer. Or as a catalyst to help their life in some way.

Who would you vote for?

The Eventex index aims to recognise the people that stand out with their creativity, vision, capacity for innovation. The prestigious list is decided entirely by the public who get to nominate and then vote for the people that have influenced the industry the most.


Vote for Paul Cook

You can vote for Paul here.

Voting ends on 23 October 2021.

Vote for Paul Cook