The start of this new year has met me with many encouraging words. Those ranging from an insightful message and prayer from a local pastor to a lengthy but extremely inspirational text message from my father. What I find interesting is that these great words all seem to center around one thing: influence.

Whether it's the people that you allow in your daily life or the voices that make their way through media and other means; the messages that I've received thus far have all addressed which influences to let in and which ones to keep out.

There was even a point over the weekend when I had trouble sleeping and just happened to catch actor and singer-songwriter Tyrese Gibson on television mentioning that one of his greatest life lessons learned was from Will Smith. Will told Tyrese to look at the five people around him with which he spends the most time. Those people are indicators of what his future will be.

When I think of influence it reminds me of handling glitter. Just when you think you've cleaned up the mess you somehow find yourself at work three days later with a little sparkle on your shirt or face for that matter. It takes both time and intent to be truly rid of it.

So when I think of it that way I not only consider what I let influence me, but also how I'd like to influence others. I'd like to be one who encourages and inspires those who cross my path. And because I believe that there is no middle ground - we all affect each other either positively or negatively with each interaction - I would like for my presence to bring an authentic positive energy wherever I go.

The way I see it: if I too will leave a trail of glitter behind me as I walk through life, it should at least be a pretty color.