Three Upstream, Three Downstream

three upstream, three downstreamThree upstream, three downstream. There’s no magic formula to leading with your life – though three upstream, three downstream helps.

Here’s the thing about leading with your life. You’re doing it, I’m doing it, whether we realize it or not.

We are influencing and being influenced all the time.

BY whom and TO whom?

I invite you to think about and identify your three upstream, three downstream as we share these coaching moments together.

Sometimes it’s mind boggling how many articulate, intelligent people are writing and speaking and sharing. Some call them influencers. Others refer to them as experts. Entrepreneur or professional, they do impress. You may have some that you follow religiously out of that big school of fish.

At the same time, ‘leading with your life’ invariably means there will likely be a drill down effect. Why?

I have witnessed in many others and experienced myself the overload of too much of a good thing. I support free speech and adding your voice to the mix. That’s part of why I write. I hope to impart a good influence.

However, as a life coach who specializes in helping others live life forward – often out of what seems to be a knotted ball of yarn of overwhelm and underwhelm, I have repeatedly observed a pattern of way too much.

In consideration of today’s coaching point, may I suggest the wisdom of three upstream, three downstream?

First, a caveat. We can all think of negative influencers. That’s where the issue of trajectory comes in. Today I’d like you to focus your responses on the positive, helpful, motivating, encouraging side of this equation.


When you think about the people who

  • most positively influence your thoughts
  • that in turn leads to your taking constructive action
  • and cause you to continue granting them a sought-out level of influence in your life

who comes to mind?

My hope is that you have several, even many, that you can list. They may include people from the annals of history, passed on or alive. Ones who left deep impressions on your life while growing up or later as an adult. People whose lives model or reflect key values that are inherently yours also.

Now for the drill down. From that list, identify your three upstream by whom you currently draw influence.

Not just for a day because they read well or speak to your liking, but whom you have granted permission to influence how you live out your life. Depending on who your three upstream are or when they lived, they may never know it. The important thing is do you know it?

Remember, we are influencing and being influenced all the time.


Given the ‘two sides to the same coin’ philosophy, it stands to reason we have ones downstream that we are influencing – whether we know it or not. We may have a whole lot of Mikeys who like it out there, or not.

No matter how big the school of influential fish available to us upstream, influencing downstream is an equal opportunity crapshoot. You win some by your influence. You lose some by that same influence.

Here’s where it gets interesting. While your three upstream people may never know you hold them in such high regard, I certainly hope and encourage that your three downstream know you hold them in high regard.

How does that work? Make another list, this time identifying the individuals, target market, circles of influence – whatever you want to call it – that you aim to influence.

Now for the drill down. As before, identify your three downstream into whom you are purposely pouring your influence.

  • who is important enough in your life that you desire to positively influence?
  • in whom do you see potential, value, worth?

A second caveat: not for yourself, but for them.

Leading with your life ultimately leads to leaving a legacy.
Who are your three upstream whose influence is worth
passing on to your three downstream?

There are no wrong or right answers to this coaching quiz. Your answers will be as personal to you as another’s will be to them. My purpose is to draw our thoughtful attention to how we are being influenced and in turn influencing others.

Three upstream, three downstream. Though they may and should fluctuate from season to season, I bless you with a steady trio of influencers who compel you to be and do better.

And a trio at any given time that you are influencing with intention, attentiveness, and discernment.

Helping others live life forward…upstream and downstream,

~ Nancy

p.s. want to start a conversation? I welcome your comments below or 1:1 session via contact here.

photo credit: Repsol Aplicamos la máxima seguridad / We apply maximum safety via photopin (license)

Like it? Share it…


Share Your Thoughts


%d bloggers like this: