Most people, at some point in their professional life, feel that they're not really getting anywhere but just kicking the can down the road.

Sometimes that's nature's way of saying you need to be working in a different organization or even a different field. But often it simply means you need to ramp up your influence.

Becoming more influential at work, or in any environment, is largely a matter of managing relationships. That means taking a careful look at all your workplace relationships--top to bottom, side to side.

Think of each person and situation as a chance for you to be something new, something different--to bring what you have to offer. And when you bring your best, you increase your influence.

Here are five proven ways you can make it happen in virtually any setting:

1. Influence your boss.

Build a great relationship with your boss by being engaging and effective. That means you don't go to them only with problems, but also to brainstorm about solutions and visions and new creative ideas. Become a person who can be counted on, who can solve problems and create solutions. Being held in high estimation by your boss is one of the best kinds of influence.

2. Influence meetings.

Every organization has meetings, and most of us dread them. But meetings can be a great opportunity to grow your influence. You can become the person who listens when everyone else is speaking and expresses ideas when everyone else is silent. When people are confused, you can repeat the gist of things, adding in your own two cents. The idea is to be present when others check out, to be heard when others aren't listening, and to listen when others are speaking.

3. Influence your colleagues.

It's likely that most of your peers just want someone to listen to them--someone they can vent to. When they do, it's best to stay neutral and not get caught up in the drama. Try to be the person who listens to others, shows appreciation, validates their work, and chips in when they need help.

4. Influence your team.

Teams are made up of individuals, each with their own style, cultural background, experience, and work style. One way to exercise influence in your team is to make sure that everyone feels valued. If you can be the person who appreciates everyone's opinions and viewpoints, you'll be seen as someone who appreciates others, and in turn you'll be well respected. People are grateful to those who acknowledge and appreciate them, so be kind to your team, and in turn, they will give you stature.

5. Influence yourself.

As you're supporting, engaging, and enabling others, don't forget about yourself. Take the time to work on your own needs and growth.

Becoming influential takes effort and inclination. As we know, great, influential people can change the world, but first you have to start changing from within.