Don’t you love that feeling of being inspired by another person? When you hear an amazing story from someone you respect and admire, it makes you want to go out and pursue your dream, sign up for that next race and push yourself to be stronger than you ever thought you could be. Inspiration is one of things that can motivate you to do great things for yourself, your family, community and people around you.
But have you thought about inspiring others? Your reasons for wanting to inspire others may vary considerably. You might be an employer who wants to inspire your employees. Or you might want to be inspiring so you can earn more trust from your clients. A parent may want to be inspiring to their children and a good role model to their family. You might have friends who are going through a tough time in life and you want to hope to inspire them to do better and keep trying. Whatever your reasons for wanting to inspire others around you, there are ways you can inspire people.
1. Be authentic. People are inspired by your authenticity and how you stay true to your values. Even when things are tough and people might criticize what you are doing, you still stay authentic to your beliefs and what you want to accomplish out of life. Be comfortable in your own skin and be true to who you are. Not only will you feel happier with your own life, but you will encourage people to be themselves no matter what.
2. Genuinely care about others. Connect emotionally with people. Have the ability to be vulnerable and also be a great listener. Developing positive relationships with others is essential to showing you care. You might care in your heart but aren’t showing it through your actions. To be inspiring you must make it clear from your actions that you genuinely care, and you can do that by asking questions, listening, being vulnerable and having a genuine interest in others. Be interested in the ideas that they want to pursue. Show them that their ideas and beliefs matter. Even show a small act of kindness if possible. You may not realize how meaningful these small acts of kindness are to the people around you.
3. Be vulnerable. As mentioned in the prior point, vulnerability is essential to being an inspirational person. People want to hear about your struggles and failures. Without understanding all the obstacles, you have overcome, people may find it difficult to relate to you. Imagine if you approached a friend who is going through a tough time and told them something along the lines of, “My life is great and I’m happy because I’m always thinking positive.” Your response might come from a genuine place but many people would have a hard time relating to this. A better response would be sharing with them an experience about when you had a tough time, felt like life couldn’t get any worse and have used those learnings to always find the positive in a situation. People connect to you by understanding the challenges you have been through and what you have overcome. This is how people relate to you.
4. Be open-minded. Regardless, of your own personal beliefs, there’s nothing wrong with trying to explore different ideas and being open to other perspectives. When you are close-minded and refuse to learn anything different, then you come across as someone who is judgmental and believes they are right about everything. An inspirational person doesn’t have all the answers and they are willing to keep learning, listen to different opinions, and adapt to new information. This doesn’t mean that you need to let go of your values, convictions or faith because you are open to new ideas and perspectives. It just means that you are willing to challenge yourself, learn more about the people around you and have a deeper understanding of other perspectives of people around you.
5. Don’t feel the need to talk about your accomplishments. It’s wonderful you have successes and positive things in your life, but people don’t usually need to hear about this. People know how great you are doing in life without you needing to tell them. Just be yourself and do what you are doing. People will witness that themselves and form their own conclusions, without you needing to mention each accomplishment you’ve had.
6. Believe in the people around you. Have you ever been around someone who believes in you? If you have, then you probably remember who they are and what they said to you quite vividly. I remember in graduate school, a professor once told me she believed that I could do great things in the world. I’m not sure why she said that to me but just the fact that someone in this world thought so highly of me, made me feel like I wanted to measure up to those words. What you say to others is powerful. Focus on the talents and strengths of the people around you. Let them know that you believe they are intelligent, strong, beautiful and amazing people. Build people up with your words and letting them know that you have faith they can achieve their dreams. Even if people make mistakes, you need to believe that they can learn from those mistakes and make better decisions when faced in a similar situation.
7. Be encouraging. You remember what it’s like to do something for the first time? It can be scary and overwhelming and never underestimate the power of your encouragement when someone is feeling unsure. I remember when I travelled overseas for the first time alone. Something that I’ve now done countless of times and feel little to no anxiety about presently. The first time, I was afraid to go overseas and wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, I had a couple of friends in my life who encouraged me, gave me support and reminded me that it won’t be easy but it will be worth it. When someone is confronting a new challenge, encourage them to push through and move forward.
8. Give people freedom to figure it out on their own. Being inspiring doesn’t mean you should give instructions on how people can achieve their dreams. If anything, you should take a step back and let people make their own decisions about how to pursue things. There are different ways to succeed at doing the same thing. You can give your advice but give people the freedom to improvise and figure things out on their own.
9. Avoid drama and needless negativity. People who don’t inspire me are typically people who love to gossip, speak badly about others and judge others based on their mistakes. It’s not inspiring to cut other people down so you can feel better about yourself. To be inspiring you need to set aside any temptations to be negative about anyone. Instead, be happy for the success of others, even the people you don’t like. Focus on cultivating positive relationships with others and removing yourself from situations that involve negativity or drama. Be the person that people can count on to do the right thing.
10. Keep your promises. Being inspiring means that you follow through when you said you would. If you offered your advice, then give your advice. If you offered to help fund your friend’s business, then be willing to help provide whatever funds you can to help support their idea. Don’t make promises that you cannot keep. If you have made a promise to someone, then be willing to honor that promise.
11. Provide solutions when things don’t go according to plan. Inspiring people is great, but rarely do things go according to plan. Encouraging someone to be healthy is easier when you are eating well, have no injuries, getting the right amount of sleep and have money to spend on the gym and other equipment. However, things often don’t go according to plan. What can you say to someone who gets an injury? Or someone who needs to cut back on their budget? An inspiring person can provide alternate solutions when things aren’t going as expected. Recently a friend who had troubles finding a job (who has now thankfully found a job) for months was constantly running into obstacles such as not getting interviews, any call backs and losing motivation in the process. I encouraged this friend to revamp their resume, keep applying and to be open to job opportunities that they may not have been open to before. Providing alternate solutions is essential because sometimes things don’t work out as expected.
13. Be optimistic about the future. Have you ever been around someone who has negative views of the future? These people might say that your job will be automated in the next couple of years, downplay your accomplishments or tell you that what you want to achieve is next to impossible. It’s okay to be realistic with someone, but being overly negative isn’t realistic either. To inspire people, it’s important that you remain optimistic about the future. Let people know that there are opportunities out there and that the possibilities are endless. Yes, there are challenges but to inspire people you need to show them that their dream is something they can accomplish with the right attitude and work ethic.
14. Be the person who is out there accomplishing your dreams. To inspire other people, you need to be living your life in accordance with what you are saying. It’s difficult to inspire people when you aren’t pursuing your dreams, haven’t taken risks and have allowed negative thinking to control your actions. This doesn’t mean you have to have achieved all your dreams yet, but you need to be actively accomplishing your goals and remaining hopeful and optimistic about the future. To inspire others, you need to be able to inspire yourself.