With this in mind, I’d like to ask, who inspired you? Who showed you a way? Who inspired you to achieve more? And more importantly, who did you inspire?
It’s very easy to be inspired by others, but we tend to forget that we can all be an inspiration in some way or another. Whether that is at work, home or in life in general.
“I take inspiration from everyone and everything. I’m inspired by current champions, former champions, true competitors, people dedicated to their dream, hard workers, dreamers, believers, achievers.“ - Conor McGregor
You all have role models; people you look up to and admire. People that inspire you. But what does that actually mean — to inspire? I believe that the meaning of being inspired is analogous to being given the impetus, drive, and motivation to take action in achieving a goal. As a leader of people, a manager of teams or just a member of a community, how do you inspire others to take action?
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.“ - John Quincy Adams
What can be easily confused is the fact that the traits that inspire you may not always be the same traits that require you to inspire others. I, for example, have always admired Bruce Lee; specifically for his power, presence, and efficiency. But these are not necessarily the traits I would want to exhibit if I wanted to inspire others in achieving their success.
As a coach, I help my clients to discover what inspirational qualities they may have and could use to inspire others and to discover what could inspire those they wish to lead. However, I do believe that there are some general traits that are key to being inspirational.
1. Excellence - How easy is it for you to admire a high achiever? Someone who has gotten to where you want to get to? To inspire, become great (not just good) at something, to show people what is possible. Steve Jobs said it well, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment whereexcellence is expected.”
2. Vision - How easy is it to follow a laid out path rather than making your own? Sometimes clearing the way for others by having a clear goal in mind, is the best way to ensure people who are aligned with your values will follow. John F. Kennedy was very clear when he said, “We choose to go the moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” In doing so, he inspired in others to achieve that goal.
3. Trust - Why would anyone listen to you, let alone follow you if they did not trust you? Trust is not instant, it’s built over time. There are certain qualities that you need to become associated with. Stephen Covey described how the best leaders build trust, “Trust is confidence born of two dimensions: character and competence.”
4. Gratitude - How likely are you to work for or get inspired by someone who appreciates you and genuinely thank you for your input and work? Being grateful is the first step in forming a positive relationship, providing confidence and building loyalty in others. A great quote from James Allen sums up this sentiment, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
5. Passion - This is the key trait I believe you really need to be able to inspire. If you are not passionate about something, it can be challenging to inspire others to take action. To inspire, you need to be able to not only evoke emotion in yourself but in others too. Passion in inspirational leaders is evident when you see them get excited about what they believe in. And in doing so, they live their beliefs and values. Passion not only inspires but motivates others too. People are inspired by many things; leaders, quotes, friends/family, nature, movies, etc. To be inspiring, it’s important to understand how you can inspire others. Whether it is with your words, actions or both.
Spending time with others to show your achievements and direction, building relationships to develop trust and gratitude, but doing all with passion will stand you out to be an inspiration.
“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passionyou have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.“ - Robin S. Sharma