This guest post was written by Mike King, the author of Learn This.
Have you ever looked up to someone or admired something about another person that really inspired you? Well, there are certain qualities about a person’s character that enable them to inspire others, and there are steps you can take to awaken these same qualities in yourself. Here’s how:
Stick With What You Love
Inspiring others isn’t easy. The success rate of those who attempt to inspire is incredibly low when the measurement of success is based on the percentage inspired as opposed to the actual number inspired. Huge motivational seminars with thousands of attendees typically make a real lasting impact in only a few people’s lives. If you look at those same odds for yourself, you might easily be discouraged if you hope to inspire others by doing something you don’t truly love to do.
If, however, you do love something dearly, you won’t care how successful you are at inspiring others and you will continue to persevere (on many levels) no matter how many times you fail. When people doubt you, and when people laugh at your failures, you will continue to do what you love because you love it. So having that depth, that love and passion for something, will protect you from all potential failures.
Will you make the most of failures and continue to drive your passions? Will you inspire others even when you don’t succeed at first? What do you love?
Think Big and Noble
Once you establish a foundation for which you have great passion, start thinking big. How many people could you potentially inspire based on your niche of expertise? Are there ways you can expand your impact? Don’t look to inspire one person, look to inspire hundreds! Remember, this goes back to the low success rate percentages, as you will likely not succeed with working to inspire at a very small level. You need to think big and have many people available to inspire. Fifty people out of a thousand is only five percent, but it’s still fifty people. Share your ideas with as many people as possible and allow them grow your influence beyond your initial ideas for inspiration.
Thinking big is not only about inspiring more people, but also about the impact you have on each person. Don’t settle on making minor changes in a person’s life if they need a total makeover. Instead, aim to change everything. Look to inspire in many areas instead of just one. Think big about the positive impact you might have and this will give you a much better chance of leaving some kind of impression. If you promote a hundred ways for someone to change or heal and they take on just one, you have still helped them!
Another useful way to inspire others is to support an established noble cause or practice, such as saving the environment or feeding the poor. It’s much easier to gain attention, followers, and support for noble causes than it is for individual gain or what some might think are more selfish reasons. An offer to change something that has a positive impact on the global society is far more attractive to onlookers than some short lived, localized venture. So keep those areas of influence as big as possible!
Passion is something you must have and be willing to express it if you really want to inspire others. You can gain a lot of influence just by publically expressing that you are excited and passionate about a topic. You make it much harder to inspire others if you are boring an unenthusiastic. Expressive passion is contagious because of the curiosity it stirs in others. You’ll get people wondering why you love what you love so much. Naturally, some of them will take the time necessary to understand what it is about the topic that moves you.
Practice What You Preach
You need to remain actively involved in the field in which you intend to inspire others. It’s the age old saying of “practice what you preach,” and it holds true for anyone trying to inspire others. Ultimately, if you really want to inspire others to do something then this ‘something’ should be a big part of your life. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert at it, but you do need to be passionately involved.
Keep an Open Door
You must always maintain an open invitation to everyone you encounter. Personally welcome others, and listen to their needs. Once you are involved with them, keep it personal and always maintain a healthy line of communication.
Offer a Guiding Hand
The best part of inspiring others is to have interest in not only what you do, but to also recognize your followers and have an opportunity to see them grow and change as well. Offer to share your personal stories, teach them things you’ve learned along the way, talk about your failures and achievements, and ask them questions about their own progress. Help them avoid the mistakes you’ve made in the past, and always maintain a positive outlook on their forward progress.
Consistency in actions, information, and moral standards is also extremely important. If you constantly change your methods, your interests, and the field in which you hope to inspire others, you will have little success. People want to see and associate your ideas with a reliable plan that they can follow. You need to demonstrate this consistency through your actions, but you can also compliment your actions with inspirational story telling. Story telling allows you to reproduce important past experiences as a means to guide and inspire others. Make sure use stories that embrace the consistency of your actions.
The process of inspiring others comes with no shortage challenges and negative naysayers. To get past this, you must stay positive, work past failures, and present optimism openly to others no matter what the circumstances are. Doubt is a very contagious disease, and if you show any of it, you can easily destroy any positive influence you might have instilled in a person.
And there you have it: My thoughts on how to inspire others. I’d love to hear your feedback, thoughts and comments on the subject. Which of these points have the biggest impact to you? Have I left something out? Do you have any personal experiences or inspirational stories to share?
Also, check out these great books for more ways to inspire others:
- Leadership Lessons: Learn How To Inspire Others, Achieve Greatness and Find Success in Any Organization
- Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary
- Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire
Mike is the author of Learn This, a productivity blog for self learning, career leadership, and life improvement tips. He writes articles about finding passion in life, goal setting and positive thinking. Please subscribe to his RSS feed here to read more of his articles.
Photo by: Giampaolo Macorig