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
Tim @ Mini Life Hacks says
Thanks for the article Mike. I know that we are indeed the sum of our experiences, and I’ve noticed that I perform better when I’m with people who are more expert than myself in any particular field. I bet another good article could be, “how to effectively take inspiration from others”.
that’s all ok if you find something you are passionate about. Most people die without finding it. Or finding something the don’t mind doing but aren’t passionate about.
Nicholas Powiull says
Awesome deal! The headline reminds me of this quote:
“If we could assign a career to each of you or give you a way of being, we would ask each of you to become an inspiration. When you are able to live in this capacity and to be truly an inspiration to all who encounter you, you will be living your light, and that is quite profound.” ~ Bringers of the Dawn: Teachings from the Pleiadians
I love this post. Many people advise us to think big but you’re the first I’ve read who says think big AND noble. That is so important, I think, to think big for the greater good and not just for ourselves. Thanks for the inspiration!
Nathalie Lussier says
I’ve found that keeping the door open is very important in my own life.
Passion and expressing it key. I’ve really enjoyed reading these tips, they are inspiring – and will surely help me inspire others as well! 🙂
Amit Sodha says
Some amazing tips there and I remember writing a blog post about this with a similar subject some time ago. The one thing I’d want to add is that it’s important to get in touch with the part of you that gets inspired. It’s the moments where you get a surge of energy of or almost enter a zen like state where ideas just flow to like they’re coming from another source. When you get to that ‘naturally inspired’ state other people feed off it and it automatically brings that out in them.
Thanks for the wonderful post!
Another good one here! As another commenter observed above, the key point of this post is to commit your energy to something that you feel the meaning of ‘real’ in. If you can find and stay true to that, the rest of the post merely suggests ways to harness the aftermath of your pursuits, namely how to better inspire others.
However I think it’s an important reminder that inspiring others is necessarily a self-centric undertaking; you will fail to inspire others if inspiring others is your ultimate goal. Great artists (like John Coltrane) understand that even when no one is listening (much less be inspired), it’s even more important to keep pushing and inspiring yourself. Interestingly, it is precisely because inspiring others plays second fiddle to inspiring yourself that the great artist is able to inspire others.
Moreover, people generally have a good instinct for feeling out whether you’re a pretender or the real thing (for instance, I say this blog is the real thing!) It’s like how girls have this radar that can almost instantly sniff out a guy who’s being creepy or a total wuss. And if they don’t right away, they will eventually.
@Tim: No doubt, soaring with the eagles is an effective means to a positive end. Success, after all, is contagious. Also, thanks for the article suggestion. I like it.
@willgui: An endless search is the foundation of a healthy, rewarding life. Great experiences are realized along the way.
@Nicholas: Love the inspirational quote! Thanks.
@Daphne: I think thinking big is always about the greater good. 😉
@Nathalie: You bet! An open door inspires endless opportunity.
@Amit: Very true. For me, entering the ‘naturally inspired’ state you speak of is a direct result of truly loving what I’m working on.
@Miles: You hit the nail on the head. Attempting to inspire others is pointless if you are uninspired. But when inner passion meets open communication, other people will notice your enthusiasm and likely give you a second glance. PS: Thanks for the kind remarks.
Mike King says
@Tim – Thanks for the idea Tim. I may very well have to write that article as well! It’s true that those around us inspire us so easier, I only hope this guide helps return that favor in as many ways as possible for any individual.
@willgui – Inspiring others shouldn’t be limited to your own passions. What if you are able to inspire someone to find their own passion that may not fit yours? That is certainly still worthwhile if you ask me.
@Nicholas – great quote, thanks for adding that for your own little piece of inspiration.
@Daphne – great to hear you admire the part about nobility. I think that inspiration without that has far less impact and meaning to someone.
@Nathalie – an open door lets you be inspired. You can’t be if you close your mind. A great point!
@Amit – Thanks for that reminder about your own state of flow to accellerate inspiration to others. That is true when you are natural and passionate about the subject yourself.
@Miles – You are so right, you can’t fake inspiring others for long but you can sometimes spark inspiration in others even without it in yourself. That though won’t last if you can transfer it elsewhere so the ideas above about your own passion and flow is definitely helpful, if not necessary to inspire others long term. Thanks for your thoughts on that!
Unknowingly we happen to inspire others on our own little way… I know I do almost everyday not only to my students. It is my undying desire to seek for people who will instigate me in any field of life’s diversified courses. I learn from them a whole lot.
I have three people whom I look up to and consider my icons who can stimulate my zest to pursue my dreams. I got to talk to them on a regular basis (I bump into them every university day) and they are more than accomodating to answer and converse to me in a sweetest and most educative possible way. They are my Dean, Mr. Garch and Chef Carol. I like to talk about Mr Garch, he’s a mystic, scientist, social science researcher, a brilliant lecturer ( told him its my dream to do a team teaching with him which he gladly welcomed anytime), a historian and an overly concerned Filipino citizen.
You can rarely hear him criticize an issue or a theory, you can only hear how he justify anything regardless if he is a pro or an anti and give a possible solution to that issue. He is well travelled and got to acquaint a lot of cultures and produce various researches around the world but chose to remain and teach in his homeland.
Armen Shirvanian says
The point about being expressive is one that is useful to keep in mind, when noticing how certain individuals rise up in the public eye. Becoming the proponent of a previously-known idea can make you the person that is the go-to individual for questions about that concept. Picking a concern, like the import of one product to a certain country, and making it your voiced interest, can then lead to numerous opportunities to bring change to that field.
Marc, i totally agree it’s all about doing what you love. That’s what we try to plead with all of our young people @under30ceo: Go out and do what you LOVE. Why settle for anything less?!
Like Gary Vaynerchuk says “there’s no reason to do sh*t you hate”.
Inspiring others to go out and follow their dream and do big things isn’t easy, but worth it if in that crowd of 100 you connect with 1 person. I’d speak any day if there was a 1% chance I could make somoene’s life turn for the best.
Why go through life without passion?
This is an excellent article, Mike.
One should always display honor and nobility- the effects are positive by doing so.
We all need to regard people and life at the highest level each day.
These are great. I might even print these out and put in my wallet…seriously!
Marshall | bondChristian says
“You must always maintain an open invitation to everyone you encounter.”
That’s an extremely tall order, Mike. Trying to live open for everyone, all the time…
I think this illustrates how life-consuming it is to inspire others. It’s a habit. The only way to keep up with everyone and not burn out is to genuinely enjoy what you do. That enjoyment, that passion for what you do, will translate into the lives of others.
Thank you for the post, Mike.
Marshall Jones Jr.
Eric Daniel says
“Do what you know, don’t be slow…comunication is the key” (Jimi Hendrix)
When we express from a deeper place…our expression arrives on a deeper level. This is my experience as a performer…
Seth Caskey says
Excellent post. I’ve read it twice now. I love this sentence.
“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.”
I’ve always believed in the power of sharing my own story to create a personal, “I understand where you are” connection with others. Thanks for the reminder!
Mike King says
@GoldChest – Thanks for your experience here, it shows a great example of someone you admire who’s positive while inspiring you.
@Armin – nice to see you over here, being a proponent for something with enthusiasm definitely goes a long way when hoping to inspire others.
@Matt – so true, I love how passion and doing what you love can bleed into so many areas of live it’s impossible NOT to inspire those who see that in you. Thanks for your thoughts as well!
@bunny – thanks so much, I truly believe it’s love that enables a noble message to be passed along and doing so through others is of course what makes it noble as well.
@Christopher – thanks for the excellent compliment, I’m glad to have inspire you with this list!
@Marshall – isn’t that the truth. Always keeping that inspiration turned on is tiring to learn, but once you have it, it’s like you say, a habit and quite a motivating force as you also start to see results from doing so. Glad you enjoyed the article and came to check it out here!
@Eric – oh how much artists know about inspiration! They use it and pass it along in everything they create, so true.
@Seth – thanks so much, I always enjoy knowing which little segments act as a piece of inspiration in my articles, I appreciate you sharing that!
Mike @ LearnThis.ca
Hi Mike, nice to see you here. 🙂
I love your post. My favorite line is Practice What You Preach. I think it is the best part in acccordance with my experiences.
Thanks for sharing, Mike.
Dan Massicotte says
Very well written. It reminds me of my uncle who started off as a friend, and later became a mentor by doing just the things in this list.
I like the notion of being passionate about something rather than being an expert. Most of the time expertise is obtained as a result of being passionate. Passion will lead someone to discoveries in the subject he is passionate about.
Excellent tips–I need to remember that people are always watching so I might as well inspire them and they will in turn inspire others. Keep up the great work on your blog–you inspire me!
Nicolas | An Extra Hour Every Day says
Thanks for this inspiring article. I really loved reading it. Before you can inspire others I think the highest priority is to be in peace with yourself.
I live according to six basic values:
– Relationships are the key to happiness
– Self-development is in each individual’s responsibility
– Helping others also helps yourself
– Diversity makes life more interesting
– We must live as one world
– Every person has a purpose in life
Living by these values might inspire others. If it made a change for one person only I had contributed in making the world a little bit better.
Hello there. I’m from the Philippines, a Christian, taking up Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and am striving to graduate with honors.
I want to share what I’ve learned to all the people around me – to my classmates, my fellow musicians (in the church), etc. – but, honestly, I didn’t know how to start. I wanted to share not just my technical knowledge, but more on perspectives, and attitudes.
Thanks for this blog. These are the things that did much impact to me:
“Thinking big is not only about inspiring more people, but also about the impact you have on each person.”
“You make it much harder to inspire others if you are boring an[d] unenthusiastic.”
“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.”
Stunning… love this article. So glad you went over these key points, especially here on such a well-viewed, well-respected site.
Inspiration is a powerful, powerful thing and I feel your practical tips and analysis inspiring myself and others already.
Keep rockin’ Mike. Thanks so much!
Creativity Trainer Harald says
Just wanted to add one tip if you should be inspiring other people on large seminars.
During brakes or in the end: ask them to find a partner and do a brief coaching session with each-other, answering these questions:
1) What will you do differently now?
2) How are you going to do it?
3) What are you going to do, to make sure you succeed?
I believe that people become most inspired when they are involved in conversations – when they have to say something about themselves.
So the trick is to get people to inspire themselves 🙂
Alberta Leong says
Great article. No doubt about it. Cheers!
I really love every one of these points. Inspiring others is important.
What a great article! 🙂
For me, the points that really matter are – Passion, Sticking with What You Love, and yes… Being Consistent. I think that only Dreamers can change the world, and luckily we are all dreamers. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!
I am extremely interested in the concept of inspiring others – I am soon to have a journal article on the subject. Thanks for sharing your 8 ways to inspire others. I like the concept of story telling as a powerful tool for inspiring – it is a great way to help people create powerful pictures of potential.
This was very helpful. Thank You!
Cesar Arcos says
Thanks for this article. I am a new father and would like to inspire my kids. Just reading through this already lifted me up and found more about myself. Thanks to all who shared as well.
This was a great article. I want to inspire others but i always hold my self back… but reading some of these points gave me the pep talk I needed. Thanks for the boost of confidence.
Olakunle Ayodele says
Inspiring article, I have learned a few new things today.
Greet Cammu says
Thank you so much for these great posts and inspirations that I used to know… but have forgotten over the years.