What inspires you? Perhaps a better question is who inspires you? Who do you look to for a pick-me-up? Someone you can always count on for a kind word, a gentle smile, and a reassuring affirmation. They are the first person you turn to when things go sideways. So what is it about that person that inspires you? What traits do they possess and can you yourself be an inspiration to others?
When I think of the people who inspire me, they all possess similar traits. They are all good listeners, strong observers, and offer great insights. They’re able to assess a situation without bias and provide a recommendation for how to adjust or modify my thinking in order to accomplish my goals.
Being an inspiration to others requires the ultimate in authenticity. Have you ever met someone who said they wanted to help you but instead caused your antenna to go up? Their words seemed empty, their time felt rushed, and most likely they were not very empathetic. Empathy is a necessary ingredient for inspiration. It’s not about sympathy. Inspiring others doesn’t mean you allow that person to wallow in their sorrow. No. Inspiring others begins with empathy. Being able to identify with someone’s struggles or challenges allows you to connect with people, build rapport, gain trust, and finally inspire them.
I’ve coached hundreds of people throughout my career, as well as others closer to home. I enjoy helping people sort through their challenges by listening and providing perspective. I make sure that when I’m coaching someone they know they are my #1 priority at that moment. I turn my phone off, close my laptop, and focus on that person entirely.
We live in an age of sound bites. There is an infinite number of inspirational sayings that are posted to Facebook everyday. Yet nothing takes the place of speaking to another human being about your challenges. That real time interaction with someone who genuinely cares about you and your future is what inspiring others is all about.
There’s no class…no school to attend…no workshops that teach someone how to inspire others. It takes time. It takes courage. It takes commitment to inspire others. Making a positive difference in someone else’s life is what inspires me to work hard to be an inspiration to others. What inspires you?