Many people, in fact too many, think that they need to go far and do lots to provide wisdom and inspiration. But all of us, at some point, want to be a source of inspiration, whether it's for a child we're raising, students we’re teaching, or for a loved one dealing with an illness. While being an inspiration might be the result of having lots of experiences, we forget that each of us has experienced at least one thing that many others have not. So in essence, we are each prepared to inspire and be a role model for another person in at least one thing we are good at.
Even if you really don't think you've done anything worth talking about, you must have one thing you're passionate about. My dad was passionate about planes. He's inspired me to love them even when I’m scared of flying. You might be passionate about your children's school lunch program or you might want to create the next app to help Alzheimer's patients. The good news is, when you're passionate about something, you draw attention to it and that's when people can be inspired by you and your passion.
Here’s the 5 steps to follow to be an effective source of inspiration, whether it’s for your children, students you teach, or anyone else you want to help.
- Find something you are authentically passionate about. Authenticity is your most valuable tool since people are drawn to stories and ideas they can relate to. Fabricated stories created to inspire are too un-relatable and unachievable. For example, it's much easier to inspire someone to sleep-train their little one if you've already had to sleep-train your own child and you developed a nice rhythm for doing so. On the other hand, it’s quite ineffective to give someone child-rearing advice if you’ve never been around children!
- Use concrete examples to tell your story. I remember my grandmother telling me about her anxiety attacks and the thoughts that went through her head. She would go on to insist that growing up allowed her to come into her own and focus her anxious energy on loving her family instead. That resonated with me. The story put my worries at ease because it exemplified what someone else overcame and I thought I could too. On the other hand, every person who simply suggested that I needed to ‘take a break’ or ‘chill out’ never did me any favours! So if you want to serve as an inspiration, tell stories that are directly from your life because you tell them so well.
- Don’t forget to re-tell your story. You know that ONE THING that makes you an inspiration? It’s like your personal brand. If you want people to remember you for it or associate you with it, remind them of why you’re passionate about it. If you were a disciplined student and you want to inspire your own students now, start every morning with a story of why your discipline helped you. Look around at all the brands you like. They will always repeat their inspiring message and that’s how they get buy-in. Re-telling an authentic story works but be patient.
- Try, as much as you can, to practice what you preach. There might be nothing worse than someone telling you that you need to lose weight when they don’t want to get off the couch themselves, right? They inspire anger, if anything. Why? We associate those who don’t practice what they preach as false experts in their subject areas. We stop believing they authentically believe in what they're saying. If you’re inspiring your little ones to live a healthy lifestyle, go for a walk with them. What you do will also empower what you say.
- Just believe. The only reason we’re not running around high on love right now is because we don’t believe we can be a positive impact for absolutely everyone. The truth is, if we can make everyone love and praise us, we’d love them back. But putting the fluffy stuff aside for a minute, we too often feel we have nothing to offer or are ridiculous for thinking we’re valuable enough to inspire someone else. Just believe. You DO have at least ONE THING that I really want to know about or learn from you. I guarantee it. And this is true for everyone else. And your ONE THING is more than enough to make you an inspiration.
Did you like our article? Come see what we’re doing at One Thing to show that, as people, we are all more connected than we are different. Everyone brings one thing and we share their messages with you.