Awakening the Possibilities
How noble to want to inspire others, but how presumptuous to think that we can do it purposefully! If we want to inspire others, we have to live our lives as someone who can elicit that response in others. We need to live congruent with our message. For example, if we want to help people live a healthy, fit life, we cannot eat donuts and fried foods every day.
The meaning of the word "inspire" can be difficult to pinpoint. Here's the definition from the American Heritage Dictionary:
What exalted definitions!
- To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence
- To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion
- To stimulate to action
- To affect or touch
- To draw forth; elicit or arouse
- To be the cause or source of
- To breathe life into
- To stimulate energies, ideals, or reverence.
We know people who personify these definitions and regularly inspire others. How do they do this? What can we learn from them so we can be more inspiring to others?
To consciously inspire others, I believe it's important to examine what inspires you. Have you ever been inspired? What do you remember about the experience? What did it feel like? How was your life different as a result? Did you take some action, or did it change the way you thought? Who or what was the source of the inspiration: a teacher, a child, a clergy person, a leader? Or was the source internal an inner voice that helped you through a tough time or helped you go beyond your previous limits? What effect did it have on you?
I find that to inspire others you have to first be inspired. Look at Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King. They were all inspired, passionate, "lit up," about their cause. They were focused, even when things did not go the way they expected.
Other Resources about Motivation and Coaching:
Excerpted from Inspiring Others to Win, edited by Robert B. Sommer
© 1998 by Griffin Publishing Group
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Inspiring Others to Win
Robert B. Sommer, ed
© 1998, Griffin Publishing; ISBN: 1882180941
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